How to write an archiving program RFP


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Feature checklist
Once the business drivers are settled, the specific features of each product can be evaluated. Kathryn Hilton, a senior analyst for policy at Mountain View, CA-based Contoural Inc., has published an ebook on archival software that lists the following as major feature classes:

  • Capture
  • Architecture
  • Classification
  • Retention management/disposition
  • Hold management and litigation support
  • Index
  • Search/retrieval
  • Reporting/audit/supervision
  • User interface
  • Administration
  • Storage management (including "single-instance store")
  • Security
Needless to say, an email archiving app has to work well with your email system, adds StorageIO Group's Schulz.

Vendor reliability is another factor, which doesn't necessarily mean bigger is better, says Gartner's DiCenzo. "Will IBM [Corp.] be around in 10 years? Yes, but will they still commit to the program you're working with?" Part of the risk factor is the retention period; users can take more risks with a shorter period of time than with a longer one, she says.

Large vendors might also offer several uncoordinated archiving solutions, says

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Schulz. "You mention 'Who has archiving?' and IBM puts up five hands, EMC puts up five and Hewlett-Packard [Co.] puts up three or four," he says. "They all have different pieces."

Implementing the process
Small vendors can be more flexible with pricing, says Chris Formes, IT manager at Brookfield Homes Southland Inc. in Costa Mesa, CA. Formes was looking for an archiving product to help him consolidate email. His 150 Exchange 2003 users had mailboxes ranging in size from 200MB to 9GB. Some inboxes had 7,000 messages, he says. Exchange performance was down to a crawl, particularly for searches, and it took Formes 40 hours to 45 hours to do a backup; as a result, email could only be backed up on weekends.

Last July, Formes began the archiving RFP process with his goals: reduce the size of the information store, shorten the time for backup and restore, and cut out the need for an administrator in the restore process due to his limited staff. He asked a set of trusted vendors for their recommendations and ended up with two finalists, NearPoint from Mimosa Systems Inc. and EVault InfoStage ArcWare from EVault, a Seagate company. Based on his criteria, he decided to do a proof-of-concept test with Mimosa.

This was first published in August 2007

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