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UK University Deploys E-Mail Archiving System, Eliminates Quotas

Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom is deploying Mimosa Systems' NearPoint for archiving e-mail held in its Microsoft Exchange mail system, which has been in use there for a decade. The university, which has 28,500 students and 3,000 staff, will use NearPoint to capture all Exchange data and files for storage optimization, recovery, and compliance.

The current e-mail store, which is about 1.5 TB, is currently replicated in real time between storage systems and backed up to tape nightly. In order to limit the mail-store size, the university has imposed quotas; but in a message to users on its Web site, the university explained that the introduction of an e-mail archiving system will remove those quota constraints and "alleviate the current operational difficulties."

"Implementing NearPoint will reduce the data held on Exchange by 75 percent and also facilitate our planned migration to Exchange 2007," said Kevin Walsh, technical director. "We will be able to move our storage onto lower cost options and dramatically reduce our back times." The university had imposed mailbox quotas on users to maintain a "stable Exchange environment," Walsh added, "which was extremely restrictive for our users. As 80 percent of e-mail is over 30 days old and referenced infrequently, we wanted to be able to move it onto less expensive storage, but still enable our users to access it quickly and easily, on-demand."

The IT department also said it hopes to reduce back-up times and cut out the need for tape backup.

NearPoint uses a process called "Continuous Application Shadowing" to capture e-mail content, including attachments, e-mail stored offline in PST files, and all e-mail content found in public folders. The Exchange administrator can perform database and mailbox recoveries using the NearPoint administrator console, while individual message restores can be carried out by any user through the familiar Outlook interface.

"When disaster strikes, one click is all it takes to initiate a complete Exchange failover," said Walsh. "The disaster recovery capability is a massive bonus and is easy to deploy, as it comes as one of the standard product options."

The new implementation, which is expected to be in place by spring 2010, will also allow the university to search across groups of mailboxes for discovery purposes in response, for example, to Freedom of Information requests; designate specific mailboxes and public folders as being "subject to compliance" to prevent content being deleted or tampered with--as may be required for regulatory purposes; and will automatically apply document retention policies.

Once the e-mail archiving system is complete, the university said it may begin using NearPoint for SharePoint archiving, "depending on the uptake of SharePoint usage."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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