By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2005-10-10 Print this article Print

Symantec Corp.s Enterprise Vault is growing up to become more than just an Exchange e-mail archive solution.

Click here to read how a company is using Enterprise Vault.
E-mail archive applications allow IT managers to centralize corporate messaging data, not only for compliance with government and other mandates but also to keep the data within reach of knowledge workers. One of the leaders in the market, Enterprise Vault now allows IT managers to more effectively locate stray data and gives mobile users continuous access to corporate archives.

In addition to Microsoft Corp.s Exchange, Enterprise Vault 6.0 works with Microsofts SharePoint Portal Server 2003, IBMs Lotus Notes and file shares. Version 6.0 also boasts enhanced Offline Vault and .pst (Personal Storage Tables) migration capabilities.

Enterprise Vault 6.0 has a starting price of $3,360. eWEEK Labs recommends running the application on a standard two-processor system with a modest amount of RAM but with plenty of SATA (Serial ATA) storage for the archive. Adding Exchange archiving capabilities costs $11,359, while the PST Migrator costs an extra $3,410. (All prices are for 500 users.)

In the Exchange world, .pst files are archive files that have been migrated from overcrowded e-mail in-boxes. In many Exchange shops, the unruly sprawl of .pst files is a byproduct of e-mail quotas. Many pack-rat users have responded to hard e-mail quotas by saving mail messages as .pst files and storing them on local hard drives or the network. This has been a problem because these files cannot be easily searched by IT management in the event of an audit. Worse, the data is highly susceptible to accidental erasure or corruption.

Using Enterprise Vault 6.0, e-mail effectively becomes quotaless because older messages and large attachments are automatically migrated out of e-mail in-boxes and onto the Enterprise Vault system. This migration is virtually transparent to users: Migrated messages still show up in Outlook; they just have a small icon on them signifying that the message has been archived. When users click on such a message, Enterprise Vault 6.0 serves up the data as if it were on the users e-mail server.

To find and migrate the .pst files already saved to users systems, Enterprise Vault 6.0 provides .pst discovery and migration capabilities. Once these files have been migrated to the archive—either by push (the clients send files to Enterprise Archive) or by pull (Enterprise Archive reels in files from the clients)—they can be protected and indexed for future reference.

To enable client push, eWEEK Labs had to add a plug-in agent to the Outlook client on each user system. Pull-side .pst migration can be performed without agents, but IT managers will need to gain access rights to the .pst files before migrating them to the archive.

During the archive process, Enterprise Vault indexes content (both text and attachments) to make it searchable using add-ons such as Discovery Accelerator, Compliance Accelerator and Archive Explorer. Included with Enterprise Vault 6.0 is AltaVistas search engine, which does a good job of searching through text and common file types.

During tests, it was easy to create retention policies geared for specific groups and types of data. A single MMC (Microsoft Management Console) can be used to create policies that cover file servers, e-mail and SharePoint 2003; the policies can then be applied to various Organizational Units in Active Directory.

The Offline Vault option, which allows mobile users to access archived data cached onto their laptops, has been improved in Enterprise Vault 6.0. For example, IT managers can set multiple policies to control the amount of data that should be held in the cache on a users laptop. Offline Vault costs $403 for up to 100 users.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.


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