The Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 database portability feature allows a mailbox database to be mounted on any server in the same organization. In previous versions of Exchange, a database could only be mounted in the following places:

  • Recovery storage group
  • Server with the same name as the server that the database came from
  • Another server in the same administrative group

The database portability feature removes the previous limitations and handles the issues that they presented. Database portability was implemented for the following reasons: [more]

  • Reliability is improved by removing error-prone manual steps in the recovery processes.
  • For a lost clustered mailbox server scenario, the clustered mailbox server needed to be recovered before clients could access Exchange databases.
  • Exchange mailbox data is non-server specific, so accessing that data should also be non-server specific.
  • Database portability reduces the end-to-end recovery times for various disaster recovery scenarios.

At the Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) level, Exchange databases are portable. However, Exchange Server 2003 imposes certain restrictions before bringing a database online at an alternate location that do not allow databases to be portable. Database portability removes all but one such restriction, which is that the database needs to be from the same Exchange organization. A portable database is of no use, unless clients can be redirected to the mailbox data at the alternate location. With the Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and the Exchange 2007 Autodiscover service, clients are redirected to the new server when they try to connect.

Note: Database portability is only offered for Exchange 2007 mailbox databases. Public folder databases are not portable. This is because replication between public databases is controlled by each database being linked to and accessed through a specific server. The preferred way to move public folder data between servers is to replicate it rather than copy the database files to a different server. If you copy a public folder database to a different server, it will no longer replicate with other databases.