How we tested Enterprise Vault

We tested Enterprise Vault in our test lab for four weeks. Because we determined that it would be difficult and prohibitively expensive to test performance of Enterprise Vault, we elected to use a preinstalled demonstration environment that Symantec provided for our testing.

Symantec delivered two VMware virtual machines to us. One was a Windows domain controller running Exchange 2003 and several other applications, as well as the full Enterprise Vault suite. The other was used just for Exchange 2007.

In a not-so-subtle touch of irony, Symantec had populated the Exchange servers with Enron e-mails that had been publicly disclosed during the legal wrangling after Enron's collapse. They were made anonymous for the test.

We ran the VMware images on an eight-core VMware server, giving each 4GB of memory.

From this base, we tested Enterprise Vault in several phases. We started by creating users and assigning retention and archiving policies in regards to their e-mails in Enterprise Vault, trying out different archiving strategies.

For example, we defined a policy for some users to archive all mail older than one day and keep it for seven years. For a different set of users, we waited for a week before archiving, and then kept the mail for a week, then forced it to be deleted.

Then, we generated about 250 messages over one week between our new users to build a message database with a range of dates. During this message generation, we also examined the features of Enterprise Vault and learned to operate its administrative interface.

After a two-week rest period, we revisited Enterprise Vault to see what it had done with the messages we had loaded into the user accounts. We verified that the policies we had defined were properly implemented, including both archiving of messages and deletion of "old" messages (according to our abbreviated timeline).

At this stage, we also tested the user features of Enterprise Vault, including the Outlook plug-in and Web-based user interface. We also tested and evaluated the Compliance Accelerator and Discovery Accelerator parts of Enterprise Vault at this stage.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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