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We're looking into a solution to do email archiving and near-line backup of our Exchange Server 2007 environment.

We currently have about 200 mailboxes and the Mailstore is approx 150 GB. We need to be able to archive email for several years for legal purposes, and would like the archiving solution to also help with expediting restores of deleted messages if possible. Our System Support consultants have recommended Mimosa.

Anybody have experience with Mimosa, or other products in this market space?

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This is a good question for smaller environments as well, since the archiving of email for legal purposes affects lots of small business too. (I wish I had something more substantial to add; all I can do is up-vote this question!) –  Keithius Jun 2 '09 at 17:52
    
Slightly different question, but with overlap - serverfault.com/questions/5462/… –  Kara Marfia Jun 2 '09 at 18:01
    
I'd looked at that one before I posted the question, but as it is from a different angle, I decided to go ahead and post it as opposed to piggybacking on the other one. –  BillN Jun 2 '09 at 21:10
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14 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

As you probably know, the biggest player is Symantec Enterprise Vault.

Here's a comparison between it and Mimosa.

There's a comparative review here of ten email archiving products which might give you some leads.

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We use Enterprise Vault and it has been a set and forget installation for us. It does the job and does it well. We're now in the process of adding File Archiving to the installation. –  Kevin Kuphal Jun 2 '09 at 20:36
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Exchange 2010 has built-in Archiving in the enterprise version.

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I'm surprised this has taken so long to be mentioned. Of course, it's no simple task to get management to approve an upgrade and then do it, however it's a very valid answer. If you're considering using Exchange 2010 for archiving, make sure that you install SP1, as it allows the archive to reside on a different database (as in, cheaper storage). –  Jeff Miles Sep 29 '10 at 22:37
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Red Gate's Exchange Server Archiver is great if you want truly transparent email archiving.

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Slightly different approach but we have our archiving handled by Mimecast, in addition to AV and Spam filtering. I'm very happy with it - but it's a little different from a lot of the usual suspects because it's all handled offsite.

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So does it host your archives online? Or are the archives offline and un-accessible by your users, similar to using off-site tape storage for backups/DR. –  BillN Jun 9 '09 at 21:13
    
BillN, it hosts them online, it's up to the admin/business who does and does not have access, but it does mean that in the event of a problem you can use their webmail interface to continue your email service while you restore local service. It isn't a backup solution though, I do personally think those are two seperate issues (if you're archiving and you restore from the archive what happens with emails the user deleted already?). We use Galaxy Commvault for Disaster Recovery Backups. –  RobM Jun 9 '09 at 21:56
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I've using exchange@PAM from H&S and it's been working great for us. It's less expensive and may not have all the extra features of Symantec's offering, but it's been working great for us.

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This is quick and dirty but it does work.

I have done this in Exchange 2003 so I can only assume 2007 can do it as well. There is an option on the mailstore in 2003 to "Archive all message sent or received by mailboxes on this store" You specify an email address in there and Exchange will send a copy of all email to that address.

Then put hMailServer on a dedicated box that only you have access to. You now have a copy of all email for the legal reasons. Backup this box and you're all set. You access it using an IMAP client.

Best part is the cost can be nothing if you use existing hardware for the hMailServer since it's free

Do an ExMerge on all the current mailboxes and that gives you a quick snapshot of everyone as they are and then hMailServer for everything from this point on.

Does nothing to address the size of the store but thats not what it's solving.

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Have a look at EMC's SourceOne Product ( http://www.emc.com/products/launch/sourceone/index.htm ). Note, I am an EMC employee so this might be viewed as a shameless plug. However, as an EMC Employee, I have used this product for our email archiving for the past 3 years. It has worked great! We all have virtually unlimited mailboxs and the new version has been completely redesigned to be more flexible and scalable architecture. The designers have also added new add on modules to this release for eDiscovery and add will be releasing new features in the future.

