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Enterprise Vault 12 – It’s Not Just for Storage Anymore

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To start this post, I feel that I should wish Enterprise Vault (EV) a Happy 20th Birthday. A lot of things were different in the world in 1997. Gas was slightly over $1 a gallon, The Spice Girls were at the top of the music charts, I had a lot fewer gray hairs and my suits were a few sizes smaller.

And things have changed with EV in the last twenty years too. Some people look at EV as a storage savings tool. When I first started working with EV, archiving served two main purposes;

  1. Storage Savings – By archiving email out of Exchange, the storage required for email would be greatly reduced, allowing you to keep your archived data on cheaper storage and off of the fast, sometimes expensive clustered Exchange storage. When EV introduced Optimized Single Instance Storage it allowed for massive space savings in the area where the archived data was stored.
  2. Server efficiency – By reducing the amount of data in the Exchange data repositories, your servers could run more efficiently by allowing email teams to run their Exchange environments with lower system resources or by reducing the footprint required by the Exchange architecture.

Over the years, EV introduced other archiving targets such as other email environments (Domino) and even strayed beyond email by introducing archiving capabilities for File Systems and SharePoint.

Through its lifecycle, EV has always been a target-based archiving solution. You would point EV at a target (Mailbox, File Share, SharePoint Site) and set a policy to archiving items based on age or on the size of the target. You were given some flexibility but at the end of the day, you were treating all data the same. In email, you were saving important communication regarding a new product trademark with the same policy as an email announcing that there were donuts in the breakroom.

Times change, and so does IT. Most would argue that IT changes at a much faster pace. Because of this we have seen the use cases for traditional archiving (for storage savings) go away.  Disk is cheap, long-term cloud repositories are attractive, email systems can run efficiently with multiple-GB mailboxes with inexpensive JBOD architectures.

EV lives to see a new day. This is due to EV changing with the market and focusing on Intelligent Data Management at its core and offering more than just target-based archiving. This allows EV to be seen as an enterprise data management repository with an intelligent policy-driven classification engine at its core.

By introducing classification into the archiving architecture, we can now move away from the “treat all data the same” target-based archiving and move forward with a true content-based archiving initiative.

Analyzing the content of emails and files allows us to automate the storage, retention, and defensible deletion of data that truly matches our corporate policies without relying on error-prone efforts like user-driven classification.

As an example, in our email scenario comparing the trademark information with the donuts in the breakroom announcement, we can automatically delete the donut announcement while automatically setting retention on the trademark email for the appropriate time that matches your corporate policy.

Expanding the classification functions to the archiving of file systems and SharePoint gives us the ability to centrally manage the classification policies and tags and apply it to many different data sources. Now, any environment that is targeted by EV can be managed from one central location, whether that be the classification and tag settings or the retention settings.  

There are other benefits as well however. By centralizing your data management around EV, you can achieve federated single instance storage across all of your data platforms that are targeted by EV. For example; A company sends out a new organization chart to 5,000 employees via email. 400 of those employees save the email in their home directory and 35 different department leaders save the organization chart in their department team page in SharePoint. By having EV target these data sources, those 5,435 copies are reduced to one copy. An added benefit comes when performing eDiscovery against all of these data sources. By having EV as the data management platform, your eDiscovery searches are much more efficient by reducing the number of targets to search and also by reducing the number of “hits” that are returned.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not just about space savings anymore. Think about how you manage risk, discovery, compliance, retention and defensible deletion across all those different data sources today. EV can help you manage all of this in a centralized, intelligent data management platform with automated content classification, retention and defensible deletion. All while still giving you the legacy benefit of storage reduction.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Enterprise Vault 12 head over to this page.