I have been working as a technical consultant and have worked on many mailing solutions mainly Microsoft Exchange and IBM Domino Server mainly referred to as Lotus. Most of these organizations are pretty happy with the features given by these mailing products but they remain concerned about the growing size of the storage associated with the mailboxes of hundreds of users and of course the daily backup of these mailboxes. The only solution they can think of is buying additional storage but then to what extent? This has always been a growing problem in most of the organizations.
We have been rendering our consultancy service to one of a large Organization, with about 1200 users. They used Microsoft Exchange as their mailing solutions. They had deployed Microsoft Exchange in a distributed architecture and were storing all the data and mailboxes onto a NetApp Storage. Initially they had assigned 500 MB quota to most of the users while assigning 2 GB quota to the Management group. In the first 6 months of the exchange deployment, most of the things were working fine. But then they started to get the complaints from the users and the administrators. Most of the common problems that the users were facing were
1. The given quota was not sufficient for storing the mails even for a period of 2 months
2. The message size restrictions were becoming a huge issue.
3. Desktop users were finding it very difficult to manage the archived pst files.
4. Since the archive files were not stored in a single repository, many a times the users were not able to get the access of the archived information and check the archived emails.
5. Two of the users had lost their mails by accident and they were not able to retrieve them and the backup admin was finding it difficult to retrieve their emails and mailboxes.
The admin’s in turn were facing much complicated issues. The most common were
1. They were finding it difficult to size the storage and quota of the mail box as the users randomly took the management approval to increase the mailboxes.
2. The data was becoming completely unstructured as the users used to archive in different systems.
3. They were finding it difficult to search an old email, which the management required for quality and other purposes.
4. They had to randomly add Storage Lun’s to fulfil the needs of the management and the users.
5. Backup windows were becoming long and restoration of lost emails was becoming more and more difficult with the increase in the backup size.
6. Most of the time the helpdesk personals were busy helping the users create and manage their mail archive
The Management were too facing some difficulties some of which were
1. Increase in the storage cost
2. Daily complaints from the users and pressure from the Top Management
3. Email Retention period was becoming a real concern as they required to retain the email for about 3 years for the compliance purpose.
4. They were not able to meet the compliance part due to the unstructured data.
Also, they wanted email archival to be stored in a single repository and accessing them through web was in their wish list.
I actually came across these pain points when meeting with the customer for an Exchange related issue. And due to our very good relations with the customer, he was seeking help on the same. I had actually come across these sorts of problems in a different organization and I knew what exactly the Customer required. The customer was also open for any solutions given that a proper ROI would be established and their pain points were resolved.
To start with, I convinced the customer that Symantec Enterprise Vault would be the perfect solution. I did various presentations to him explaining all the features. The Customer was quite impressed with the presentation and gave us a chance to do a demo and implement it the organization.
One month later, everything was changed and the change was good. What happened was interesting and useful. This time the environment was completely different. Some of the interesting changes were
1. Administrators were able to created policies to automatically archive mailboxes of all the users. These mailboxes with all the data and attachments were archived into the Seconday storage defined in the Enterprise vault. These allowed the admin’s to restrict the mailbox quota on the exchange servers while the enterprise vault provided them with virtually unlimited quota. They had the option to archive these mailboxes into a defined secondary and tertiary storage while letting Microsoft Exchange handle the mailbox quota onto the primary storage. The helpdesk engineers saved most of their time of helping users with archiving their mailboxes as Enterprise vault automated the functionality for them. So now the new information was handled by the exchange server and all the old information were handled by Enterprise vault. The software provided the users with shortcuts to easy view and retrieve this information through Microsoft Outlook. All these functions were very transparent to the users and completely controlled by the policies defined on the Enterprise Vault
2. Retention of the mails was never a problem again. They were able to retain the emails for the much longer time that they required to meet the compliance. Also, retrieving any email at any given time became possible through Enterprise Vault. Searching a mail became very easy through extended Web based search functions.
3. Enterprise Vault helped the organization for a complete email lifecycle management right from the creation of the messages to the storage and then to the deletion.
4. Even the top management people who used Blackberry devices for their email management were able to tightly integrate their systems with Enterprise vault. Now through this integration, they were able to extend their search capabilities to the archived contents through their Mobile Web Browsers.
5. One of the points that the management were very happy was the enhanced ability of the Enterprise vault to store just one copy of the attachment or the message even though they were multiple instances of the message or even if the messages were sent to multiple mailboxes. In this organization, there were number of internal mailers that were being sent to all the users in the organization every week like security mailers by the Security team. These mails contained attachment and were being sent to all the users. Due to this enhanced feature of Enterprise vault such messages were stored only once saving the storage by 1/1000 times of the actual space required.
6. All the features were deployed seamlessly without any change in the endpoint configuration.
7. The best part belonged to the Messaging Administrators as it made the task very easy for them. Above all, the installation, configuration and management were very simplistic. Most of the configurations were done using the ready wizards. Most of the best practices were presented on the Dashboard to make sure that the deployment was done using the Industry based Best practices.
8. The most complicated process of getting all the chunk of data structured became a pretty easy task for the administrators. Now all the archived information’s were stored in a single repository completely controlled by the Enterprise vault.
9. Overall, due to the above features, the organization was able to recover at least 25% of the primary storage in one month, which really was a boon to the management.
10. Not the least, Enterprise vault was integrated with the Windows Desktop Search, which help the users find the information pretty easily from a single location.
The Management were very impressed with the features that the software provided with an amazed view on its simplicity. The Enterprise vault not only gave the users a great experience but just became a dream software to the administrators who were able to save lot of time on the messaging and the storage management. Above all it was able to save and retrieve a lot of storage space.
Could the organization expect any more from a software? Symantec has developed a great software from its efforts, expertise and experience in this industry. This software has really paid off and have become a dream software for many organizations deploying it.
Enterprise Vault was the first Symantec product to be deployed in this organization and they really started trusting Symantec and floated a lot of enquires and request on other categories of Symantec product. All the way Symantec was very helpful in getting the deal go through. Symantec really helped us by giving the best prices, the support that any organization would wish of and the motivation factor that we required.
After the sign off, I fixed up a meeting with the customer just to have a feedback of the product and the deployment and also check out other Customer requirements. The Smile of the Customer said it all and he praised a lot for all our efforts and above all for Symantec who has developed a very useful Enterprise Product. Just after the meeting when I was about to leave the place, the customer gave the best words to round off his great experience. These were his words “And one more thing, if you can ask Symantec to change the name of the product to SYMANTEC EXCEPTIONAL VAULT”