A White Paper. Archiving Implementation. Five Costly Mistakes to Avoid. By Bob Spurzem. May Mimosa Systems, Inc.

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1 A White Paper By Bob Spurzem Mimosa Systems, Inc. May Archiving Implementation Five Costly Mistakes to Avoid INFORMATION IMMEDIACY, DISCOVERY & CONTINUITY

2 CONTENTS Introduction Server Provisioning Infrastructure Provisioning Storage Provisioning Professional Services Support Services...12 Conclusion...13 INFORMATION IMMEDIACY, DISCOVERY & CONTINUITY

3 has become an important source of information in a lawsuit As a result a well managed archiving system is vital to an organization s ability to mitigate legal risks from a lawsuit. Introduction Archiving for Microsoft Exchange is an essential new messaging application for driving down the cost of managing messages for corporate governance, litigation support, and regulatory compliance. Across many industries, organizations are facing difficult and costly demands to search and retrieve records while at the same time improving service to end users. Early adopters of archiving, most notably from the financial services industry, were forced by regulatory pressure to adopt archive solutions rather quickly and without the benefit of having any prior experience. What these early adopters found was that archiving can be a very expensive application to deploy and manage if certain steps are not taken. The good news is that with several years of hindsight, it is now possible to draw upon this experience and avoid costly installation mistakes. This white paper will describe five key areas of archiving implementation, drawing upon real world examples and experiences, to explore all the important issues that can impact total cost. In each situation, alternatives will be presented that if adopted can help reduce installation and maintenance costs. Michael Osterman Osterman Consulting 3

4 1. Server Provisioning First, let s examine the server provisioning costs associated with archiving. Depending on the particular archiving solution, and the size of the implementation the total server costs can vary dramatically. To simplify the discussion, let s begin with a simple single message (Exchange) server implementation. To provision archiving, minimally one dedicated server is required. As a rule of thumb, this server would be provisioned similar to the messaging server. For Microsoft Exchange a dual CPU server with 4GB of memory is typical. Depending on the archiving solution, additional servers are required for the data capture, indexing, database (Microsoft SQL), web search and storage management. Shown in figure one is a typical archiving solutions and all of its server components for a typical installation. In the case of Microsoft Exchange, a typical server can support 1,500 mailboxes. For a medium size organization with 5,000 employees, service is provided by 2-3 Exchange Servers co-located in the same data center. For a large multi-national organization with tens of thousands of employees, dozens of messaging servers are running in multiple data centers. archiving solutions are located in the same data center as the messaging server and can support a range of mailboxes numbers, typically 1,000 to 2,000 mailboxes per archive server. These figures vary widely by archiving solutions, but they reveal how complex the server installation. When considering an archiving solution, pay particular attention to the number of servers required in a basic implementation. Determine how many dedicated servers are required for the archiving, indexing, database, storage management and web searches. Determine how many mailboxes the archiving solution can support. If multiple archive solutions are required, this will create management challenges and inefficient archive storage. Finally, determine how the archive solution is licensed. Is it licensed by mailbox and server, or just by mailbox? Solutions that charge additionally for number of servers will be more costly up front and down the road when your environment grows. 4

5 Figure 1: Sample Archiving Installation When considering an archiving solution, pay particular attention to the number of servers required in a basic implementation. 5

6 2. Infrastructure Provisioning Next, let s look at the archiving data capture methods that can impact your existing Exchange environment. Depending on the size of your environment, these data capture methods can dramatically impact the cost of the archiving installation. For single Exchange server installation, the impact is much smaller than compared to a large multinational installation with dozens of Exchange servers. Data capture is a fundamental process of archiving and is the process which the archive solution uses to gather data from the Mail server(s). archive applications vary by the method of data capture they deploy and there are three popular methods. The first method of data capture is configured to capture data from the SMTP Gateway. Using specialty software installed on the existing Gateway, copies of all being sent and received are copied to the archive server. To capture that is sent within the Mail Server (e.g. Exchange, Notes, etc.) and does not normally touch the gateway, the Mail Server is configured to relay all to the gateway. The SMTP capture method performs well and reliably captures all for archival purposes. The disadvantages of SMTP capture are two fold. First of all, it requires software to be installed on the gateway. This software competes for gateway resources (CPU and memory) and reduces the overall performance of the gateway. Second, this software increase risk of disrupting gateway operation should a software error occur. The Mail Server performance is also impacted by the SMTP capture method because it must relay all traffic to the gateway (if so configured), causing an increase in server workload. The second method of data capture uses the API that Outlook uses to communicate with Exchange Server, called MAPI. MAPI is unique to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook and is only used when supporting Exchange Server. By behaving as an Outlook client, the archive application can communicate directly with Exchange making requests to read, write, or delete mailbox information. Archiving applications routinely use MAPI to capture messages using basic policies of age and size. MAPI is used every time the archive applications needs to update its archive, scan the message database, or make any changes to the message database. The important issue with MAPI is the performance impact it causes on Exchange Server. To illustrate this problem, recall the performance impact of brick-level backups. If you do not recall, brick-level backups were first introduced by all the leading backup vendors in the late 1990s to deliver mailbox and message level Exchange recovery. The issue that brick-level backups raised was the amount of time they took to run and the resulting impact they had on Exchange Server performance. 6

