Symantec Enterprise Vault Strength & Weaknesses

Symantec’s Enterprise Vault is the leading archiving product. This page contains information to help people evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

If you have experience with EV, please share your views on it. To do so, please post your response to the following survey questions as a comment. Or, if you want anonymity, send your response to david.ferris@ferris.com: we’ll post your response without identifying you or your organization.

Many thanks–David Ferris

Enterprise Vault Strengths & Weaknesses: Survey

Q1. What do you think are EV’s greatest strengths?

Q2. What do you think are EV’s greatest weaknesses?

Q3. What is your overall satisfaction with EV?

  • Very Dissatisfied
  • Somewhat Dissatisfied
  • Somewhat Satisfied
  • Very Satisfied
  • No Opinion

Q4. How likely are you to continue using or repurchase EV?

  • Definitely Not
  • Probably Not
  • Probably Will
  • Definitely Will
  • No Opinion
  • Not Applicable–we don’t use EV

Q5. Rough # people in your organization/company?

Q6. What is your name (optional), title and what are your job responsibilities?

Q7. What type of business/industry is your organization in?

Q8. Do you have any other comments?

One Comment

  1. dferris
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Some useful anonymous input from a knowledgeable source:

    • There are some requirements for a future version that they definitely should cover at some point, such as doing PDF/A and XML renditions in addition to HTML
    • Also the necessity to get EV to be native 64-Bit ASAP – if you run into EV scalability issues, it is most likely because all those components share <3GB on the server.
  2. dferris
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    Nice list of strengths from a knowledgeable source:

    • Robust, Proven, Mature – 10000 customers, lots of Fortune 500, guaranteeing long-term support more than anything else. Symantec is not telling an equivalent of 20 Million end-users that they EOL this product. In fact they can’t.
    • MMC for whole environment (multi-site, multi-server administration)
    • Redesigned “Vault Cache” Offline Support allows large Laptop deployments
    • Index Management: Archive-level indexes, Index-Volumes/Rollover, Unicode-Support, Performance-Tuning
    • 1st Class Centera Support: Very clever usage of many CentraStar features. Neither EMC nor Symantec like the fact that EV with Centera is a “Dream team”
    • Scales to meet the largest enterprise performance requirements 150.000+ mailboxes
    • Relatively easy to deploy, especially with v8.0 enhancements
    • Very experienced and well organized support organization (finally!!!)
    • Very comprehensive APIs for 3rd party development
    • Excellent documentation and very good online support forums for self-help
    • Redesigned Discovery Accelerator is extremely powerful, while much easier for legal people to understand
    • Should meet or exceed most organisation’s requirements
    • Integrates Exchange, Domino., File- and Sharepoint archiving in a single codebase
    • Very experienced engineering team (from DEC) that has worked 10+ years on EV project
    • Code is said to be very modular, high quality and well documented, which allows sustainable development
    • Possibly the most efficient SIS on the market (with EV 8!)
    • Very good value for money: EV license cost slightly higher, but storage cost are much less than competitive offerings.
    • Low management burden when deployed properly (Tracks moved mailboxes automatically, allows policies based on AD or DL settings, so most administration is done by keeping AD and Exchange tidy)
    • Supports very complex environments with several forrest, sub-domains and complicated trusts.
    • PST Migration options are market leading (Server-driven, Client-driven, scripted, Wizard)
    • Allows full export of all data, unlike some competing products. No vendor lock-in.
    • File Archiving supports Windows, NetApp and EMC Celerra platforms.
    • Strong features for Journaling/Compliance and at the same time very strong for Mailbox management and PST Migration. Most products are only strong in one area.
    • Very evolutionary development process, only few major architecture changes between EV versions. (EV 8 only OSIS as major change, although DA 8 was developed from scratch, as well)
    • Very dependable support for new Microsoft technologies. New MS versions are normally supported within 90 days after official release, at least they intend to deliver against this deadline. (Although sometimes the MS changes are simply too complicated to meet that date in the end)
    • Very experienced PM team that runs customer boars to include customer feedback into the product roadmap. This has been greatly enhanced since v6 in the KVS days. They also don’t drop the ball with competitive analysis. OSIS was necessary to fight competitive offereings and a new indexing engine is likely to cover that competitive thread in the not too distant future
    • Very dependable Service Pack schedule and quick turnaround on hotfixes.
    • You can hardly do anything wrong, if you buy EV – there is no “compelling” other product that is likely to put EV into the dust. It might have certain feature a few months or years earlier, but not the pedigree and the soft factors that have helped EV to stay on top for so many years,
    • Lots of connectors to ECM solutions, as well as allowing to decrypt mails during the journaling process (EV with Connector works better with Documentum than EMC’s own Source One)
    • Long-Term strategy is more important to EV team than fancy new features. The index engine is a good example: Instead of constantly changing the technology for better marketing stories, they stick with Altavista until there is a really, really compelling new option. (Watch this space 😉 ) So no customer had to re-index all the data for the last 10 years. Even EV 1.0 indexes work with EV 8.0 (EAS has changed indexing techology 4-5 times and still works better with AltaVista than IDOL, because the integration of a new Index is anything but trivial and in this case was purely a political decision to switch again as the first thing after the Autonomy acquisition.)
    • You get EV support even in remote locations in Asia and all other parts of the world. There are more people trained on EV than on any other archiving product out there. Symantec trains 1500+ people per year on EV, but only a few dozen have large enterprise know-how.
    • DA works with European requirements regarding privacy protection, e.g. during a legal discovery. Most products tailored towards American requirements (Wallstreet, SEC, NSDA) have no option to enforce a 4-6 eyes workflow.
  3. dferris
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    And input on weaknesses from a knowledgeable source:

