How do you improve on a free tool that simplifies storage provisioning for Microsoft workloads and already includes many advanced features such as virtualization, clustering and monitoring? You add support for Microsoft Exchange provisioning, Microsoft Database Availability Groups (DAG) and EMC RecoverPoint management…while still being free of charge!
If you've read my posts before you'll know that I am a HUGE fan of EMC's Storage Integrator or ESI (see Exhibits A, B, C & D). ESI was originally created as a tool to simplify the storage creation and management in a Windows environment. By answering a few simple questions using the wizard based option, ESI will create a new storage LUN, set the proper disk alignment, format the drive and mount it in Windows all in a matter of minutes (or less than a minute). Additional versions provided virtualization support, System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and Orchestrator (SCO) integration. And now with ESI 3.0, there is extended application and data protection support!
So why include support for Microsoft Exchange? Many customers are deploying consolidated storage for Microsoft Exchange workloads and while Microsoft promotes other server based deployment methods, customers do have large capacity requirements for Exchange and more users are considering virtualization as a way to consolidate all of the different servers especially when creating multiple copies of the database via Database Availability Groups.
ESI 3.0 takes aim at two birds with one stone – helping to simplify the management of storage creation for Exchange environments while also providing easy to use wizard based menus to extend DAG replication with EMC RecoverPoint. Even for customers who have already configured EMC storage for Exchange, ESI provides detailed information about the location of the database and log files such as the storage properties, the log file in use, if a database is being replicated and much more as seen in this screen shot.
Interested in creating a new storage drive for Exchange database and log files? Simply click on the Create Mailbox Database option and follow the wizard as seen in the following screenshot. At the end of the wizard the storage will be created, formatted and mounted with a new Exchange database deployed and available for use.
Creating a Mailbox Database Copy is also an easy process with selections such as specifying the type of replication whether it will be asynchronous or synchronous and then selecting the appropriate source and target pools. Once complete ESI will update the replication status in the main window and will update the Exchange server indicating that the database is being replicated by a non Exchange replication method.
And if you have spent any time with the Exchange management tools in the last few versions you know that Microsoft has made all of the Exchange management operations available via PowerShell and encourages administrators to use these. ESI includes full PowerShell support for all of these operations including creating new mailbox databases, configuring failover or initiating a database failover from one site to another.
ESI 3.0 supports Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2010 SP3 for DAG support and EMC RecoverPoint/SE or EX version 4.0 with the applicable splitters for the EMC storage systems.
Where can you find more information?
Visit http://support.emc.com to download ESI or access the ESI product documentation (search for EMC Storage Integrator).
Also be sure to view the latest product announcement on the Everything Microsoft Page including an updated demo of the Exchange database wizard and configuring third party replication with RecoverPoint!