7 Due to the performance hit caused by brick-level backups, their use quickly declined. The use of MAPI by archiving applications raises the same performance concerns. Archiving administrators have to schedule the MAPI-driven archiving jobs at night and on weekends to minimize the performance impact on users. A new term called the archive window has joined the administrators vocabulary as a result. The third popular method of data capture relies on a feature of Exchange Server called journaling. Journaling is configured per Mailbox Store (a Mailbox Store is the Exchange database and contains mailboxes) and keeps a copy of all incoming and outgoing . The is stored in a tamper-proof journal mailbox and is preserved until an archiving application empties its contents. For organizations that require archiving for compliance and litigation support, journaling is required. Without journaling, it would be impossible to capture 100% of all using MAPI. The disadvantage of journaling is two-fold. First of all, journaling effectively doubles the amount of traffic for each Exchange Server it is enabled on. To compensate for this increased workload, the number of mailboxes must be decreased, or the server resources (CPU, memory, storage) must be increased or dedicated Exchange journaling servers be installed. Either way, when journaling is enabled the existing messaging infrastructure must be re-architected. The issue that bricklevel backups raised was the amount of time they took to run and the resulting impact they had on Exchange Server performance. Figure 2: Example of Journaling for a Single Mailbox 7

8 A new method of data capture was introduced by Mimosa Systems, Inc. to address the challenges and solve the problems created by SMTP, MAPI and journaling data capture methods. The second disadvantage of journaling is incomplete data capture. Journaling does not capture the entire mailbox history. Examples are message moved to folders, personal calendar items, personal contacts, and message deletions that are all missed by journaling. For matters of legal discovery, this detailed mailbox information is necessary to determine the best legal strategy. Often, administrators have to mount and restore old backup tapes to have access to complete mailbox information for legal discovery. A legal discovery that involves having to search through hundreds or thousands of backup tapes will takes weeks and months and cost millions of dollars if attempted. It is a failure of the archiving application when its archive contents prove to be incomplete for legal discovery. A new method of data capture was introduced by Mimosa Systems, Inc. to address the challenges and solve the problems created by SMTP, MAPI, and journaling data capture methods. Called Application Shadowing, this data capture method relies on Exchange Transaction Log Files to capture complete Exchange mailbox information in real-time with no impact on the Exchange Server. Transaction Log files are small 5MB files that Exchange Server creates for disaster recovery. They contain all new additions and deletions to the Exchange database(s). Application Shadowing reads and copies each new log file to the archive server where it is indexed, singleinstanced and added to the archive repository. Application Shadowing has two major advantages over the other traditional data capture methods. First of all, it operates as an Exchange backup process and does not sit in the flow like the other methods. In this manner, it does not compete with Exchange resources, nor does it impede service performance in any way. Secondly, Application Shadowing captures 100% of the Exchange mailbox information including all content, folder movements, deletions, and all message items such as calendars, contacts, notes, tasks, etc. It provides a 100% complete record of mailbox information without requiring journaling. Application Shadowing meets the most stringent regulatory requirements and provide the richest repository of historical records for legal discovery, avoiding the need to manually search backup tapes. 8

9 3. Storage Provisioning Storage provisioning goes hand in hand with server provisioning and is an important consideration with implementing archiving. Here again, archiving solutions vary by implementation and the amount of storage they require. For a basic archiving implementation, the storage requirements must allow for the entire message server storage capacity and for data added to the archive from offline storage such as.pst files. Take Microsoft Exchange for example. The key question with provisioning Exchange storage is whether or not mailbox quotas are in place. If no quotas are used, then it is likely that all the data is stored on the Exchange Server. If quotas are used, then it is likely that users have been storing offline in.pst files and the amount of it contains can be GB s of data per file. For most archiving solutions, duplicate messages and attachments are eliminated. This de-duping is valuable for reducing the total archive storage capacity. The reason for the duplication is that Microsoft Exchange, for example, can only maintain single instance within a single Mailbox Store. A message sent to users in different Stores and on different servers will cause duplication. If the attachment being duplicated is a 2MB PowerPoint file, then the amount of storage consumed on Exchange is considerable. It is a benefit that the archive only keeps one copy of each message or attachment, thereby avoiding this costly storage penalty. Archiving solutions minimally have one indexed repository that constitutes the archive. Microsoft SQL database is the most popular database application, however some archiving solutions also support Oracle database. A limited number of archiving solutions require multiple indexed repositories. The multiple repositories are for the basic archive, the compliance archive and the search repository. The basic archive repository works with MAPI to manage a subset of data that fits a certain policy for age and size. The compliance archive works with journaling to manage a complete set of data for certain mailboxes for legal discovery and compliance. The search repository contains data in HTML format for search and discovery. Be careful to determine for the archiving solution you are considering, the number of indexed repositories it requires. 9