    • Very “bulky” product now with so many options. The QA of the whole product takes many weeks, so that innovative new features and product enhancements take very long until finally delivered.
    • Limitation towards multi-site/low-bandwidth deployments (Single-master SQL Directory DB)
    • Scalability for high-end machines (>8 cores) is limited because of 32-bit. 64-Bit would greatly enhance EV performance by utilizing more RAM
    • Basic Indexing Engine Features (No fuzzy search, result clustering, etc.)
    • No support for long-term stable rendition formats such as PDF/A, TIF and XML for certain file-types such as Drawings – Today only HTML & Text
    • Most Symantec partners lack consulting focus and experience for large projects, so one needs to choose deployment partner carefully
    • Outlook add-in has some legacy issues like using DCOM for folder based properties – should be revisited to use more up-to-date technology like .NET Remoting or HTTP calls.
    • Client-driven PST migration lacks enterprise supportability and fails in many environments. Needs much better logging and support from inside the EV admin console. People end up using server driven most of the time
    • NetBackup and TSM/DR550 migration options for storing on 3rd tier are very basic and only suitable for very few projects. (Tape is a really bad choice for Mail Archiving because of Offline Sync and large Discovery requests – imagine 100 new laptops sync 70,000 items each from a tape…)
    • Sharepoint archiving features are very basic. Needs to be dramatically enhanced for Sharepoint 14. (Federated search in EV from Sharepoint, etc)
    • Compliance Accelerator is not integrated with the SSIM products to make it a real “Incident Manager”, including access to archived event logs
    • Symantec is not seen as an Information Management, Content Management Player such as Documentum or Opentext. Might limit EVs ability to extend into a bigger platform supporting SAP, Oracle and other archiving sources natively.
    • Needs “big bang” upgrade for all servers in the directory. Once the first server is upgraded to a new major version, all other servers will shut-down until they are upgraded as well. This is extremely difficult for large international deployments. (I am not aware that any other archiving product does it any better…)
    • Some of the additional development is done in India (Getting Started Wizard, Monitoring) and those components have not the same maturity than the stuff coming from England. (Hope customers give that feedback to Symantec managers !!!)
  4. Posted November 12, 2009 at 6:49 AM | Permalink

    I have deployed Enterprise Vault to about 15 clients over the last 3 years and one of the big plusses I always find from an end users or IT managers perspective is the search capabilities and ability for users to quickly find email or data fast.

    A number of end users have mentioned to me that Journaling is also a very big plus for their organization as when a disgruntled employee leaves they normally delete everything they have in their mailbox making it harder for the person who replaces them.

    Reconnecting the new employee to an exist vault archive is a breeze and anything that hasnt yet been archived can be quickly retrieved from journal archive.

    One of the downside of enterprise vault I have found is that indexes seem to get corrupt every now and again however it doesn’t alert the person who is searching. So you can be searching and retrieve 10 items. But when you rebuild that persons index you then return 50 items. I’m not sure if this has been rectified in the latest version but it certainly was evident in 7.0 and 7.5.

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