Archive and query email with one of these 13 products
Some email users are pack rats: They hate to throw away old messages. This habit can cause problems for the users and their administrators, but it also provides an important benefit in that those users can dig through their mailboxes to find old messages.
Today, businesses need similar capabilities. A growing number of companies are obligated by legal, contractual, or regulatory requirements to archive email for a period of time and to be able to query the archive on demand. Those requirements are at the heart of the drive to implement email archiving and retention systems.
Out of the box, Microsoft Exchange Server has limited support for archiving. You can enable message journaling on individual mailbox databases in Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange 2000 Server. The Exchange Message Categorizer automatically bifurcates messages that are sent to or by users whose mailboxes reside in a journaled database. One copy of the message goes to its original destination, and the other is redirected to an external contact, a mailbox, or a public folder.
At that point, you're on your own, because Exchange offers no reporting, querying, indexing, or compliance features beyond those you get by opening the archive mailbox or public folder with Microsoft Outlook. In fact, Exchange basically just copies the specified items; it's your responsibility to manage them. The products in this Buyer's Guide extend Exchange's built-in functionality by providing additional archiving capabilities. All the products have the same basic purpose: They let you capture messages, keep them for as long as you need to, and manage, search, and report on the archived contents. Look for these fundamental capabilities when purchasing a solution:
Before you select an archival solution, make sure you understand your compliance and archiving requirements. Test candidate systems on the hardware you plan to use to make sure they can keep up with your message volume. Try sample queries and reports, too, to verify that you can find the messages you need when you need them. Don't forget to consider the long-term cost of maintaining the solution; you're likely to have it for a while. Finally, select a solution from a stable company that has a strong history of product support.