10 For planning archive storage capacity audit your existing environment to determine the total storage capacity, including offline.pst files. This total capacity combined with growth estimates and retention policy (years) will provide you with a reliable estimate of the total required archive capacity. Keep in mind, single instance storage in the archive will improve storage efficiency, so these basic formulas will error on the high side. Storage Capacity Example: The growth of production Exchange data is projected to be 50% per year based on conservative industry statistics. Take the aggregate sizes of current EDBs, STMs, and Logs, E, and the total offline capacity, P and scale them for every year of capacity planning as follows: Archive Volume Size: o o Storage capacity for one year = S(1) = (1.5*E ) + P Storage capacity for n years = S(n) = (n*1.5*e) + P 10

11 When comparing the costs of competitive archiving solutions, look carefully at the professional services and training line item. 4. Professional Services Implementation of any IT application requires professional assistance from the software vendor or one of its authorized dealers. Depending on the archiving solution the amount of assistance can vary from having good documentation and good phone support to multiple weeks of onsite assistance for the same basic archiving implementation. The reason for this wide variance is the design of the archive solution. Solutions that require multiple servers and multiple repositories are more complex and require additional assistance. Solutions that require extensive archive policy programming require special training classes and additional assistance. Finally, solutions that are not architected to support 5,000 plus mailbox environments perform poorly and require special assistance. When comparing the costs of competitive archiving solutions, look carefully at the professional services and training line item. In some cases the combined cost for professional services and training may exceed the cost of the software. In other cases, the cost for professional services and training may be nil. It is true that newer archive solutions use new Microsoft technologies that speed installation and reduce the overall cost of implementation. Also solutions that make full use of configuration defaults greatly speed implementation and remove the need to custom program all the archival policies. No matter, archival solutions are complex and it is always good advice to evaluate any solution in-house, or minimally visit reference customers to determine first hand the time and effort necessary to install the solution. 11

12 5. Support Services Support services follow hand in hand with professional services and will be used after implementation but probably during implementation as well. We have already discussed that archive solutions are complex. Due to direct interaction with messaging servers, dealing with a host of network performance and security issues, managing data on a backend database server and supporting potentially thousands of desktop users; archive solutions need excellent support. In addition to the typical decision for M-F or 24x7 supports, determine if other value-added support tools are available. For example, an online knowledgebase of support questions and answers can help you solve problems without having to speak with a support engineer live. Ask if the archiving solution includes any automated monitoring and debugging tools to monitor the application and take proactive steps if errors occur. Take for example, the backend database. The archive solution is capturing thousands of new pieces of data daily and users are interacting with the database to perform search and discovery. In this dynamic environment, any log buffer overrun or similar misstep will immediately disrupt archive service. Tools that can monitor critical database activity and perform routine online database maintenance are very helpful. 12

13 Conclusion Archiving is an essential new messaging application for managing data and a potentially costly application to implement. In this paper we reviewed five key areas where cost can be contained; thereby, reducing the total cost of archiving. archiving solutions vary widely by their design which results in varying demands for servers, storage, services and support. archiving solutions also vary by their data capture methods and can potentially cause costly re-architecture of your existing messaging infrastructure. New archive solutions that are able to capture data without impacting the messaging servers can save thousands of dollars. Similarly, solutions that install using default configurations and do not require extensive archive policy programming and professional services, will also contribute thousands of dollars of savings. Best practice always reminds us that before we make any decision, we should always evaluate the solution in-house, or minimally visit with a reference customer to find out first hand the true cost of implementation. It is very hard to go back once an archiving solution is installed and operating. No one is happy to learn that the solution they thought was easy to install requires extensive re-work of the messaging infrastructure, requires extra servers, consume excess storage and requires weeks of professional services. Hidden costs such as these can dampen the enthusiasm of any IT project, including archiving. Asking the right questions up front before the solution is purchased can save money and make your life easier. Find out More For more information about Mimosa Systems and how NearPoint can help solve your archiving, ediscovery, recovery and storage managment issues contact a Mimosa Sales Representative at or visit our web site at New archive solutions that are able to capture data without impacting the messaging servers can save thousands of dollars Mimosa Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Mimosa, Mimosa Systems, and Mimosa NearPoint, Self-Service Access, NearPoint Deployment Advantage and One Pass Protection are trademarks of Mimosa Systems, Inc., in the US. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. 13

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