whats the best email archiving option

It’s no secret that because of the legal requirement to be able to retrieve information, in many cases for up to 7 years, email archiving is now a necessity for almost all businesses.

The problem with this is storage – it’s expensive, and because email grows exponentially, businesses always need more of it.

Organisations are tackling the issue by buying more storage (EMC and Netapp reported a year on year growth in storage sales of 33% and 41% respectively), but their IT budgets aren’t going up. In fact, they remained nearly flat during the same period.

Organisations of all sizes are struggling to address:

  • an unprecedented growth in unstructured data
  • the pressure to retain an ever-increasing share of that data
  • the diminishing benefit of traditional storage products

With that in mind, what’s the best email archiving option for your business? Let’s take a closer look at the 3 models you can choose from; on-premise, hosted, and cloud-based archiving.

Option 1: On-premise Archiving

This is the traditional way to archive your emails, and is the most popular model for early adopters (particularly large financial services and customers in the early 2000’s).

Under this model:

  • the archive is completely located within your business’ data centre
  • your business is responsible for the installation, configuration and operation of the archiving system, and its underlying infrastructure
  • the archiving sofware is installed on one or more servers (either as dedicated hosts or virtual machines)

In a nutshell, your business would be in charge of its own computing needs, including procuring the infrastructure to accommodate those needs periodically. This is probably the reason why on-site archiving has dwindled in popularity in recent years; it’s extremely complex and costly to facilitate!

On-site archiving requires a significant up-front capital investment in hardware, software, ongoing operations and support. For that reason, resource-constrained businesses are instead turning to archiving services that are operated by third parties.

Option 2: Hosted Archiving

This is one of the two options you have if you wish to outsource your archiving to a third party.

Under this model:

  • archiving systems are housed within the archiving vendor’s data centre
  • you aren’t required to install, configure, or maintain the archiving system or its underlying infrastructure
  • you get to focus on activities related to the archiving process and functionality
  • the only thing you have to worry about is capacity management to the extent that it impacts pricing (vendor fees can vary based on the amount of data you store in the archive)

Vendors benefit from economies of scale in procurement and operations, given that they’re serving hundreds or thousands of customers using one infrastructure process (a single data centre, usually). However, they struggle with the same issues related to capacity management, service availability and large capital expenses that customers with on-premise systems have.

Option 3: Cloud-based Archiving

Some vendors (like SAVE IT) choose to build applications which operate on top of cloud infrastructure from third parties (eg. Amazon or Rackspace) rather than operating their own infrastructure.

Under this model:

  • both you and the archiving vendor don’t operate the physical infrastructure directly
  • the archiving vendor builds and maintains the archiving system that’s operated on top of the cloud infrastructure (in other words, the software layer)
  • you focus exclusvely on the archiving process and functionality (ie. defining retention policies, searching for specific content, and exporting data for discovery)

That way, everyone gets to focus on what they’re good at; the infrastructure vendor operates data centres, the archiving service provider develops archiving software, and you run your business. It also helps that the cloud vendor procures and operates the infrastructure at a tremendous scale, allowing them to offer the lowest prices in the market.

This is probably the reason why more and more people are going with this option; it’s not as complicated or expensive as an on-premise solution.

If you would like to learn more about your email archiving options, please download the full report: