According to a recent survey of 1,000 Exchange administrators, reported in our latest whitepaper, “Waiting to Upgrade: Understanding Archiving and Ediscovery Limitations in Exchange 2010,” only 30% of respondents plan to upgrade to Exchange 2010 immediately. With the promise of new and exciting features, why are Exchange administrators not eager to upgrade?

One of the primary advantages Microsoft cites in making an upgrade to Microsoft Exchange 2010 is the inclusion of features to help administrators implement archiving and ediscovery solutions.

The updated version stores archives using a dual-mailbox approach in which an administrator is given the ability to create an archive mailbox associated with the user’s primary database. The administrator can then create policies to automatically move items based on their age to the archive mailbox, or users can move items themselves. A new Exchange Search feature enables organizations to perform indexed searches across personal mailboxes and grants certain individuals the capability to perform searches across multiple accounts for ediscovery compliance purposes.

While these updates are progressive steps towards satisfying companies’ archiving and ediscovery needs, there are several functional limitations that exist, and should be considered before utilizing Exchange 2010 as your only ediscovery solution, or before leaving your third-party vendor.

Some of these limitations include:

CAL Restrictions: 
The Exchange Enterprise Client Access License is required to use archive mailboxes.

Lack of Tiered Storage Capability:
 An archive mailbox cannot exist in a different database than the one where the user’s primary mailbox is located. This essentially disallows having the archive mailbox on a slower tier of disk or slower server, greatly diminishing the benefit of having an archive mailbox.

No Offline Support: 
Outlook must be directly connected to the Exchange Server to view and act on items in the Archive Mailbox. If Outlook is running offline, it cannot access archived data.

Default Search Filters Limited: Standard Microsoft Office formats can be indexed by Exchange 2010, but there is limited support for other common formats such as the popular PDF file format. By default, the content of PDF messages is subsequently unsearchable.

No Public Folder Search: Organizations with a significant investment in public folders will find they cannot search across public folder data using the native Exchange Search.

These limitations suggest that archiving and ediscovery should not be the main factors to consider when making the decision to upgrade. In addition, hidden costs such as paying for enterprise CALS (if you are not currently using them) and upgrading all computers to Office 2010, which is necessary for archiving functionality, can make this update quite costly while providing only a limited archiving and ediscovery solution. Organizations can satisfy their ediscovery and archiving needs with older versions of Exchange combined with third-party vendor tools, which provide more capabilities, sometimes at a lesser price.

To read more about archiving and ediscovery limitations in Microsoft Exchange 2010 download “Waiting to Upgrade: Understanding Archiving and Ediscovery Limitations in Microsoft Exchange 2010”: http://sherpasoftware.com/customer-support/white-papers.shtml.

To learn about Sherpa Software’s ediscovery and archiving solutions visit: http://sherpasoftware.com/solutions/solutions.shtml.