Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Exeter University utilises new Archiving solution from C2C
C2C, a provider of email, file and messaging management solutions has announced that one of the top performing UK universities, Exeter University, has adopted ArchiveOne® to manage their 3,500 staff plus associates and group mailboxes. In terms of the IT infrastructure, Exeter University has 20 virtualised Exchange servers split across the two sites that are either clustered or set up as DAGs (for data replication). ArchiveOne is deployed on 6 virtualised archiving servers supporting an extensive email infrastructure, with more than 37,000 mailboxes contained within the Active Directory.
Like all academic establishments, the University in recent years has seen unprecedented growth in the size and volume of email not only as coursework files but right across the infrastructure, as departments have become more reliant on large image-based files, PDFs and PPTs.
Dave Dickinson is the Universities’ Information Systems Developer responsible for all email system infrastructure and takes up the story: “We were in the process of migrating from a UNIX-based email system. This was an effective, simple, pure flat-file email system that was not particularly resource intensive, but it did not offer the extra features, such as calendaring and workflow that we deemed as essential. We therefore embarked on the move to Microsoft Exchange 2003 and then later to Exchange 2007.”
There were a number of changes that the University had to adopt as part of the migration to Microsoft Exchange. The first was to include high-performing shared storage into the infrastructure and the second was to identify an effective archiving solution. Critical requirements for this solution included both the ability to handle the increasingly large volumes of email and the capacity to reduce the burden of Exchange which demanded far greater resources than their Unix-based system. After examining three market-leading solutions, the team opted for C2C’s ArchiveOne solution due to its flexibility and seamless end user experience.
With 7TB of primary storage assigned to run Exchange, it had been critical that the archiving solution quickly and effectively moved data to the archive store reducing the impact on primary storage. ArchiveOne stored the files in a compressed format so the demand on secondary storage was reduced as well. On top of this infrastructure challenge, there was a cultural challenge that users needed to overcome. The previous UNIX-based system offered users unlimited email space, so they became accustomed to keeping an unrestricted amount of email. The transition to Exchange with its mailbox quotas had caused users to implement PST files resulting in difficulties with backup and data discovery.
The installation of ArchiveOne provided the management team with an archiving solution that meant they seamlessly regained control over mailbox stores and quotas. A solution of policy enforcement was created for staff and associate mailboxes, comprising approximately 5000 mailboxes.
Critically, ArchiveOne has enabled automated policies with two standard policies in place. For average mailbox users, any emails older than 12 months are automatically archived and compressed to an archive store. For those ‘power users’ whose mailboxes regularly exceed 750MB, ArchiveOne automates an archiving policy of six months. These archiving policies enable the email system to run at an optimal 70% capacity of primary disk. For users, the process is simple, they simply click on the email in the inbox, and the full email is located and retrieved seamlessly from the store.
For Dave and the team, the ability to manipulate and customise archiving policies has proven invaluable. “When we initially installed the archiving system, we installed five archive repositories. Since then we have installed additional archives on an annual basis. What we found when using ArchiveOne is that its policies were flexible and adaptable to our needs.
"For instance, we would be able to move to a six month repository cycle easily if data growth required, and we are able to extend policies to individual users with no impact.”
One of the most significant benefits of archiving is reducing the impact of an Exchange upgrade. Moving the majority of data to the archive before the migration alleviates the need for the data to be moved when upgrading between the Exchange versions. Since the majority of data had already been moved prior to the upgrade from Exchange 2003 to 2007, time and management overhead was significantly reduced. Indeed, so has storage capacity declined. Two years down the line, ArchiveOne has alleviated the need for any further primary storage, ensuring major cost savings and fewer problems for the Infrastructure team.
For users with ArchiveOne, archiving is seamless and automatic, and of course, now falls within the blanket protection of the Exchange backup. With the majority of data in the archive, the benefits to an Exchange upgrade have already been realised. In 2012 the University will upgrade to Exchange 2010 and the benefits of not having to move all the data will be realised once more. The process will be relatively quick and less demanding on the University.
In conclusion, Dave comments, “Put simply, I couldn’t imagine not having ArchiveOne operating seamlessly behind the university’s email infrastructure. It is an easy-to-use, flexible and valuable tool.”
For more information visit www.c2c.com.