Feature

AttachStor reclaims e-mail storage

Ezine

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How Attachstor works for internal e-mail

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How many Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes servers do you have? The answer is probably "too many." One of my clients had more than 15 Exchange servers.

When asked why, the storage admin replied: "very long backup and very long recovery times."

That client--like a lot of other Exchange users--found that if an Exchange database gets to more than 25GB to 30GB, it takes too long to back it up and even longer to restore. This is especially true if you aren't using a mailbox-level backup and recovery system. In that case, the only solution for recovering a single mailbox is to recover the entire information store to another server, then move the desired mailbox using standard Exchange tools.

Therefore, every time my client's Exchange information stores gets larger than 25GB to 30GB, they make another Exchange server. The result is an incredible waste of money, as each one of these servers requires its own hardware and software, including licenses for Windows, Exchange, backup software, antivirus and firewall software and all of the maintenance fees that go along with software packages.

There's a clichÉ that says someone's problem is someone else's opportunity. The AttachStor Suite from AttachStor Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ, solves the problem of overgrown Exchange and Domino information stores by limiting the number of e-mail attachments.

Everyone knows that attachments consume a lot of storage. According to AttachStor, 21% of e-mail messages have attachments which consume 94% of a typical organization's e-mail resources, and 60% to 65% of those attachments are either duplicates or revisions of existing attachments. The company says this is the case even if your mail product is using single instance store where each attachment is supposed to be stored only once.

Single instance store
Exchange and Domino have single instance store, but apparently it doesn't work the way we think it should. It works from the message level. This means that if a single attachment is sent to 100 users on the same server, that attachment will only be stored once. However, if someone replies "to all," and attaches the same message again, it will again get stored once. Think of the number of times an attachment floats around your organization; compound that by the number of times that attachment is modified and you'll begin to see why single instance store in Exchange and Domino doesn't live up to the hype.

Attachments cause other problems, too--especially for remote users. Who hasn't received an e-mail with a multimegabyte attachment and waited several minutes for it to download? Then, what happens if you need to modify the attached file and send it back? Upload speeds are even worse than download speeds with many Internet connections.

This was first published in February 2004

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