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Cutting the donkey work with email archiving

Article Type: Case Study          Published: 09-2013         Views: 2348   



Leading worldwide animal charity the Donkey Sanctuary needed to rationalise its approach to email archiving, as some users kept over 30,000 emails in their mailboxes .

The Donkey Sanctuary has established itself over the past 43 years as one of the leading charities for the protection and care of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable donkeys and mules worldwide. Like all organisations, email has become the primary source of internal and external communications. Initially running Microsoft Exchange 2003, but with plans for migration to Microsoft Exchange 2010, lots of employees were lured into the Outlook auto-prompt 'auto archive your old items now' to create locally based PST files randomly residing on C drives across the organisation. Not only had the resultant PSTs proliferated making them hard to discover, but they had become too large to guarantee accurate restore.

The Charity's Director of Finance and IT, Chris Young, highlighted the concept and benefits of email archiving, having read C2C's article '3 Reasons to Archive Email' which contained references from nearby Exeter University, who had successfully used C2C's ArchiveOne solution. The Donkey Sanctuary contacted C2C and established that ArchiveOne not only offered archiving and would maximise efficiency and reduce the cost of Microsoft Exchange, but usage would also critically demonstrate compliance with government policies through e-Discovery enablement.

With 280 mailboxes of varying usage and additional countries falling under the responsibility of Head Office, heavier users of emails running in excess of 30,000 emails became the first to adopt ArchiveOne. The first task was to identify all PSTs; rooting out and defining location and size and applying pre-set automated policies. As the process continued, it rapidly emerged that The Donkey Sanctuary had chosen the correct solution, as ArchiveOne highlighted some PSTs files as large as 8GB (any PSTs over 2GB are known to be hard to restore and are frequently corrupt). Users could now seamlessly access PSTs via the archive within their inbox. Policies were set so that any emails older than 60 days would be automatically archived and stored in annual repositories.

With the heaviest email users successfully archived and secured, The Donkey Sanctuary could turn their attention to the roll out of less intensive accounts. Migration to Microsoft Exchange 2010 was the next infrastructure area to be dramatically affected by the email archiving.

Keen to migrate the most streamlined email store possible, Andy Brinsford, IT Systems and Support Manager, The Donkey Sanctuary commented: "Migrating to Microsoft Exchange 2010 from 2003 whilst not overly complex, is a manually intensive process. It is not a 'set and forget' operation and you need to manually monitor mailboxes transitioning over; so reduced Information Stores are great news in terms of significantly cutting management overhead and time to migrate."

The Donkey Sanctuary is thrilled that through widespread adoption, they have halved the size of the Exchange Information Store. ArchiveOne achieved this reduction through use of its integral compression technology, together with the Charity's commitment to delete unwanted email data at source and independently archive messages and attachments. ArchiveOne then compresses the remaining attachments. The resultant reduction carries additional hardware savings, reducing the cost of expensive primary storage on their new Microsoft Exchange 2010 server.

Users at The Donkey Sanctuary can now seamlessly access archived data from their Outlook folders, even when offline, simply by clicking on the Archive icon. Search and retrieval of emails is fulfilled confidently in seconds. Andy describes enhanced user confidence in the system: "Once users realise what the new process is and how watertight it is, they become more comfortable with total email management and thankfully, gone are the days when they felt the need to keep every email saved in random locations on their hard drive. Even if they mistakenly delete an archived message, we can locate it back from the integrated web-based search portal."

At a management level, adoption of ArchiveOne has resonated positively towards demonstrating compliance to government legislation and defensible information management. The Donkey Sanctuary is reassured that through ArchiveOne's pre-assigned policies, management can now capture all email via journals. Delivered through a web based portal, officers in HR or legal support can ensure and demonstrate adherence with government regulations and enforce legal on-hold messages.

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