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You might also like to take a look at Exchange Server Archiver

Disclaimer: I work at Red Gate, albeit in one of the other divisions. But as a tester, so no marketing talk from me :)

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It appears Red Gate no longer sells the product. -- "Thank you for visiting this section of our website, although this is probably not what you were expecting to find. If you don't already know, Red Gate has decided to stop developing Exchange Server Archiver and therefore the product is no longer available to download or to purchase. " –  Aaron Feb 2 '11 at 18:03
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I've used Symantec EV and don't like it too much; a general antipathy towards Symantec products rather than for any sensible reason I'm afraid.

I generally tend to shy away from email archiving products for a number of reasons. Firstly, one can always look at better mailbox management policies. Secondly, I question if important info such as we're talking about here should really reside in the email system in the first place. Look at it this way: if somebody was on leave and an important doc was lurking in their email, what would need to be done and would you be happy doing it? Finally, check your data retention legislation - it may be the case that for email the owner of a record is the person who creates it, i.e. the original sender. If this is the case, the 20 odd people who have received it have no grounds for keeping it. In other words, I view archiving as moving the problem elsewhere.

User education is the best approach; get them in the habit of deleting emails that they don't need to keep, saving attachments to the file system, and so on. Have them understand that these documents aren't their own personal property, they belong to the company. My experience is that people tend to be hoarders so far as email is concerned, and once you get that sorted out you may find that the problem goes away on it's own (and saves a lot of money in doing so!)

If, and only if, after having done all that you still have email volume problems, then is the time to consider archiving.

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Email archiving isn't always about unrestricted growth. One distinct advantage of email archiving is that your information stores on Exchange remain very very small. This is a major advantage for backup windows, offline defragmentation, and recovering a database from an error. Dealing with a 2GB mailstore vs. a 20GB mailstore is a significant difference. Emails older than X time can be moved to the archiving server on less expensive disk saving considerable expense in managing the growth of primary storage. –  Kevin Kuphal Jun 2 '09 at 20:49
    
One comment on user education. If you wait for that happen you may never be able to move forward. In my case back in 2006 when I suggested mailarchiver, we pushed out email retention policy out at the time we implemented the mailarchiver. It's a huge relief after. Managing email server with much smaller mail storage is much better and easier. –  kentchen Jun 2 '09 at 22:17
    
Yeah, archiving is definitely not about email volume issues. Archiving (for enterprise products usually) is much too expensive for that purpose. It would much cheaper to scale our exchange infrastructure than to purchase Symantec Enterprise vault. It's mainly automated archival and eDiscovery(mandated and not by choice) that truly warrants the purchase. Being able to easily manage Exchange store volume size is definitely a plus, but I would say the secondary reason people purchase it for. –  Tatas Aug 2 '09 at 17:27
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I recommend Barracuda's Message Archiver. It does the job.

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Updated link barracudanetworks.com/products/messagearchiver –  notandy Nov 9 '12 at 21:09
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take a look at mailarchivia

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A couple of years ago I did some study/training on EMC's option, SourceOne (prev emailxtender). I can't recommend it (since I only used it in a lab environment), but the features match up.

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Thanks, I had looked at emailxtender, but it looked like it was end-of-life, I did not know it was re-releases as SourceOne, I'll have to take a look at it. –  BillN Jun 2 '09 at 21:13
    
Yeah, when EMC bought them out, they droped the whole "Xtender" naming scheme, much to my relief. ;) –  Kara Marfia Jun 3 '09 at 13:26
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I always recommend GFI MailArchiver (http://www.gfi.com/mailarchiver/). I have been using it since 2006. Couldn't be happier. To be honest, it's a dream to whoever needs to manage the exchange server for having an archive solution. It makes so much easier managing on the server side.

The MailArrchiver is a web-based system built on ASP.net with using SQL at the back. You don't need to change anything on Exchange server side, only enable the journal on the mail storage and it archives emails on the fly in the real time.

It also has bulk import tool that helps to archive the existing mail boxes and a bulk export tool to download the emails from the archiver. It also has audit built right in.

Most of all, it's inexpensive.

Hope that helps.

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If you have a document management system in your company consider integration between your e-mail archive and the DMS. The ability to aggregate e-mail and the rest of your documents will make both the e-mail archive and the document repository much more valuable.

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