The first commercial email archiving product was from Storage Technology. It was launched in 1998, and was short-lived.
Concurrently, Digital Equipment developed an email archiving product, designed to work with MS Exchange; this ultimately became Symantec’s leading Enterprise Vault offering.
Initially, the main motivation for email archiving was mainly to keep Microsoft Exchange mailboxes small: ie, “storage management”. For performance reasons, mailboxes usually had to be kept to 30MB to 100MB (!). An archiving product could remove mail from a user’s message store, while still making the email available in the archive.
By about 2005, the main reasons for archiving had become:
- Regulatory compliance. Formal corporate records were increasingly in email format, and laws and regulations require that such information be preserved for specified periods
- E-Discovery. Legal processes required the ability to quickly retrieve email relevant to a case
- Storage management. To be able to offload rarely-accessed information from a user’s primary message store.