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Don't Hit the Archiving Wall in Exchange 2010

September 18, 2012

Summary

Exchange Server 2010's native archiving capabilities are limited, particularly in the areas of electronic discovery and compliance. Consider a third-party solution for more robust capabilities in addition to efficiencies and flexibility around storage.
As adoption of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 ramps and with companies at a crossroads trying to decide between on-premise or cloud-based deployments, archiving capabilities are coming under scrutiny as a critical way to boost Exchange performance and efficiencies.
While Exchange 2010 includes its first-ever set of native archiving functionality, the platform still falls short in the areas of e-discovery and compliance, and it lacks capabilities for effectively reining in the problem of runaway storage requirements or PST files. Specifically, Exchange 2010's archiving feature set has limitations in a number of areas--among them, lack of support for deduplication (previous releases supported single-instance storage, also known as SIS) and limited ability to index and search file types beyond email and other Microsoft file types. In addition, its e-discovery, compliance, and legal hold capabilities are less robust when compared to standalone archiving and retention platforms.
Why is archiving so important to Exchange 2010 implementations? While the reasons vary across companies and industry segments, archiving is readily being recognized as way to balance storage costs with information accessibility, to aid in electronic discovery and compliance, and as part of a broader strategy around business continuity and disaster recovery. Third-party archival tools can help address the gaps, and for those that have yet to take the Exchange 2010 plunge, a third-party solution can vastly simplify the migration process by shrinking the volume of live mail on Exchange, thereby reducing server and storage requirements while accelerating mailbox migrations, backups, and recovery.
A recent study by Osterman Research confirmed that companies are ready to embrace archiving as a best practice as they orchestrate a move to Exchange 2010. According to Osterman, more than 60% of those interviewed confirmed plans to migrate to Exchange 2010 by the end of 2012, while nearly 51% said they have already deployed an archiving system with another 20% planning to do so in the same timeframe.

A Third-Party Archiving Assist

With that in mind, here are the primary reasons to pair Exchange 2010 with a third-party archiving platform:
Support for a platform-agnostic environment. Archiving often supersedes Exchange, and organizations may want to manage information as well as enforce retention and deletion policies across a broad range of content sources, including SharePoint, file systems, structured repositories, even social media data. A third-party solution can deliver archiving services on an enterprise scale, including the ability to tap into sources outside of the core email environment.
Storage flexibility. According to Osterman Research, roughly five of the top 10 problems related to managing email servers have to do with excessive storage—a problem that a fully-integrated, third-party archiving solution can better address. Third-party solutions have capabilities that are more robust for tiering data to different and potentially, lower cost, storage devices. Not only does this reduce dependency on expensive near-line storage, but capabilities like single-instance storage (not supported in Exchange 2010) and compression work to create the smallest storage footprint possible by storing one copy of a file or message regardless of the number of times it occurs or where it's stored.
Eliminating Personal Folder (PST) headaches .PST files, typically used as a mechanism for circumventing mailbox quotas and as a repository for end user data, are difficult to manage and can open the door to issues around compliance. While Exchange 2010 supports the migration of .PST files, the lack of support for SIS means there is increased storage overhead and users will not be able to tap into the Personal Archive when they are offline. A third-party archiving program can offer more flexible .PST migration capabilities, helping identify where the personal folders reside, whether they be on end user desktops or centralized files servers, while also moving .PST data into the more efficient archive repository, not into Exchange, without disrupting end user access to .PST content.
Support for more robust e-discovery and compliance capabilities. E-discovery with Exchange 2010's native capabilities is currently limited to manual searching with little or no automation around scheduling searches and minimal delegated review capabilities. A third-party archive solution can buttress the e-discovery piece of the equation with improved legal hold capabilities, support for multiple content types outside of email, as well as the ability to audit user activity, including what searches are run in addition to attempts at modifying or deleting data—all critical tools for facilitating compliance. In addition, some third-party solutions offer intuitive workflows to help automate and simplify eDiscovery processes, while empowering those who are authorized to search for, discover, review and produce relevant information.
Seamless user experience. Exchange 2010's archive capabilities are not readily accessible with many older versions of Outlook nor are Personal Archives available when users are offline and not connected to Exchange. Third-party archiving solutions are more likely to offer offline capabilities, a help in accommodating mobile users, and will deliver a more transparent user experience across a myriad of email clients and versions, including Entourage and Outlook 2011 for Mac.

Proven Archive Technology

Symantec Enterprise Vault™ has helped over 18,000 customers worldwide create an information management strategy designed to keep a lid on storage costs while facilitating compliance and e-discovery needs. Gartner says approximately 70% of data is duplicate and hasn't been accessed in over 90 days. With Enterprise Vault's archiving, classification and retention technologies, organizations can apply intelligence to how they manage information, cutting the cost of storing unstructured information by up to 60% and reducing backup windows by up to 65%.
Beyond data center efficiencies, adding a third-party archive tool like Enterprise Vault to the mix can also improve end user productivity by eliminating mailbox quotas and by making archived messages and files more readily accessible as part of the enterprise archival strategy.
To find out more about how Symantec Enterprise Vault and its intelligent management vision can help bolster Exchange Server 2010 performance and efficiencies, go to the Osterman White Paper on Exchange 2010 on third-party archiving solutions.

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