Microsoft is hooking up with IBM for the first time to help large companies handle an increasingly worrisome problem: e-mail archiving for e-discovery, legal and audit reasons.
Starting Oct. 19, Microsoft and its channel partners are to begin recommending a new IBM e-mail archiving product to enterprise customers through an extensive business partner program that will be based on hardware, software and services.
The package includes Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 software and a slew of IBM server and storage hardware, software and services. The IBM and Microsoft software is pre-loaded and pre-tested as part of the package delivery.
The IBM e-mail archiving and storage product will be available through IBM Business Partners and is designed to enable companies to retain e-mail for corporate governance and legal discovery purposes.
It is also designed to address immediate and future challenges with growing e-mail systems, improve performance and optimize storage investments, reduce backup/restore times, and allow for faster server consolidation and upgrades.
The IBM/Microsoft package incorporates tiered archiving storage capability for attached tape storage, supporting lower costs and provides options for data encryption capabilities for added security.
This represents the first storage development partnership between Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., and IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., IBM technology strategist Gordon Arnold told eWEEK.
"Weve been doing some interoperational testing this year [with Microsoft], and were cooperating in areas that we feel are win-win situations for our customers," Arnold said.
Arnold said that Microsoft was one of the few companies with a large enough market presence to make this kind of collaboration work.
IDC, in Framingham, Mass., recently estimated that the volume of corporate e-mail has increased more than threefold in recent years, up from 9.7 billion in 2000 to more than 35 billion in 2005, with the e-mail archiving market revenue reaching $318 million worldwide in 2005—up 59 percent from the previous year.
This exponential growth in e-mail archiving represents a surge that IDC forecasts will reach $471 million in 2006 and continue to grow to $1 billion in 2010.
With digital e-mail imaging and instant messaging on the rise, along with more archiving and compliance regulations, corporations are seeking cost-effective archiving methodology to prevent their corporate storage systems from drowning in e-mail.
"The IBM e-mail archive and integrated storage solution presents a best-of-breed, end-to-end offering that will help customers manage their information on demand needs," said Kristie Bell, vice president, IBM System Storage.