The Secret To Stayin’ Alive? Don’t Stop Movin’

Posted by Liam Neate on Sep 09, 2015 Last updated Jan 07, 2022

Although their content is static, email archives are like a Tamagotchi or a Mother Dough that have to be tended to in order to stay alive.

The challenge is that the lifespan of some email records could outlive us (or at least our tenure with the organization that owns these records)!  To give you a few examples:

  • The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Administration requires some health-related records to be kept for either 30 years or the duration of a person’s employment plus 30 years.
  • In the UK, Child Services case records must be retained by Government bodies until the person’s 75th birthday, or if the child dies before reaching 18, a period of 15 years from the date of death.
  • Construction companies in Texas need to retain records for 12 years to conform with statute law.

Even if you don’t have a legislative or eDiscovery reason to archive and discover emails, there’s probably a whole bunch of business and productivity reasons you need to keep archives safe and readily accessible for staff – for longer than you all bargained for.

So it’s no surprise that you’ll need to tackle a migration at some point – possibly multiple migrations – to keep your data alive.

Some Transvault partners have customers that have migrated twice– even three times – within a span of 7 years.

Over the years, we’ve seen a whole range of scenarios leading to multiple hops:

  • END-OF-THE-LINE – Bearing in mind the first enterprise archives were introduced 15 years ago, it’s not surprising that some (e.g. EmailXtender, HP RISS) have been end-of-lifed.
  • CHANGE-OF-PLATFORM – When organizations switch from Notes to Exchange, many want to ensure that archives go with them – and can be successfully opened in Outlook.  This requires not just a move but a format conversion.
  • LACK OF SUPPORT – Customers have found themselves needing to move on from technically excellent solutions that have sadly ‘fallen by the wayside’ following acquisitions.
  • OVER-OPTIMISM – Although some customers have successfully ‘re-hydrated’ their archives into later versions of Exchange, others that attempted it have found they suffered a bout of archive indigestion and subsequently returned back to a dedicated archive.
  • STORAGE TOO MANY CENTS – Extricating archives from high-end specialist storage devices is commonplace as storage overheads and COO start to spiral.
  • FINANCIAL ATTRACTION – Even a recent re-vamp of an on-premises archive can be ousted in favor of a pay-as-you-go model if that is what the FD desires.

The good news is that from an accounting perspective, most assets – including software – are depreciated of period of 3 or 5 years, so investing in a new long term email storage platform after a few years is not the end of the world.

That needs to be provisioned for, however, is the cost of switching to the replacement (i.e. migration).

I recall the time we moved house just a few doors down the street.  To save costs we decided to move ourselves – it was such a short distance for Pete’s sake.

The reality was that I lost 2 stones in the process of our DIY move.  I guess you could say that, as far as my waistline was concerned, our strategy to cut costs paid off.   But never again.

When you’re planning your next move you need to factor in removal costs from a knowledgeable partner that will ensure everything you need to take makes it successfully to the new destination, quickly, intact and fully accounted for.

I’d be interested to hear what retention periods your organization needs to cope with, and what challenges you foresee in keeping your data alive.