Unstructured data management tools provide a means of managing email and file archives. But many products lack a simple, comprehensive way to deliver an enterprise-level archiving solution -- leaving your customers to rely on archiving point solutions.
Archiving software is generally easier to implement and better tailored for the high volume, low-cost nature of some unstructured data environments, while enterprise content management (ECM) applications offer more options to manage, classify and create data component relationships. To decide which approach best suits your customer's needs, you should understand how these programs manage unstructured data. Consider the following:
Also keep in mind licensing, which varies widely among email archiving products. For example, the ability to discover and index messages on email servers requires a license for Open Text's Livelink for Email Monitoring module, while another license for the company's Email Archiving component is needed
- to manage and archive email. Open Text's Email Management module license delivers all of this functionality in a single package.
Apps like Open Text's Livelink and Veritas Software Corp.'s Enterprise Vault communicate with email servers through TCP/IP ports using standard APIs. For Exchange, they use MAPI and Lotus APIs for Lotus Notes. However, IBM Corp.'s DB2 CommonStore uses Notes-specific protocols, Notes RPC and Domino Internet Inter-ORB Protocol to extract Notes database information while using WebDAV, a set of HTTP extensions, to access public folders on Exchange.
Because these products use common network protocols to communicate with email and file servers, check your customer's internal network to ensure that the appropriate IP ports on the firewall are open.
Customers ready to tackle longer term compliance issues, should look at ECM tools that provide content searching and analysis tied to preset policies and customized taxonomies. But ECM isn't easy to implement or manage, and users will still need archiving software for their email and files. For data that's of indefinite value now, it may just be easier to implement an archiving application and deal with the content management aspect later.
Read the complete unstructurd data archiving article from Storage magazine.
This was first published in January 2007