Hospital dumps Microsoft Exchange for Linux-based clone

In the end, it all came down to the price

While the PostPath benefits are a reality now, Fallo had to validate them with a proof-of-concept before he got the green light to migrate. "There was concern we were moving away from the Microsoft platform," Fallo says. The hospital is basically a Microsoft and Dell shop.

Fallo downloaded the free 12-user trial from PostPath and ran it side-by-side with Exchange for more than six months. When it was clear that PostPath was viable, Fallo began the migration using tools from third-party vendors, PostPath and even Microsoft.

"We did the same clean-up and tidy-up for the migration that we would have done with any migration," Fallo says.

He says the PostPath management tools are on par with Exchange's, but that users should realize there are still some command-line features.

"You don't have to be a Linux guru, but need to know your way around as an administrator," Fallo says. Later this year, PostPath will introduce PostPath Administrator, which is a GUI-based tool.

Solving message store issues

Fallo says PostPath also has solved message store issues that led to some painful management in Exchange.

Exchange's Jet Database Engine puts a limit of 16GB on the data store, at which point the message service shuts down. The limit forces administrators to put restrictions on in-box size.

Moses Taylor's message store in Exchange was at 15.7GB. With PostPath and its simplistic file structure, the hospital has been able to eliminate restrictions on mailbox sizes using a Dell storage server.

"We may go back [to limits], but right now we are pleased we don't have to do that," Fallo says.

In addition, the hospital has been able to give e-mail to 105 employees that never had the service because of Exchange's storage limitations.

Message recovery also is easier.

"If we had to restore a single mailbox in Exchange, we could not do it. We had to restore the entire message store. That is the way we were configured. PostPath is a simple file structure. We can recover a single message for a single person," Fallo says.

It has now been six months since Fallo made the switch over.

"I think we made a wise decision," he says.

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John Fontana

Network World
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