Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing

Email Archiving: "It's Here Somewhere!"

Organizations are drowning in email and instant messages. All this online yakking is an essential part of most businesses these days, but what do you do with the thousands of messages being generated by each member of your team every year? Rick Cook takes a look at the latest possibility for storage management: email archiving.
Like this article? We recommend

For more information on Windows Server, visit our Windows Server Reference Guide or sign up for our Windows Newsletter.

"Email has become the perfect storm in the last few years," says T. M. Ravi, president and CEO of Mimosa Systems, a maker of archiving products for Microsoft Exchange. "No one ever imagined it would be used the way it is being used today."

Ravi points out that this perfect storm of email is creating a huge—and growing—headache for enterprises as they try to rein in storage costs, manage vital records, and keep regulators happy.

Today, the average corporate user sends and receives 113 email messages a day, according to a study by the Radicati Group. That translates into about 15MB of storage per day per user, or nearly 300MB per month. By the end of the decade, that number is expected to grow to 160 messages a day, with similar growth in storage requirements.

There are three reasons for using messaging archiving:

  • Storage management
  • Records management
  • Compliance

Storage management is the most universal driver for archiving. "These solutions allow you to shrink the storage footprint and dramatically reduce the backup and restore times," says Mike Gundling, VP of product management and marketing for Computer Associates’ iLumin division. "There’s a strong return on investment just from storage management. In fact, the growth in messaging requires storage management."

There are performance and reliability issues as well. Email programs tend to become unstable when their files become very large. As the volume of stored messages grows, the message databases are more likely to become corrupted. Above a certain point, response times will almost certainly slow down dramatically.

If storage management is about reining in exploding storage needs, records management is about treating email and IM messages as what they are—business documents, and often valuable business documents to boot.

Compliance involves storing and tracking messages because you’re legally required to do so. Of the three reasons for using messaging archiving, compliance is the one that’s evolving most rapidly—and the one with the most severe consequences for failing. To put it bluntly: While inadequate storage management or records management is expensive, inadequate compliance could send someone to jail.

The Problem with Email

The basic problem with email is that it has become something much more—something central to the enterprise, and something its original designers never imagined.

"Here you’ve got an application that was not in the beginning suitable at all for storing information for long periods," says Jens Rabe, director of compliance solutions at Open Text Corporation, a maker of document-management software. "It’s designed to support messaging and collaboration, but not long-term storage. It slows down dramatically when you store too much information in it."

From simple electronic mailboxes, email applications such as Exchange and Domino have evolved into the most active document-management systems in the enterprise. Today, programs like Exchange and Domino not only let you read email. In addition to storing messages, they store nearly any other kind of data the enterprise generates, from spreadsheets to videos. They also organize information, support collaboration, publish documents to the web, and provide many other functions. Of course, through all this other activity, the programs have to send and receive email (and now instant messages) efficiently and quickly for thousands or tens of thousands of users.

"In general, no one expected email to be used the way it is used today," says Nick Mehta, senior director of product management for the Enterprise Vault product line at Symantec. "Even if you listen to Microsoft people talk, they never really designed Exchange for mailboxes to grow to gigabyte size."

The job of email programs today is quite a load to put on even the best-architected software, and the wonder is that email and messaging software handles this work as well as it does. Of course, to some extent it’s like Dr. Johnson’s dog walking on its hind legs: The wonder isn’t that it does it well, but that it does it at all.

While email programs tend to be solid on email and collaboration, things get shakier around the edges. "It becomes bulky as the use of email explodes and the payload [size of messages] is also exploding," Ravi says. "Both of those result in fat and flabby Exchange, which is prone to corruption and problems as it gets bigger." Since Mimosa makes products for Exchange, Ravi is concerned mostly with Exchange, but the same problem occurs in any of the popular email systems.

The basic job of archiving software is to store and organize email and instant messages to take the load off the email system. This is usually done by "stubbing out" the messages—replacing the archived messages with pointers to the archiving system’s database. Beyond that, archiving software can have many different functions. I say can have because there are so many products out there with so many capabilities that it’s very hard to generalize.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020