Exchange 2010 SP1 Beta – Installation [Upgrade and Hotfixes)

June 9th, 2010 Nitin Gupta Posted in Geekism, General, Review No Comments »

So, we have Exchange 2010 SP1 Beta available for download. When running an Exchange Setup there are 4 possible options/modes: 

  • New Install – For installing a new role or adding a role to an existing installation
  • Uninstall – For removing the Exchange installation or removing a single role from an existing installation
  • Upgrade – When there is an existing installation and you are installing the new version. (Ex: SP1 Installation)
  • Disaster Recovery – When you need to recover data with the /recoverserver switch.

So as mentioned above when you run Setup on your existing Installation, you get the option to Upgrade.

Exchange 2010 SP1 Beta

During the course of Readiness Checks, you might get an error for a Windows Server 2008 R2 hotfix [Update for Rights Management Services Client for Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition (KB979099)] that was released in Feb 2010.

Exchange 2010 SP1 Beta [979099]

Download the hotfix from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=801b5bf1-29ac-49ad-bf51-505028a3fe38&displaylang=en [For more Information on the hotfix click here http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=979099]

Apart from that if you have CAS role installed you might also be prompted for a hotfix rollup on .NET 3.5 SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 that was made available in March 2010.

Exchange 2010 SP1 Beta [KB981001]

Download the hotfix from: http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/KB981001/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=4005 [More information on hotfix click here http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=981001]

Once these 2 tasks are completed the installation would now get into final stages of Upgrade …. and you are done…!

Exchange 2010 SP1 Beta

You should be on Version 14.1 (Build 180.2)

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Product Review – GFI MailEssentials

May 1st, 2010 Nitin Gupta Posted in Geekism, General, Review 2 Comments »

Consider the following from Forrester “Email adoption and use by consumers and businesses alike remain strong, with 153 million online adults regularly using email by 2014. Social inbox users will total 47 million in 2014.” and “Marketing messages to the primary inbox will swell to an average of more than 9,000 annually in 2014”. Are all marketing messages relevant and are all Marketing messages innocent. That coupled with all other Spam, that is growing and will continue to grow, is one of the biggest headaches for mail administrators apart from Compliance and Availability needs.

GFI MailEssentials boasts of 99% accuracy for spam capture with SpamRazer™; an additional anti-spam engine that provides a second layer of protection coupled with IP reputation filtering, Bayesian filtering and other advanced anti-spam technologies.

A Quick look at GFI MailEssentials:
  • Price: Includes SMA and starts from $6 for large number of mailboxes to as high as $21 per mailbox for up to 10 mailboxes. (as listed, though would recommend price negotiations to everyone who intends to buy). Check out the Suites (bundles) as they would cater to your security and archiving needs both.
  • Support & Compatibility: It supports Exchange from the version 2000 to Exchange2010 and Lotus Notes.
  • AD Integration: During installation there are options for AD Integration or for deployment in DMZ with no AD access (rules based upon SMTP email addresses)
  • Installation: Is pretty straight forward and can be installed on Exchange Server or a Standalone SMTP Server.
  • Pre-requisites: If installing on Exchange Server, then it is even faster all almost all pre-requisites are already present.
  • Configurations: Minimal configuration is required and by default MailEssentials SpamRazer engine, phishing protection, directory harvest attacks prevention, Bayesian are all automatically enabled at the time of installation. Like other products provides configurations for Phishing, SPF, Lists, Directory Harvesting, Bayesian Analysis, DNSBL, SURBL, Headers, Keywords, Filters,  etc.
  • Anti-spam Actions: Easy to configure and manage. Tight integration with Exchange allows for captured spam to flow to specific Mailbox folders like Junk Email or Public Folders or Forward to specific mailbox or tagging or deletion based upon the spam filter used.
  • Review Spam: Given that mails can be directed to Inbox, Junk Mail folder or any other folder, it makes it very easy for the user to Review and take actions on the mail. Auto white-listing is something that is great
    Note: Though I am of opinion that SPAM should not reach Mailbox at all unless reviewed  :-)!
  • Archiving: The software also provides basic archiving capability for all inbound/outbound mails with a Web based console to search archives. Good for small shops.
  • Monitoring & Reporting: Provides real-time monitoring with a Dashboard and customizable reports.
  • Disclaimer: A wonderful option here is the Free Disclaimer Tool for Exchange apart from the fact that it can be configured per user/domain level and unlike inbuilt features provides HTML based Disclaimers.

