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E-mail growth is starting to affect the ability of IT departments to continue to prop up e-mail applications like Exchange, unless they look to their solution providers for help with e-mail archiving, said Keith Norbie, director of the storage division at Nexus Information Systems, a Plymouth, Minn.-based solution provider. "The weight on top of Exchange is to the point where the legs are going to break," Norbie said. "People are loading so much crap on Exchange e-mails, public folders and PSTs (Personal Storage Tables), that it's about to cave in."
This means that the time of evangelizing these solutions has passed, said Dan Carson, vice president of marketing and business development at Open Systems Solutions Inc. (OSSI), a Willow Grove, Pa.-based storage solution provider that uses Symantec's Enterprise Vault, formerly known as KVM, and EMC's EmailXtender e-mail archiving applications. "One- to one-and-a-half years ago, there was a lot of missionary work going on, but there wasn't a lot of sales activity," Carson said. "But in the last six to nine months, we've seen a big uptick in activity of customers going ahead with archiving. Maybe three to four times the activity of last year."
Analyst firm IDC expects that 97 billion e-mails, including more than 40 billion spam messages, will be sent daily worldwide this year. Business e-mails will generate about 5 exabytes of data this year, nearly double the amount sent in the past two years, IDC said. That's leading to a fast-growing e-mail archiving market. In addition, analyst firm Radicati Group estimates that market to hit $6 billion in 2011, up from $1.3 billion this year.
Customer acceptance of e-mail archiving is actually higher than for most new technologies, said Greg Knieriemen, vice president of marketing at Chi, a Cleveland-based storage solution provider that works with Zantaz, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based developer of e-mail and compliance software, which last month was acquired by Autonomy, Cambridge, England. "There's a huge demand," Knieriemen said, adding that every one of Chi's customers is addressing or trying to address two issues: "First, they have collected so many e-mails and are trying to find ways to manage them; the second is compliance, because financial regulators and HIPAA all have rules for archiving e-mails."
"This is definitely a growth space," Open Systems' Carson said. Customers realize their users are keeping a lot of e-mails, including just to keep an attachment, and they are keeping multiple copies," he said. "As more and more companies struggle with compliance and storage retention, it becomes an issue. A lot of customers are going back to look at retention policies based on recent events—either legal issues at their own company, or after reading about similar companies."