Stubs Used to Manage Attachments

Posted 2010-03-09 Print this article Print


DataCove DT uses stubs to manage attachments, which, like journaling, increase storage demands. Most administrators have resigned themselves to increased storage costs when archiving attachments. However, Tangent has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to stubs and attachments. The company reduces storage needs by storing messages directly on the appliance with ZIP compression to reduce the size of the archived messages and attachments. The inclusion of compression has a profound impact on storage requirements, so much so that the internal storage requirements on the DataCove DT appliance are reduced significantly.

DataCove DT takes advantage of SMTP push technology, which is available on many messaging systems-including Sendmail, Qmail and GroupWise. SMTP push technology works hand in hand with DataCove's SMTP listener, which I found quite easy to set up using a wizard. For e-mail solutions that lack journaling support or SMTP push technology, DataCove DT achieves archiving with support for POP- and IMAP-compatible e-mail systems. DataCove's SMTP listener is capable of accessing intranet as well as WAN and Internet messages. The appliance can generate or obtain certificates for message authentication, and even provide digital signing. Enterprises that support multiple e-mail systems and different e-mail technologies in branch offices can leverage DataCove DT's ability to archive messages from multiple e-mail servers simultaneously. Administrators starting to build an archive can get a head start by importing PST files, as well as live Exchange server message files.

It took me only a few minutes to master the device's user interface, thanks to an effective layout of the management console. The management UI is presented via four tabs: for searching, auditing, configuration and usage tracking. My review unit had several messages already archived, so I was immediately able to test the unit's search capabilities.

DataCove offers some very sophisticated auditing and search capabilities: Administrators will be able to search and filter information by IP address, message description, actions taken on messages and date ranges to build effective audit reports. Additional searches can be performed using phrase matching and Boolean logic, and administrators can also add filters and other flags to speed up searches. 

The unit's search functions rely on date ranges to find messages quicker. However, the 4.81.3 version I tested has a small bug: The date fields are not validated by the search engine before the search takes place-if you accidentally blank out the "before" and "after" search dates, the search will fail with a message saying that the search is not numeric. To bypass the bug, just add today's date with a time stamp on the blank fields, and the search feature will start working again.

Over time, the unit will gather more and more messages, and administrators will need to keep an eye on usage. DataCove makes that easy to do with the system status screen, which displays usage statistics and offers a historical list of system events, as well as a list of currently running processes. A configuration tab lets administrators set up default processes and customize the unit's capabilities. Although the list of options is extensive, I found it easy to navigate through the various choices. For example, it took very little effort to configure the unit to access multiple domains, as well as add journal accounts, define policies and create stubbing rules.

Stubbing, archiving and retention rules are simple to configure and test. Those rules use simple word matching and Boolean logic to collect messages. DataCove provides fields from message properties in the rules that simplify the whole identification process. Novice administrators should not have a problem creating new rules, although figuring out which messages are important to keep takes a little more work.

Messages are encrypted with triple DES to prevent unauthorized access. Administrators can also define roles, which control how power users and junior administrators can access the messages. When auditing, the messages are linked by an encrypted number generated by the appliance. By clicking on the encrypted key, the link opens up the message. DataCove automatically creates a comprehensive audit log, which offers the ability to track global events, as well as user and auditor events. The log also includes searches performed during audits, and this can confuse first-time users. 

DataCove's support plans and warranty offer comprehensive coverage of the device and its included services. Administrators have the option to purchase hard drive protection plans, on-site technical support and warranties that cover just about everything, including accidental damages.

DataCove DT proved to be very easy to install and manage, and most any-level administrators should be able to learn how to use the device in a few minutes. Most businesses will find after running a DataCove DT appliance for just a few days that the device may be the best way for them to handle the thorny issues surrounding e-mail archiving and compliance.

Pricing for DataCove starts at $6,190 for the basic DC500 unit-which can archive messages from 500 e-mail users-and ranges through the DC8000 enterprise-level appliance.


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