Commentary
9/13/2005
12:29 PM
Mitch Irsfeld
Mitch Irsfeld
Commentary

Much Ado About Archiving

Can the message archiving market really be that hot? If the volume of new products and services geared to the practice, and the amount of new research devoted to the topic, is any indication, then my completely unscientific and seat-of-the-pants analysis is . . . yes.



Can the message archiving market really be that hot? If the volume of new products and services geared to the practice, and the amount of new research devoted to the topic, is any indication, then my completely unscientific and seat-of-the-pants analysis is . . . yes.

The bigger question is why archiving continues to be a so hot, especially after companies ought to have been archiving messages for some time now to stay compliant with a host of records retention requirements. And there are several answers to that question, each of which can apply in some measure to any user installation.Can the message archiving market really be that hot? If the volume of new products and services geared to the practice, and the amount of new research devoted to the topic, is any indication, then my completely unscientific and seat-of-the-pants analysis is . . . yes.

The bigger question is why archiving continues to be a so hot, especially after companies ought to have been archiving messages for some time now to stay compliant with a host of records retention requirements. And there are several answers to that question, each of which can apply in some measure to any user installation.

The first reason is that many companies initially met the letter of the law with regards to retention without a true automated archiving capability, but have since revisited that strategy. In fact, some companies are so squeamish about archiving that they went back to the old paper trail. That's good for manufacturers of photocopiers and scanners but I'm not sure the hard copy approach is keeping compliance costs down.

The second reason is that the messaging infrastructure at many organizations has been in a state of flux, even chaotic with respect to instant messaging, and IT managers needed to get a handle on their messaging technology first, or end up with diverse archiving initiatives for diverse messaging environments.

A third reason why message archiving is so hot, is that the vendors are now on second and even third releases of their products. The entire industry (vendors, users, consultants, everyone) had knee-jerk reactions when it was discovered that business-related messaging was a form of business records. Vendors attacked the opportunity from their respective positions of strength and expertise. But everyone had a lot to learn and new requirements continue to emerge. And a message archive brings with it its own issues of security and privacy. For instance, the auditing and search for e-mail records can't be performed at the expense of employee privacy. That's the reason the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) recently selected Mimosa NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server for unified e-mail data management

I could go on, but you're beginning to get the picture. I will point out, however, that another big reason for all the recent activity is that market quickly realized that messages needn't and probably shouldn't be managed in a vacuum. So in order to offer unified and integrated content management, the message archiving players have started to work deals to integrate their technologies with document/content management platforms, storage management environments, information lifecyle management (ILM), and compliance management frameworks. In fact archiving for compliance is one of the key reasons why ILM is making a comeback.

And then to make it easier for small- to mid-sized businesses to deploy message archiving, some vendors have implemented it in plug-and-play hardware devices. Intradyn's new ComplianceVault06 Email Archiving & Retrieval Appliance is one example of such integration.

Hewlett-Packard is another vendor that has recently bundled data protection and archiving software with its storage devices. And HP recently took the wraps off its new HP Electronic Vaulting Services, which allow customers to compress and move data in encrypted format to one of 70 HP Recovery Centers around the world.

And some vendors are going back and covering all their messaging basis. Postini initially provided e-mail management as part of its hosted service offering, but with its new Integrated Message Management suite, Postini has added instant message management and archiving.

If your into the nuts-n-bolts of how to build an encrypted (but accessible) archive, then check out the Storage Pipeline feature by Kelly Jackson Higgins

And finally, archiving was just one of the market opportunities identified by the Radicati Group in its recent report on the IM market. Expect to see more efforts to integrate IM with other parts of the enterprise IT infrastructure, and when that happens, expect a host of new compliance needs.Can the message archiving market really be that hot? If the volume of new products and services geared to the practice, and the amount of new research devoted to the topic, is any indication, then my completely unscientific and seat-of-the-pants analysis is . . . yes.

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