We at Lucid8 were pleased to discover that Windows IT Pro reviewed Lucid8's flagship product GOexchange (November 2005, InstantDoc ID 48028). However, upon reading the review, we feel the piece missed key points of GOexchange's functionality and possibly gave your readers a mistaken impression of the software's usefulness in preventing Exchange Server failure and data corruption.
The reviewer, Adam Carheden, made the following observations:
- "I took the product for a test drive to see how it stacked up against Eseutil."
- I then used Eseutil to defrag one copy of the database and used GOexchange to defrag another copy. I had to read through the Eseutil documentation, but the process itself was hardly complicated."
- The Eseutil defrag also took less time than GOexchange took. However, running GOexchange was easier than performing the Eseutil defrag and, according to Lucid8, the product can also correct database errors."
A major problem is that Mr. Carheden compares GOexchange with Microsoft's Eseutil without explaining Eseutil's limitations. He also gives the mistaken impression the GOexchange is a defragmentation tool that performs more slowly than Eseutil. A more complete explanation of the situations that GOexchange was designed to manage includes the following facts:
- Archiving vendors give the impression that by extracting information from Exchange databases into an archive, the original Exchange database will shrink accordingly. For example, if a customer with a 100GB database archives 90GB, the expectation is that the original database size is now 10GB. However, this is incorrect because although data has been transferred into the archive, the data has only been delinked from the original database; that database is still 100GB in size.
- To reclaim this space, DBAs sometimes use Eseutil to defragment their Exchange databases. They must do so manually, after hours, and often are unfamiliar with the utility's functionality and operation. In addition, Eseutil doesn't incorporate reporting, a best-practice knowledge base, integration with backup products, and automation of the storage reclamation process. As with many command line? driven programs, Eseutil uses a plethora of switches and options, some of which let administrators "fix" a database while inadvertently destroying valuable data, a situation we see all too often when we're called upon to assist in disaster-recovery operations.
- Although Eseutil does perform defragmentation, it doesn't fix database errors in place before defragmentation, nor does it address data integrity concerns that can arise from the defragmentation process itself.
The result of using Eseutil by itself is that customers haven't implemented a complete maintenance and disaster-prevention process. This is an issue we see many times with our disaster-recovery practice; that is, a customer ran Eseutil's /d switch many times to shrink an Exchange database, and although everything appeared to work just fine, down the line the database failed. This constantly recurring scenario in fact led to the creation of GOexchange.
I'd like to point out that Microsoft Exchange Server, like any complex database system, experiences performance degradation over time. Without routine maintenance (aka disaster prevention and optimization), the environment experiences decreasing performance as fragmentation occurs, leading to unplanned Exchange downtime. Given the significance of email in today's business environment, it's important for IT managers to develop preventive maintenance practices that check databases for consistency and errors and warnings, and that optimize Exchange Server to improve performance and stability. That's why we created GOexchange, and that's what the product does.
—Troy C. Werelius, Lucid8
Sony, What Were You Thinking?
Thanks for Mark Minasi's wonderful commentaries in Windows IT Pro UPDATE—Special Edition. I especially enjoyed "Sony, What Were You Thinking?" (November 30, 2005, InstantDoc ID 48681). Just a note: Two class-action lawsuits have been filed against Sony regarding the spyware being installed in a PC via a rootkit on a music CD.
And thanks also to Senior Contributing Editor Mark Russinovich, who discovered Sony's misdeed and broke the news to the world. You can read Mark's recommendations for detecting rootkits on your own systems in "Unearthing Root Kits" (June 2005, InstantDoc ID 46266).