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Archive policy change makes big difference

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Early this year, I wrote about a financial services company that operates a Novell GroupWise environment and had established a policy of archiving all messages that were older than four months. Here's an update.

The policy of archiving all content older than four months created a number of problems for this company. First, the archive grew so large that users of the system had difficulty accessing individual archives and locating documents and messages within the archive.

Because there was no incentive to manage e-mail, users would simply allow their message stores to fill with useless information. Administrators were forced to run a tool that would check and repair GroupWise 5.x message, user, library and resource databases. It would sometimes take more than 90 minutes to run the check, and often the archive could not be repaired.

This situation prompted the organization to modify its archiving policy so that all messages older than six months would be automatically deleted, although all content is backed up daily to support regulatory audits. The result was that users were forced to manage their mailboxes and archive content appropriately.

In the four months following the change, administrators are finding that the new system works wonderfully.

Users are archiving their important data and letting the system delete unimportant content instead of relying on IT and the archival servers to manage their data. User complaints about losing e-mail stopped about a month after implementing the policy, as users became accustomed to the new paradigm. The size of the message store has remained relatively constant since implementing the new policy and the performance of the mail servers has improved. User satisfaction - including upper-management satisfaction - is high because e-mail is being delivered in a timely fashion.

This is a good example of how implementing a simple policy at very little cost with no infrastructure investment can have an important impact on overall mail system performance.


An archiving case study

Michael D. Osterman is the principal of Osterman Research, a market research firm that helps organizations understand the markets for messaging, directory and related products and services. He can be reached by clicking here.

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