The Storage Impact of Email Archiving

What are the storage consequences of email archiving?

Email servers send and receive hundreds of emails per day per user. Using an average size of 100KB, a single user can easily generate tens-of-megabytes of new data daily. Even a small organization faces a total email load of hundreds-of-megabytes per day. Larger ones face gigabytes per day. There is thus no such thing as a "small" email archiving solution.

Most email archiving products have difficulty with the quantity and volume of emails they must handle. As a result, storage is worth considering carefully during evaluations. Some pertinent issues are:

  • How much storage is required for a typical user per month?
  • How much storage is required to archive PST files?
  • How is the data stored? On the file system in managed folders or in a database?
  • Is the archive data de-duplicated?
  • Is the archive data compressed?
  • Is the archive solution supported on a virtual server? Note that archiving is disk I/O intensive, and often VM doesn't work well.
  • What storage hardware does the solution support? DAS? SAN? iSCSI? NAS?
  • What happens when I run out of storage? Can more be added with minimal interruption?
  • How is the archive data protected? Daily tape backup? Can it replicated for DR?
  • ... Bob Spurzem

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