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How Exclaimer Mail Archiver works

In this post, you’ll learn how email is archived, stored and searched by Exclaimer Mail Archiver.

We’ll look at these three categories in separate sections ‘Archiving’, ‘Storage’ and ‘Search’. Lastly, we’ll finish with a summary explaining in briefer terms the design philosophy behind Exclaimer Mail Archiver.

Archiving

Exclaimer Mail Archiver takes email from your Exchange journaling mailbox (or mailboxes) and adds it to the archive:

Learn more about how Exclaimer Mail Archiver archives emails.

  • Email is archived via journaling, which means that users can’t tamper with messages or remove them before they’re archived.
  • If Exchange is unavailable or inoperative for any period, the archiver can always resume archiving from where it left off. No email is ever missed.
  • It requires no changes or plug-ins as journaling is a default feature built into the email server.
  • Email is journalled by Exchange, then removed from the journaling mailbox by Mail Archiver. This means email won’t accumulate in the journaling mailbox as it’s almost instantly removed to an archive store.
  • Mail Archiver doesn’t use stubbing, which Microsoft advises against anyway, so the number of records in Exchange are reduced. This also increases the speed and performance of your email server.
  • It also doesn’t require Client Access Licenses (CALs), unlike using Exchange’s ‘Personal Archive’ option. Creating an appropriate journaling mailbox only requires running a short PowerShell script, which the ‘First Use Wizard’ can do automatically, making set-up faster and easier.

Storage

Email archives are saved as files within folders, which are organized by month and year:

Email archives are saved using a flat-file based structure.

  • Since this structure doesn’t require SQL, it doesn’t require the dedicated equipment and licenses a separate Microsoft SQL Server installation can require.
  • Any location that can hold files can hold your email archive: a NAS, cloud-based storage etc.

Save your emails to any location that can store an email archive.

  • Emails that meet different criteria can be archived differently by using the rules engine, e.g. archive more recent emails locally but older emails up in the cloud.
  • As it’s file-based, your archive can be backed up using the same tools you use for all your other files and data. Dedicated or sophisticated back-up tools are not required.
  • The protection measures used on these archives are the same ones used to protect Exchange databases, making your archive secure and compliant. Compare this to PST files, which can be easily copied onto a removable drive and misplaced or stolen.
  • Single-instance storage will save identical files only once per day. For example, a company logo image may be attached as part of an email signature. If a message is addressed to an entire distribution group, it will save it just once, instead of saving a different copy for each individual member of the group. The archive would detect that they’re all identical and save just one copy, saving storage space.
  • Creating a storage location is as simple as selecting or creating a folder in the ‘First Use Wizard’, which makes setup up quick and easy.
  • Retention policies can be easily managed by archive store and date. Compare this to Exchange, which can require more complex rules based on specific users, taking up additional time and effort.

Search

  • As well as allowing search within Outlook, users can search the archive from any device with a web browser.
  • Users can search the archive from Outlook, a smartphone, tablet or any device with a web browser. Email in PSTs, on the other hand, can only be seen when a user is searching from the device the PSTs are saved on.
  • The web search has two versions of its UI: the ‘light’ version for use on devices that can’t handle more complex HTML and the ‘rich’ version for use on tablets and laptops.
  • Cross-mailbox search can also be configured. An admin could give a team manager permission to see all of his/her team’s emails, for example. Groups and users are imported from Active Directory, making it intuitive and easy to set up search permissions based on groups, users, organizational units and more.

Easily find emails in the archive from any device with a web browser and cross-mailbox support.

  • By default, users can only see their own emails. Users can be given cross-mailbox access to certain users but not others.

Summary

Exclaimer Mail Archiver has been built for low cost of ownership. The archiving method makes it robust and resilient to user-tampering or unforeseen emergencies.

Auditing features can record every change to the configuration and every search of the email archive, allowing for oversight and control.

The storage structure makes it cheap to store and easy to back up. It doesn’t require dedicated SQL licenses, equipment or expertise to maintain.

The search UI makes it easy to search email from any device, which makes users more willing to stop using PSTs and, in turn, less prone to data loss or leakage.

Finally, using Exchange journaling, file-based storage and web-based search means that an administrator can deploy the archiver within minutes.