Is email archiving a big problem for SMEs? I spoke recently to Softek, a UK-based disti billing itself as 'highly technical value add distributor of IT security, email archiving and storage solutions'. Naturally enough, it has a view and a product to shift -- I wonder if you'll be totally convinced though.
So we talked about the company's new status as a distributor for PineApp email archiving appliances: boxes that suck in your Exchange (or GroupWise et al) email files after a given period, and delete them after the retention period required for legal compliance has passed. The company makes a series of them, ranging from one said to be suitable for 50 users, right up to 1,000 users.
Softek technical director Mike Bienvenu reckons that the main reason for the existence of appliances such as this, which are aimed at SMEs rather than big enterprises, users are looking for storage management rather than ways of staying legal with respect to email retention.
And that's why, he claims, the PineApp boxes are the only ones of their kind that provide stubbing - the ability to provide a stub for emails that have been archived off, which means the email program -- usually (sadly) Exchange -- sees the email as there. A call for a particular email results in it being pulled off the archive server. Apparently the boxes do deduping too.
I asked why an SME wouldn't just buy more storage rather than go for complex and expensive archiving system. It's not as if they're dealing with massive amounts of data flooding in from all over the globe. The argument for the technology is that compliance means that retaining data for a particular period of time -- up to seven year, for example -- makes this simpler to implement, and that technical issues involving Exchange's storage limitations and the retention of duplicate emails becomes expensive. Bienvenu also said that customers ask for archiving and want to ban PSTs off their network.
I'll confess the story sounded reasonable but not entirely convincing, unless the company's business process involves the generation of terabytes of email data.
Is specialised email archiving technology overkill for an SME?