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Migrating PST Files into Symantec Enterprise Vault 2007

Created: 27 Feb 2009 • Updated: 03 Mar 2009
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Swathi Turlapaty's picture
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Introduction

This paper is intended to serve as a comprehensive source of information about the various tools available for PST migration with Symantec Enterprise Vault 2007. It also provides some guidance on how best to use these tools. It is assumed that the reader has some experience installing, configuring, and maintaining the core Enterprise Vault for Microsoft® Exchange solution and is familiar with Microsoft Windows®, Microsoft Outlook®, Exchange, and other products, such as Microsoft SQL Server. This paper is not a step-by-step configuration guide; therefore, it refers to related documentation, as appropriate, for such information.

Summary of the PST problem

PST files (also known as Personal Folders or Outlook data files) were not designed to handle the rigorous demands of today’s large-scale corporate email requirements. However, many companies move email from Exchange into PST files for retention. Ultimately, these files create more problems than they solve and are one of the main reasons why organizations eventually seek an enterprise archiving solution. Common PST file problems include:

  • Lack of centralized management of which users have created PST files, how many files exist, or what intellectual property they contain
  • Propensity for data corruption with limited recovery, resulting in permanent data loss
  • Impact on nightly backups, as the archive bit for any opened file will be changed and thus require a complete file backup, even if the file has only been viewed
  • Increased storage requirements, as single instancing is lost when multiple copies of identical email/files are stored in disparate PST files · Lack of content retention enforcement and compliance management
  • Difficulty in searching, as a user can only search one PST file at a time, and it is virtually impossible for an organization to locate and search all PST files for compliance and/or discovery purposes

Solution: Migrate the contents of PST files into Symantec Enterprise Vault

Symantec Enterprise Vault software helps organizations solve the issues outlined in the previous section by migrating PST files into a central archiving repository. Migrating PST files involves more than just importing them into Enterprise Vault. It is a process that entails the following steps:

  1. Locate. Enterprise Vault offers “push” and “pull” techniques for locating PST files that are referenced in Outlook profiles and/or that reside on file servers or user client machines.
  2. Determine ownership. This critical step addresses the question of who owns the PST files. If an organization cannot automatically determine who owns a PST file, then it cannot automatically assign security to the information it is about to add to the archive. Enterprise Vault offers a number of techniques for establishing the ownership of a PST file and storing that information so that it can be used later to import the data into the appropriate user’s archive.
  3. Report. A centralized management view of the PST migration process is critical. The Enterprise Vault Administration Console shows a view of all PST file locations, their ownership, and their migration status.
  4.  Import. The migration of PST files into Enterprise Vault can be triggered manually or automatically within certain time periods. There are a number of different methods to drive PST migration, but all of them assign security and rationalize storage through single instancing and compression within Enterprise Vault.
  5. Display. End-user access to imported content must be familiar and easy for a PST migration project to be successful. Enterprise Vault can present imported messages in Outlook, using the same folder names and hierarchy that imported PST files had at the time of migration.
  6. Disposal of migrated PST files. Following the successful migration of a PST file, Enterprise Vault can automatically delete or hide it and remove it from the user’s Outlook profile.

Overview and comparison of Enterprise Vault PST migration tools

Enterprise Vault provides the following tools for migrating (importing) the contents of PST files to archives:

  • Server-driven PST migration (“Locate, Collect, and Migrate”). This process locates PST files on servers and users’ computers, copies them to a central location, and then migrates them. It is often called the “pull” method because the Enterprise Vault server initiates the file copy from the remote storage location.
  • Client-driven PST migration. This process uses an Outlook add-in on users’ computers to locate PST files and queue them for migration by the server-based PST Migrator Task. It has the advantage that it runs under the user’s context and is therefore able to access PST files that the server-driven “pull” migration may not be able to, including passwordprotected PST files and files that are currently “locked” because they are in use by Outlook. This process is called the “push” method because the workstation initiates the file copy to the Enterprise Vault server.
  • Scripted PST migration using Enterprise Vault Policy Manager. This process is most useful for performing bulk migrations of PST files. But first the organization needs to collect the PST files in a central location, determine the ownership of each, and create an initialization file containing these details. Often this will be done programmatically by an organization’s in-house developers.
  • Wizard-assisted migration. If there are only a few PST files, this process provides a quick and easy way of migrating them to Enterprise Vault. It is also useful for dealing with exceptions or VIP users.

Table 1 provides a high-level functional comparison of the Enterprise Vault PST migration tools. A more detailed comparison of the specific features of each migration option is provided in “Enterprise Vault PST migration in detail”.

To read the complete article, download the PDF.