With the proliferation in volume and size of attachments taxing e-mail systems, Accellion is introducing an updated version of its caching and management appliance designed to boost network performance and let companies consolidate servers.With the proliferation in volume and size of attachments taxing e-mail systems,\u00a0Accellion\u00a0is introducing an updated version of its caching and management appliance designed to boost network performance and let companies consolidate servers.The Accellion Attachments 3.5 offloads e-mail attachments on to a separate device before e-mail moves over the network, which reduces network traffic and lets companies reduce the amount of storage space needed on e-mail servers. With less storage needed, companies can consolidate more users on fewer servers.Version 3.5, which is compatible with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes, includes a fingerprint feature that definitively links e-mail and attachments to ensure compliance with regulatory mandates. A harvesting tool moves attachments stored in in-boxes to the Accellion device. Also included is a bill-back feature, which lets departments track and bill for usage."So much business is done via e-mail that having the ability to reduce network traffic is key," says Brian Babineau, research analyst for Enterprise Storage Group."If I can offload the attachments, I can avoid costs on the storage side and get a performance savings on the other side," he says. Babineau says attachment management will be a necessary feature to have in networked collaboration products. For instance, Microsoft is adding archiving features to its instant-messaging software Live Communications Server. Others such as C2C, Educom and KVS also develop archiving software, but Accellion is focused on managing attachments.A recent Osterman Research survey shows that the increased use of attachments, their expanding size and the storage requirements are some of the most serious problems facing corporate messaging systems. To address the problems, Accellion uses both hardware and software as part of Attachments 3.5. The hardware acts as storage points across the network and integrates with directories that support Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. The directory is used to determine where users download their attachments.The software plugs into client interfaces and adds a button to the tool bar that lets the user add attachments to the e-mail. When the e-mail is sent, the attachment is shipped to the Accellion appliance and not to the e-mail server. A link is added to the e-mail and the recipient clicks on the link to download the attachment. Attachments also can be viewed in a Web browser and users can store select attachments on their hard drive separate from the e-mail software for use off line.Attachments 3.5 is for use with internal and outgoing e-mail but will not strip attachments from in-bound e-mail from external users."Companies can get five to 10 times more users on a server after stripping out attachments," says Yorgen Edholm, CEO of Accellion. "And back-up operations are faster because you have smaller messages." The software also includes filters for determining the types and sizes of attachments that Attachments 3.5 will handle.Attachments 3.5 also supports compression to ease file transfer and encryption and Secure Sockets Layer for secure transfer of files from e-mail clients and among Accellion devices.The software is available this week and is priced starting at $30 per client-side agent. The server appliance, which can include up to 120G bytes of storage, comes in three versions, the caching version costs $8,000; the gateway, $20,000; and the controller, $40,000.