Opening an Exchange/Outlook email which has been archived by Enterprise Vault might to some people seem like the simplest of things to do in the entire universe, with Enterprise Vault. There are a number of different things at play though, so in this article I will describe several ways that archived items can be opened, and what might be 'different' in each situation/case.
- Double click
This is the classic way to open an archived item, provided of course the archived item in the mailbox got replaced by a shortcut. With the introduction and adoption of things like Virtual Vault it is now not 110% of the time that shortcuts get created. Needless to say double clicking on a shortcut in Outlook is quite likely to be the most natural way that people open archived items.
It's not the only way that you can double click on an item though - you can do this in OWA, Windows Explorer (via searching with Windows Search), Office 2011 for Mac, and more! Double click is almost everywhere because of the different extensions, or add-ins, that Enterprise Vault provides. These add-ins and extensions intercept or enhance the functionality, and, in most cases, handle the retrieval of the 'full' item based on information in the shortcut.
- Forward an archived item
If you click on a shortcut, and then click on 'Forward', the Enterprise Vault Outlook Add-in will retrieve the item, and put it in the message that is being forwarded. This is important because you may be forwarding the mail to someone who is inside your organisation, but not an Enterprise Vault user, or someome outside your organisation.
Like the 'double click' description above, it is also possible to invoke this type of opening of an item from other applications other than Outlook - again all made possible by add-ins and extensions which come with Enterprise Vault?
- Search and open
The Enterprise Vault Outlook Add-in has an 'integrated' search feature which lets end users search archived items. The result list is just a snippet of the email, and when you've located the one that you think you want to see more of, you will single click the link, and the full item will be retrieved and displayed. This, I would call, is 'Search and open'. It's quite common if you're looking for something that is old, and archived. For example if you know that everything over 6 months old is archived, then searching for something is the best way to try to find it - and it doesn't rely on the shortcut being in the mailbox, because the search takes place against the archive, on the server, with the result list returned to the end-user.
- Browser Search and open
Some end-users prefer to use Browser Search, perhaps because it has more powerful searching and filtering possibilities. Just like the 'integrated' search I mentioned just now when you look at the list of results, you have the option to click one of them and see them, and there is a 'view original item' link which will open the full original item for you.
- Archive Explorer and open
Another way that people open an archived item is to use Archive Explorer. This is an inbox/mailbox type interface in to your archived items, and, when you double click on an item in Archive Explorer it will be retrieved for the end-user. There are also options relating to the right clicking of an item, and being able to move or copy an item to a folder in the mailbox - this will also cause a retrieval.
- Virtual Vault
Virtual Vault is used by many people, and depending on the policy settings, opening an item from inside Virtual Vault will result in the item being retrieved and displayed to the user. If the item is already in the content cache, ie vault cache, then the item will be retrieved from vault cache, ie local disk, rather than downloading the item from the Enterprise Vault server.
- Vault Cache
Very similar to the above description is opening an item from Vault Cache. This doesn't have to be from inside Outlook though, it can be from the 'start' menu in Windows 7 for example.
What happens with regards to Vault Cache and Virtual Vault comes about from various policy settings, which I won't get into in this article. Needless to say you'll either have 'all' the archived content, or none, or storing-opened-items. This last one is quite interesting. What it means is that initially nothing is stored locally, there is only the MDC file (the virtual vault, aka metadata cache). When an item is retrieved, it is stored locally, not thrown away. This means that if the same item is retrieved again, via another double click, even several days/weeks later, the item will then come from vault cache, rather than from the Enterprise Vault server. It's an interesting policy to consider.
As you can see opening an archived email can take many many different forms. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way in my mind, but users may or may not know about the different possibilities. In fact, you might find that users don't know about many of these different options -- perhaps you can help educate them by having training sessions highlighting some of these possibilities? These different ways of opening archived items are made possible by various 'extensions' to Enterprise Vault; either the Enterprise Vault Outlook Add-in, the OWA Add-in, Mac Add-in, and so on. If you don't have all these installed and configured then some of these options aren't going to be available to your end-users.
Have you encountered an odd twist in the listed items? Have I missed any out? Let me know in the comments below...