E-mail archiving is the process of indexing and storing e-mail messages and their attachments in a way that makes it easy to search and retrieve a particular message or group of messages addressing a given topic. Companies previously relied on an informal process by which users would set up folders in Microsoft Exchange or other messaging systems. If the organization was pressed to undertake a more comprehensive search as part of a compliance or litigation effort, it would rely on its backup tapes.
This approach is no longer sufficient. "There have been numerous incidents where companies have had to produce all the messages relating to a certain subject, usually having to do with compliance or litigation," says Dianne McAdam, senior analyst and partner, Data Mobility Group, Nashua, NH. "They end up going through backup tapes, which is cumbersome and expensive."
And you don't have to be a giant financial services firm to worry about e-mail archiving. Liberty Medical Supply Inc., Port St. Lucie, FL, which provides diabetes testing supplies, gets requests for e-mail searches each year. It turned to iLumin Software Services Inc. -- recently acquired by Computer Associates (CA) International Inc.—which creates a repository for e-mail archiving. When it comes to searching e-mail messages, "having a repository of Outlook messages is a godsend vs. having to try to do it from backup tapes," says John Hegner, vice president of technology services
The repository avoids the problem that tripped up Morgan Stanley—an inability to produce a message that was known to exist. "If you have a repository, you capture every e-mail message sent to or from anywhere. It's all preserved and saved," Hegner explains. Liberty Medical maintains a 1TB e-mail archive to support 1,000 mailboxes in Exchange and Outlook.
E-mail archiving tools collect, index, store and search e-mail messages. Young firms like C2C Systems and Mimosa Systems, among others, have introduced e-mail search and archiving products that augment the capabilities of Microsoft Exchange.
Another sign of just how hot this market is becoming is the interest shown by large vendors. "You have vendors like CA, IBM and Veritas [now Symantec] acquiring and introducing e-mail archiving products," says Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, Boulder, Colo.
The legal industry and corporate legal departments have jumped on the issue of e-mail archiving as part of electronic data discovery (EDD). EDD tools, a subset of the e-mail archiving market, essentially consist of e-mail indexing combined with searching capabilities and integration with litigation systems. EDD vendors include Attenex Corp., Dataflight Software Inc., Microsoft Corp., Zantaz Inc. and more. The latest Socha-Gelbmann Electronic Discovery Survey, from St. Paul, MN-based Socha Consulting LLC, pegs the 2004 EDD market at $832 million, up 94% from the year before. Researchers expect the legal EDD market to continue to increase, hitting $1.9 billion in 2006 and $2.8 billion in 2007. In the current era of compliance and litigation, Storage expects demand for e-mail archiving technologies to only increase.