Archiving & Journaling, do you really need both?

By Datalink

So you are well on your way to researching an archiving solution to implement in your organization , and the sales guy asks, “are you going to journal your email?” a few seconds and a few head scratches later you reply, “I am already planning to archive, why do I need to journal too?”  Don’t feel bad, you are not alone.

In order to properly answer this question, we must first define and fully understand the concepts of archiving and journaling, their benefits and the costs.

First, let’s discuss archiving.  Archiving is the ability to move data, based on policies, from primary servers and storage, to typically less expensive storage.  Every item that we archive, also gets assigned a retention, which determines how long that item will be in the archive before the systems deletes it.  The primary benefit of this technology is reduction in tier 1 storage.

We are all guilty of keeping way too many emails, and not properly managing out mailboxes.  Because of this, the amount of storage that is required continues to grow exponentially.  Email has become a mission critical application; our IT Staff typically uses the biggest, fastest servers and storage to keep these applications performing optimally.  And of course that means these are often some of the most expensive systems in our data center.

So archiving functionality is typically what most IT Managers, email, and storage administrators are in need of and why they are looking at archiving solutions

Journaling, on the other hand is the ability to capture 100% of the messages sent and received by an email server.  This functionality is actually enabled and configured on the email server, and the archiving server will then poll the email server on a scheduled basis and move the messages from the email server journal into the archive solution.  We typically discuss the benefits of journaling with Records Managers, HR, and Legal, because they are less concerned with the costs of storing every message, and more concerned with the ability to discover any message sent or received.

Let’s now look at an example.

If we set an archive policy that archives all messages in a mailbox once they are 180 days old, you are basically telling your users they have 179, to delete whatever they want, and it will never end up in the archive.  You are probably thinking, is that a problem? It could be, please read on.

A legal matter occurs, and we need to discover every message User A, sent to User B, within the past year.  With archiving alone, we cannot satisfy that discovery request, because users have the ability to delete messages prior to them reaching the defined archive age.

If we use the same example, and journaling enabled we can absolutely satisfy the discovery request because we are capturing 100% of the message traffic.

Another benefit of journaling is referred to as early case preparedness. Prior to implementing an archiving solution, discovery was reactive.  A legal matter occurs, because there is no centralized indexed data repository, it could be weeks, or months before Legal Counsel has enough data to determine what their legal strategy will be.  This can be a huge waste of time and money.

If we journal, and archive that journal, we now have the ability the moment we are informed of a legal matter to search our journal archive, gather and review potential evidence, and determine what our defense strategy will be.

Now back to the original question, do you really need archiving and journaling?  If your only goal is to provide storage reduction of your primary servers, then no archiving alone will be adequate. On the other hand, if you have any compliance and or regulatory requirements, audit adherence, or need to discovery efficiently and effectively, you must implement archiving and journaling.