GFI offer a free 30-day trial for the full version of the product but also offer a cut-down FREEWARE version

My Ratings:

StarStarStarStarStar [5] - Ease of Installation & Configuration
StarStarStarStarStar [5] – Anti-Spam (Configuration & Actions)
StarStarStarStar     [4] – Monitoring & Reporting 
StarStarStarStar     [4] – Additional Features provided
StarStarStarStarStar [5] - Cost of Ownership

Overall Pretty decent product with well thought of Message retrieval and is pretty accurate at what it should be doing – Handling Spam. I would Recommend GFI MailEssentials to all.

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Disclaimer: This Review is not intended to promote GFI MailEssentials and readers are expected to Download and test suitability in their environments. The review is mine and does not represent those of my employers (past or present) or any other entity. I give no warranty or guarantee whatsoever regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information provided here…

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Product Review – GFI MailArchiver

January 9th, 2010 Nitin Gupta Posted in Geekism, General, Review 3 Comments »

Information retention is no more restricted to documents on file servers and databases. It is common knowledge that, on an average 70% of Business critical information is found in Messaging Systems (ex: Microsoft Exchange Server). E-mail has grown from communication mode to preferred medium of InGFI MailArchiver - Overviewformation Storage for users. This has resulted in Organizations using Archiving & Journaling features to fulfill compliance requirements of Organization policies and acts like HIPAA, SOX etc, apart from fighting Quota restrictions and PST nuisance.

With limited out of box features in Exchange, there is a need for Third Party Archiving software, and that’s where GFI MailArchiver comes into picture. Having been involved in designing solutions for customers ranging from SMBs to Enterprise, I have had the opportunity to test and use GFI MailArchiver for Microsoft Exchange, though it supports other messaging systems too.

A Quick look at GFI MailArchiver:
  • Price of License includes SMA and starts from $9 for large number of mailboxes to as high as $29 per mailbox for upto 10 mailboxes. (as listed, though would recommend price negotiations to everyone who intends to buy). Keep an eye on Licenses procured and number of accounts in AD, else you would be in for a surprise if Archiving stops.
  • Easy to install with multi-lingual support (Languages - 14 for Client Area and 5 for Administration Console)
  • Is installed on Windows Server 2000 (SP3) and above - with AD integration.
  • Supports all versions of Exchange Server from 2000 to 2010
  • Supports SQL Database and Firebird for small shops, with features for managing growth – new databases on demand and Single Instance Storage
  • Populates Archive Database by way of initial importing of mails from PST (in case mails were scattered across the organization in form of PSTs) and then Journal Mailbox feature of Exchange.
  • Easy to configure and implement Email Retention Policies
  • Ease of Access – Outlook Integration (online & offline access) and Web based access via browser
  • Search options available for Attachment type, source, destination, time of delivery etc…
  • Quick and Easy - Restoration of Single Item or entire Mailbox
  • Limited permission based combinations for access to mails in the archive and Security Auditing including user interaction and database activity followed with Alerts & Reports. With RBAC in Exchange 2010, I would love to see same level of capability here too.
  • Ensures Compliance to Organization Policies and Regulations, provided users are given only Read-Only permissions to the archives.

 

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My Ratings:

StarStarStarStarStar [5] - Ease of Installation & Maintenance
StarStarStarStar     [4] - eDiscovery and Reporting
StarStarStarStarStar [5] - End-user experience
StarStarStarStarStar [5] - Cost of Ownership
StarStarStarStar     [4] - Features provided

Overall A good product with features that I would want in an Archiving Product. Easy to Use and Maintain. Would Strongly Recommend GFI MailArchiver to all SMBs.

Enterprise customers would still wait for some additional attention to eDiscovery, Legal Hold, Reporting, Honor based Model etc. 

 

Disclaimer: This Review is not intended to promote GFI MailArchvier and readers are expected to Download and test suitability in their environments. The review is mine and does not represent those of my employers (past or present) or any other entity. I give no warranty or guarantee whatsoever regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information provided here…

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