Email archiving challenges

Brian Azzopardi is the product manager for GFI MailArchiver. In this interview he discusses the challenges related to managing email growth and how archiving can help.

Why should an organization archive email?
Organizations want to offload Exchange, cut down Exchange backup and restores times, reduce email-related storage costs, reduce email-related help desk costs, do away with PST hassles, and reduce legal risk. Quite a mouthful, but email is crucial to all organizations and it does take up a significant amount of IT admin time.
These are all pains which organizations large and small face. Archiving is a technology that helps them meet these challenges.

Based on the feedback you get from your clients, what are their most significant e-mail archiving challenges?
The most significant challenges are related to managing email. From what our customers and channel partners tell us doing away with PST files and making Exchange faster and using less disk space remain the top priorities. Managing legal risk is also a priority in certain geographies like the US and Germany.

How does email archiving impact storage and backup?
Storage, as I’ve mentioned previously, is one of the top drivers for people to implement archiving. Email volume and email sizes keep going up and up and the demand for storage is ever increasing. Keeping all that email in Exchange would make your Exchange backup / restore times unacceptable. An archiving solution with compression and single-instancing of emails and attachments lets you bend the curve on the storage growth and make it more manageable.

Backup can be a problem not just for Exchange itself but also PST files. It’s common for organisations to use PST files; Outlook AutoArchive “feature’ makes it a one-click decision. Unfortunately, that single click, multiplied by all the users in an organisation, comes back to haunt the IT admins. If the PST files are stored locally on each user’s machine, backing those PST files is a pain. Backing up the PSTs of mobile users is even more so. Some organisations centralise PST files which makes them easier to backup. The downside is that storage costs explode – PST files do not single instance emails so that quarterly company newsletter sent to the company’s 250 employees is saved 250 times across 250 PST files.

What are the main features of GFI MailArchiver that make it stand out from the competition?
In a few words – it’s fuss free. It starts before you install the product with a concise step-by-step guide to installing and deploying MailArchiver. Installation itself is just a few clicks and once the admin logs into the admin console MailArchiver presents a wizard which automates setting up Exchange (whether local or remote) and the archive storage. For the typical small organisation running SBS or Exchange, an admin following the setup guide should have MailArchiver up and running in less than two hours.

Maintenance is just as fuss-free: the dashboard show the key indicators of the product including mail flow, archive size and disk space to help the admin in capacity planning and to spot any issues. End-users don’t need any training to use the Outlook Connector: it looks just like another mailbox or PST file in Outlook.
Archiving solutions need to handle a huge, and ever increasing, amount of data, but that doesn’t mean that they should expose the underlying complexity to the admins or end-users.

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