National Kidney Foundation cuts GroupWise storage with cloud storage email archiving

The National Kidney Foundation looked at on-premise email archiving to manage GroupWise storage, but cloud storage email archiving from Sonian was more affordable.

Email archiving was in the in the spotlight this week with the release of Microsoft Exchange 2010 and followup announcements from storage vendors looking to offer cloud storage repositories for archiving Exchange and web-based email systems.

But not only Exchange shops are porting email archives to the cloud. The National Kidney Foundation has also found a cloud storage email archiving alternative for Novell GroupWise that is more affordable and easier to manage than an on-premise archive.

The National Kidney Foundation is a nonprofit organization with about 350 employees and more than 30 state offices across the United States. In 2007, the foundation centralized IT and required its national headquarters in New York to take over responsibilities that had been distributed among remote offices. The foundation's GroupWise email data storage requirement was at 400 GB last year when vice president of technology Gary Green and his team decided to start looking for an email archiving product to ease storage management in the primary GroupWise database.

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"We knew we had a problem," Green said. "People aren't real good about deleting email, and the organizational culture here hasn't dealt with that very aggressively. Some people had 22,000 sent messages in their mailbox."

The foundation turned to email archiving as a less labor-intensive means of cutting down on the size of its two GroupWise Post Offices than trying to get stricter about mailbox quotas. Given that GroupWise is not as widely used as Microsoft's Exchange, finding an email archiving vendor that supports it was a tricky and expensive project.

"We looked at MessageSolution, Nexic, and Messaging Architects, all of which I was told would require a server and additional network storage," Green said. "The cost estimates were in the tens of thousands of dollars."

When his network administrators recommended a cloud service, the foundation evaluated Sonian and another service called Gaggle.net that Green said was priced considerably higher than Sonian.

Green said Sonian charges between $3 and $5 per user per month. Sonian also claims it is the only cloud storage email archiving service provider that can support GroupWise.

"GroupWise has native components and APIs that have been designed support the compliant data capture of all email," a Sonian spokesperson wrote in an email to SearchStorage. "Sonian has customized our data collection technology specifically for these native GroupWise components."

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian Babineau said other cloud email archiving services support GroupWise, but usually through a connector that enables journaling, which GroupWise doesn't support natively. Sonian is integrated natively through APIs.

"Sonian's in a unique position, other people use other technologies to connect in," Babineau said.

While Green says the organization expects to cut its Post Office size in half by the time the archive is fully implemented, it has been a slow process to install it across the organization so far. Last December Sonian email archiving was rolled out to the foundation's IT department, then its finance department.

Along the way there were some features that turned users off. "We started out with collectors that would restore a message as an attachment to another email, which some wanted a more transparent user experience," Green said.

This will be resolved when the foundation installs version 8 of GroupWise, an update that allows Web pages like Sonian's management portal to be displayed inside its email client, Green said.

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