The open standards employed by Archive Manager let other, external applications securely query and access the repository of email messages and attachments, making it easy to integrate with other external applications.
XML Web Services Application Programming Interface (API)—significantly more powerful, the Archive Manager XML Web Services API capability provides programmatic access to the Archive Manager email data and application functionality. In addition to retrieving search results from the Archive Manager application, the API can be used to manipulate the Archive Manager application, for example it can be used to programmatically create virtual mailboxes within Archive Manager.
Combined, these methods deliver a powerful capability that can unlock the value of email data across any organization, as well as build capability that maximizes the value of the Archive Manager platform.
Archive Manager works in conjunction with an organization’s standard messaging infrastructure. The application sits “behind the firewall,” within the organization; it does not interact with, or impact, any firewall or filtering solutions that may be in place.
In a standard Archive Manager implementation involving Microsoft Exchange, two Archive Manager services import mail messages into Archive Manager: the Archive Manager Data Load Service and the Archive Manager Exchange Store Manager (ESM) Service. Either one or both of these services can be used to ensure a complete solution for email archiving within an organization, as well as capturing the “drag and drop” movement of messages between private and public folders and mailboxes.
A journaling-based solution involves the creation of a new mailbox into which copies of all email messages transacted by Microsoft Exchange are placed. This configuration requires a minimal, standard change to the Microsoft Exchange server, and no additional software is required.
For organizations not wishing to capture all messages, the Archive Manager Exchange Store Manager service can be used to capture the messages—and folder information—contained within appropriate users’ mailboxes. Again, this solution requires no software to be installed on the Microsoft Exchange server.
The Archive Manager Store Manager alone is not suitable for a compliance-related scenario where all messages need to be captured: the Store Manager does not maintain a continuous connection to the messaging server store.
Both of the above approaches represent low risk to the organization, which is inevitably relying on email as a mission critical application. Installing any software—even a standard package such as Microsoft Outlook—could add instability to this environment.
Regardless of the method used, the Archive Manager application then processes the message (along with any attachments). Archive Manager analyzes the content of the message and calculates a “DNA fingerprint” based on a number of criteria within the message. This fingerprint is unique, and is used to determine if the message or attachments have been processed previously. If the message has not been previously processed, it is stored in Archive Manager; if it has been processed, it is ignored. As a result, Archive Manager will only store a single copy of any message or any attachment.
This fingerprinting capability is also used to determine if a message or attachment has been tampered with, as any modification will result in a change to the fingerprint calculation. This is important for compliance purposes where the integrity of the email archive is critical.
Once Archive Manager has determined it needs to store a message and any attachments, the application separates the message into its constituent parts; the message body and all associated metadata (including the message subject, to, from, time, date) into a Microsoft SQL Server database, while the attachments are stored in a standard attachment store.
As a result, Archive Manager is able to capture every email message that is transacted by the email system, and achieves storage efficiencies by storing only a single instance of the message and attachments in a secure, searchable, industry standard repository without loading any software on to the existing mail system.
Once Archive Manager has been installed, the existing mail system can be more effectively managed. The Archive Manager Exchange Store Manager service can be used to “stub” messages within Microsoft Exchange and replace existing messages with a “shell” that contains the original email information using data provided by Archive Manager—Microsoft Outlook users can seamlessly access their “live” and archived email, which is retrieved from the Archive Manager server without any additional user intervention.
This capability is driven by policies which are managed by the Archive Manager administrator. Aggressive policies can be implemented which result in significant storage reductions on the original Microsoft Exchange store—savings in excess of 80% have been achieved.
In addition to accessing messages through Outlook, a powerful and easy to use web-based user interface is provided, enabling both end users and administrators to search and manage the archived messages, and control how the application controls. Access to archived email through mobile devices is also supported—users of these devices simply access their email data through an customized web page on their phones.
Archive Manager also inherently improves business continuity due the fact that if there is a mail server failure or it is taken offline, users still have access to all their email up to that point using Archive Manager. Similarly, should Archive Manager be unavailable for whatever reason, users still have full access to their messaging system and the Archive Manager system can continue to process messages as soon as it is back online. Archive Manager can also provide disaster recovery capabilities by using the inherent features of Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition, including transaction log shipping.
The Recovery Manager for Exchange product can be used to capture Microsoft Outlook personal store (.PST) files into Archive Manager. This lets customers dramatically increase the value of their Archive Manager system as several years worth of email can be made available to the wider organization, and the storage issues associated with PST files can be minimized.
Now regarded as a mainstream communications tool, email is not well served by existing email systems, which focus on the transactional processes of sending and receiving email, and in effect minimize the importance of what is contained within the email message.
Archive Manager is a next generation email management solution that addresses current email archiving and compliance challenges, while also providing a forward looking platform for email enabling line of business applications.
Given the explosive growth of email as a form of communication – and its acceptance as a legal document—there is an urgent corporate governance need for any organization to adopt Archive Manager. Legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley in the United States, and the Basel II accords in Europe and elsewhere, have brought urgent focus to compliance and information risk management in email with organizations being required to conform.
There are also numerous technical challenges relating to email, particularly in the area of storage. Archive Manager reduces the overall storage requirements of email by optimizing the storage of email messages and attachments, and providing a way of managing the mail server store, making email significantly easier to manage.
Archive Manager delivers a secure, flexible application platform that addresses these issues and provides a foundation for deriving maximum value from email: Intelligent Email Archiving. This approach applies modern business concepts to email, enabling organizations to derive greater awareness and knowledge sharing by providing access to email content and metadata, and providing a platform for this information to be leveraged by other business processes and business systems.