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Which application to use depends on the customer environment, Norbie explains. Nexus works with several e-mail archive products, including Enterprise Vault, EmailXtender, and software from CommVault Systems, Oceanport, N.J., and C2C, Reading, England.
For many companies, using e-mail-archiving software from their backup software vendor is an easy add-on. "CommVault's Archive line is an easy add-on to CommVault Galaxy," he said. "But if you are looking at the highest functionality, you need to go with Enterprise Vault or EmailXtender. But you lose the easy snap-on capability."
What really separates the men from the boys in e-mail-archiving software is the ability to do offline vaulting for mobile PCs, an important capability that Enterprise Vault and EmailXtender offer, Norbie said. "If you are a reseller and walk into an opportunity where you see a lot of mobile users, and you don't offer that capability, you don't have access to half their mail boxes," he said.
Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner at Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider that recently added e-mail archiving to its storage practice, said that new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) laws are forcing customers to implement an e-mail-archiving plan and stick to it to be able to produce documents in the event of litigation.
However, Kadlec added, it's not just archiving that's important, but the policies that customers need to put in place, especially when it comes to PSTs. "If you get too strict on deletions, the users will copy their PSTs to a CD and take it home," he said. "That's a potential business issue for customers. If you tell people they have to delete e-mails after 30 days, the salespeople will copy the PSTs to a CD. You need to be able to enforce a policy."
And it is an area that solution providers must continually review their offerings, Kadlec said. "E-mail for electronic discovery is absolutely not the only issue," he said. "Instant messages and voicemails now also need to be accounted for. Voicemails can be saved as MP3 files. We don't touch voicemail. But IMs are something we are addressing with the customer in addition to e-mail archiving."
Talking Up Solutions
The way to get customers interested in e-mail archiving is to talk solutions, Kadlec said. "When we bring it up, it differentiates us from others who sell just hardware or software," he said. "If I have Enterprise Vault, Hitachi's HCAP [Hitachi Content Archive Platform], the professional services to set it up, and other parts of the solution, the customer can see how much the entire solution costs. Then they can go to their CFO with the entire solution instead of just going in with Enterprise Vault."
As part of its overview of e-mail archiving, the CRN Test Center focused, not on any one market segment, but on a range of products, including software, hardware and managed services.
Major hardware vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and EMC bundle software solutions with hardware. HP's StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS) and HCAP from Hitachi Data Systems are larger storage solutions that can archive all types of reference information. These systems are large and comprehensive, but are overkill for solution providers looking at only e-mail archiving. As a result, such products were not included in the CRN Test Center overview.
Several of the products, such as archiving solutions from Fortiva, MX Logic and ArcMail, take advantage of SMTP journaling to receive e-mails from the mail server because it has the least impact on the mail server. Mail servers such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino support journaling. IT departments also like journaling because the archiving product then operates outside the e-mail stream. If the archiving solution goes offline for any reason, it doesn't interfere with e-mail delivery.
ArcMail Defender Email Archive Solution was the only hardware appliance the CRN Test Center engineers examined. A sleek 1U unit, Defender targets its archiving solutions for the small-to-midsize business (SMB). A typical SMB generally is not running a SAN or other large-storage solutions that could be used for archiving. With that in mind, Defender captures a copy of all inbound, outbound and internal mail, applies data compression, and securely writes the data to its on-board storage.
Defender starts with 500 GBytes of disk space and scales to up to 12 TBytes. The total disk storage in its entirety is not available for archiving: The XPS110 1-TByte box the engineers looked at allowed only 35 percent of total disk space, or 400 GBytes, for actual archiving. The proportion available jumps for higher-end models: The 8-TByte U380 unit offers 8.7 TBytes of archiving space, or 78 percent of the total.
The appliance is managed through a console accessible from anywhere on the network via a Web browser. The Web browser is also used to access the archive interface. The Web-based software lets users search through e-mails and attachments as well as download files from the archive. Defender allows searches on sender and recipient names as well as on the file name that was attached to the e-mail. It can also perform indexed and full-text searches on the body of the e-mail and on attachments.
Being Web-based, ArcMail Defender is independent of specific e-mail platforms. SMB customers can conceivably swap out the e-mail platform, or upgrade it, without affecting Defender. Defender works by turning on SMTP journaling on the mail server, and it has the ability to import PST files or download the contents of existing e-mails on the mail server through IMAP as part of a one-time import of pre-existing e-mails.