Exchange Server 2010 – Email Archiving
Exchange Server 2010: why offloading email archiving to a third-party solution pays
Email archiving is rapidly becoming a critical service addition to messaging infrastructures, irrespective of the company size. Whether the problem you are facing is a question of business continuity, disaster recovery, auditing, compliance, litigation support, performance, or storage, adding an email archiving solution to the corporate network provides a simple, straight-forward, and cost effective answer to it all. And although Exchange 2010 does include basic email archiving, offloading this to a third-party solution greatly enhances what can be offered to users and enables you to offer services external to Exchange, increasing availability, expanding on the features offered, and reducing the load on your Exchange infrastructure.
Before going into how using third-party email archiving over Exchange 2010 archiving pays, it is important to understand how an email archiving solution works. A third-party email archiving solution would extract attachments and message contents automatically from incoming/outgoing emails, index them, and then store them in central storage accessible for all users. Below are several points which explain why this email archiving system works better than that offered by Exchange 2010:
Business continuity and disaster recovery
A saved email is a source of some critical piece of business information. Whether that is contact information for a customer, a bit of ‘how to’ knowledge, or approval for an action, when email is down, productivity plummets. Adding a third-party email archiving solution enables your users to access their email which is separate from your mail servers. Whether you are performing maintenance, experiencing a server failure, or going through some other outage, the third-party email archiving solution offers another way to get to critical email communications.
Auditing and compliance
Third-party email archiving solutions may include enhanced search and indexing capabilities, making it easier to designate a role which can perform periodic reviews of users’ communications to support the audit and compliance functions. Department managers can review sent emails to ensure policies are being followed, and messages meeting a specific criteria can be copied out to meet audit requests.
The search and report capabilities of third-party solutions can also make it much easier to respond to discovery requests or subpoenas during litigation. Having an email archiving solution in place for all users’ email makes providing requested information straightforward and manageable from a single system. Archived emails are also stored in a secure database to ensure that messages cannot be tampered with; an important factor if email is required as evidence during legal proceedings.
Whether making searches, creating indexes, or simply dealing with the I/O inherent to going through multiple mailboxes, a third-party email archiving solution can perform better than Exchange, since it is only handling the archiving functions, and not all of the concurrent connections from your email users. Exchange uses the ESE format for mail databases, which is the right choice for supporting many concurrent mail clients. Third-party solutions can use SQL, which can provide much better performance for single operations that must access multiple users’ email.
For years, the single most common challenge for Exchange admins has been to provide sufficient storage for users’ growing needs. Even with Exchange 2010’s greatly reduced disk I/O requirements, giving users mailboxes with as much storage as they want can tax the resources available to the Exchange infrastructure. Third-party email archiving can use less expensive storage, including DAS, lower tiered SAN space, or even thinly provisioned storage, eliminating the need for users to create PSTs while providing virtually unlimited storage space.
Import users from a spreadsheet, complete with their mailbox. Just provide a list of the users with the fields in the top row, and save as .csv file. Then launch this FREE utility, match your Exchange fields with AD’s attributes, click and import the users. Optionally, you can provide the name of the OU where the new mailboxes will be born.
- Bulk-import new users and mailboxes into Active Directory.
- Seek and zap unwanted user accounts.
- Find inactive computers.
When you compare the price of third-party email archiving solutions with the costs of what it would take to provide similar capabilities using only what is included with Exchange, you will quickly see that a third-party solution pays for itself. The costs of Exchange licenses, the increased costs of the storage capabilities that are more in line with Exchange’s requirements, and the overhead of deploying and managing additional Exchange servers, all quickly add up to more than a third party solution costs, while still being dependent on Exchange.
With all of those capabilities included with a third-party email archiving solution, you can see that offloading email archiving from your Exchange infrastructure is a very cost effective way to meet business needs, solve real problems, and enhance the performance of your email system.
This guest post was provided by Ed Fisher on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. More information: GFI email archiving.
All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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