"The solution were announcing is designed to address the mushrooming e-mail and storage management needs of businesses ... and unlike the EMC Centera, this solution provides customers with a Windows-based e-mail archiving solution in their Windows environment, better leveraging their existing skills." Technical detailsThe IBM part of the package includes an upgrade (with e-mail search functionality) of the existing IBM CommonStore eMail Archiving Preload, pre-tested on an IBM System x BladeCenter Server platform, powered by AMD Opterons.It is integrated with archiving capabilities using the IBM System Storage Archive Manager software. The IBM System Storage DS4200 Express disk storage system with SATA (serial ATA) storage capacity rounds out the Big Blue lineup. The DS4200 component can be ordered in a 4TB or 8TB option and can be expanded via expansion modules. Azaleos BladeMail appliance simplifies MS Exchange e-mail. Click here to read more. The email archive package, including storage and services, will be available from IBM and IBM Business Partners in the first quarter of 2007 starting at a list price of $55,000 with optional eMail Search for an additional $2,000. Intended for quick and easy implementation In an environment where customers are concerned about compliance, they want to be assured that they are archiving their e-mail correctly, Amy Wohl, president of Wohl Associates in Merion Station, Pa., told eWEEK. "This is a good solution and is intended to be quick and easy to implement. It also allows cross-organizational searches [which are nearly impossible now], treating all of the archived e-mail as an unstructured data base," Wohl said. Does this package have a "captive audience" of Windows users? "There are lots of Windows users [using both Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino] who could use this," Wohl said. "Many Microsoft business partners are already IBM business partners, so its easy to offer this solution. Microsoft business partners who do not currently have a relationship with IBM can easily enter a basic level partner relationship and sell the archiving offering. "Because of the large number of users of Microsoft Exchange, selling just to a relatively small percentage of them should be a lucrative market." Keith McCall, CTO and co-founder of Azaleos, in Redmond, Wash., which makes an appliance that automates all aspects of the Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, told eWEEK that "this offering appears to contain services for deployment but not for actual monitoring, management or maintenance of the archiving solution once built. That is left to VAR/VAD business partners." McCall said he believes the partnership by IBM and Microsoft validates the importance of e-mail archiving in businesses of any size. However, McCall said that a complete e-mail solution needs to align archiving with existing business processes, retention policies and mailbox quotas, and be monitored, maintained and supported by services available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. "While e-mail infrastructure availability has become mission critical, e-mail has also become a record, discoverable and admissible in many courts around the worldwhether stored in Microsoft Exchange or in an archive repository," McCall said. "Customers should carefully select the complete end-to-end solution that delivers maximum value and protection of this critical corporate asset." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.