Data Management Strategy: Many to One Email Journaling

Data Management I'm Exploring Vaultastic Videos Whiteboard

As part of our #whiteboardseries, we bring to you a series of short videos that we hope will help your organisation increase productivity and efficiency.

In the video above, Mr. Sunil Uttam, Co-founder, Mithi Software, talks about Many to One email journaling, a very popular way of archiving in organisations Today. He also stresses on how this method may not be the most efficient way to archive and some of the drawbacks associated with it.

This method of email backup, collects all mail for all users in one account and further splits this up into multiple PST/EML files, making it difficult to do any kind of processing on the data, or even restore any specific email for any user.

With the primary and archive mailbox on the same server, there is a high chance of vendor lock-in, should you want to move your data out, at a some point in time. In addition, since the archive mailbox is a regular mailbox, there is constant need to provision extra storage.

Video Transcription

Hey, welcome to the next episode of the whiteboard series which we have started, to educate our customers and some people connected to us about how email archiving and how email systems actually work. So Today’s episode is focused on explaining to you, a very popular way of archiving in corporate’s Today, which is of archiving multiple users email into one mailbox and how does that work and what are its problems and what we can do about it is something we’ll speak about Today. So let’s get started.

Many to one email journaling

So in this diagram we have shown that here is where you imagine your mailbox users, your primary mailbox could be on Exchange, Lotus Notes, Office 365, Google, Mithi SkyConnect or any such platform. These are all your users, now what you have done here is to make sure that these mails are backed up, you have put a journaling rule on each user and informed this system, the mailing system that a copy of each mail which the user sends and receives should be deposited into another mailbox which is a mailbox on the same system. You could call it, let’s say an archive mailbox or an archive 1 and an archive 2, to you know, bunch your users to the archive.

So like it is shown, a copy of all these mails is bunched here. These are then downloaded into clients, Outlook Thunderbird or any such client. Let’s take Outlook and it generates PSTs and multiple PSTs, because PSTs cannot be very large, and this is how the system continues working day on day. Now this grows because 4 GB is your size which one user, 4 GB is the size of mail which one user accumulates in a year, so this is your architecture Today as you are deploying this many to one email archiving.

Drawbacks of this method 

Limited Storage 

It’s a normal mailbox again, so you are limited by the storage available on that platform. So you would have to deploy a quota or your would have to buy some extra storage here. So this becomes one big problem as you keep accumulating, you would have to do some management to keep shifting data out of here or keep growing this or starting a new archival in another account.

Mixed Mail

Second, as you can see here, it collects mail or multiple users into one account, so it becomes a big problem to sieve and sift through these email if you want to recover email for one particular user. So this is another big challenge, especially as it grows.

Vendor Lock-in 

Third, everything is on one platform, the primary mailbox and the archive, so you’re really heading in for a vendor lock in, so if your backup and primary store is on one platform, it would take a lot of effort for you to get data out when you need it.

No redundancy 

Again, if you extend the same argument, since everything is on the same platform, there is no redundancy.
Ideally a backup should be away from the primary store, to really give you that level of safety and reliability which you are looking for.

Access email client 

Now these are available via normal clients, Outlook, Thunderbird or any desktop client you may take, even a web client. So there is a limit on its scalability, if this grows to 30, 40, 50, 100 GB, 200 GB which is going to happen. Even if you take a 100 user mailbox and multiply it by 4, you have a 400GB growth in one year. So this becomes a big challenge for you on how this clients can scale to that mailbox, they are not designed for that.

Notional data security 

Now, you keep feeling that your data is safe, okay, but it’s not, it’s notional. All you’re doing is copying data from one mailbox into another on the same platform, on the same hardisk, on the same server, so it gives you this feeling that your data is safe, but actually it is not.

No deep searches 

Now, since this data is in an email client, since it is in one mailbox and these are just basic searches available in these clients, not really deep indexing possible, so you really can’t do deep ediscovery like searches, where you’re looking for patterns, where you are trying to do some discovery, if you’re looking for knowledge of a certain type, not
really possible.

No self help 

Now, this means that none of your users can access their own archive, because now it is mixed, it will become a privacy issue if you give these users access to this archive, so we can’t allow that. Which means that there is no self help, which means that if a user deletes his mail, he needs to come running to the IT team.What, it means is, loss of productivity, and increased load on IT team, so there is a productivity loss in both.

No data online 

Now all this data is typically on the client PC, on the laptops and in PSTs, and they keep growing, they keep splintering and they keep growing, so none of this is really online. So if you need to recover, if you need to send it to somebody, another herculean effort on your part.

No historical data 

And you can’t really move, all this historical data here, because you would start with a work load and as it is, it is growing very rapidly, so this is not a very great practice either and not possible either.

So in summary what I want to tell you is that, while this appears lie a great architecture, it’s simple, it’s cost effective, it’s within the same platform, it’s notional, it really has no scale possible, plus it’s safety and reliability is a suspect, so there are better ways, one simple way is, you don’t do this.

You do a single archival, one to one archival, but it has to be on another platform, it has to be away from this thing. We’ll talk about it in one of the videos where we will discuss with you how cloud can be a great, a cloud archiving platform can be a great addition to your cloud or to your in prem set up, to help you keep your data safe. This is not a great way, so we don’t recommend this really.

Read a detailed blog on the working of a many to one email journaling and other methods of archiving.


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