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May 2008, Vol 2

Should you host email on virtual machines?

For IT departments in recent years, deploying and managing email systems have become core missions fraught with challenges. Messaging began as a set of disparate noncritical systems and grew into integrated mission-critical systems with high transaction rates and data retention requirements. But unlike other production systems, they lack the software pieces that make delivery easy or manageable. In addition, messaging systems touch many other IT systems, so they must be somewhat accessible to users outside the enterprise, and they are user interaction intensive. In hopes of curing some of the ills of managing messaging systems, some IT managers now virtualize them. Is this a risky venture that will pose more problems than solutions, or can server virtualization actually reduce deployment risks, overall costs and the management burden? Can portable virtual machines be used to more easily scale growing email systems? Can they simplify disaster recovery? And can they help consolidate satellite servers? In this exploration of ...

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