Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2010-07-22 16:37:32  If inquiries are a good indication (and I like to think they are), then archiving is picking up even more steam.  By most estimates, the archiving market is already a $1 billion + one, so the fact that it’s growing is good news for vendors – and it’s good news for end-users, too.  The inquiries I’m getting lately are much more advanced and granular than the questions I used to get in the past, which points to customers moving up the learning curve and focusing on what will make archiving initiatives successful.In the past, clients looked at archiving as a way to reduce storage costs or to make email server management easier.  Archiving promised to do both those things – though very rarely did it ever deliver storage costs savings in addition to the eDiscovery and user access benefits that were promised.  In reality, most organizations that implemented archiving found that storage costs went up because they were keeping more data.  Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – keeping more data makes sense when that data is valuable.  And, keeping it on a lower tier of storage or a protected tier of storage can keep costs from rising as much as they otherwise would while protecting against risk.Still, though, many organizations have been disappointed by the lack of storage cost savings from archiving initiatives.  It wasn’t that long ago that people started to predict the death of email archiving with arguments like, “storage is cheap.”  But the archiving market has persevered due to eDiscovery and compliance drivers, as well the emergence of cloud-based archiving.  That archiving can ease elements of eDiscovery and compliance has long been known.  But, cloud-based archiving is the piece that may finally unlock puzzle by adding true storage costs savings.When I was an analyst with Forrester Research back in 2008, I evaluated cloud-based archiving solutions and concluded that none of the solutions on the market at that time were ready to handle the needs of large organizations.  At the time, most vendors were providing storage for only those emails specifically under regulatory scrutinty…or the vendors stored messages of small and medium sized businesses.  Some of the vendors didn’t even have a concept of end-user access to email, which is really a major requirement of archiving.  Fast forward 2.5 years and there has been a lot of evolution.Cloud-based archiving providers offer virtually all the features of on-premise archiving – eDiscovery search interface; end-user access to email; compliance monitoring interface; storage management; legal hold.  About the only thing cloud-based vendors don’t offer is mailbox management (stubbing)…and with the introduction of Microsoft Exchange 2010 to the market, the need for mailbox management is virtually dead.  Still, though, there are valid concerns with cloud-based archiving – security; location of data; encryption; regulatory or legal requirements to store certain data on-premise; speed of document retrieval.As a result, there is a lot of interest in hybrid on-premise / cloud-based archiving solutions.  These offer the control associated with on-premise software in addition to the cost savings associated with the cloud.  Now, in theory, I’m all for this – it just makes too much sense.  The market is moving in this direction, as evidenced by the Iron Mountain acquisition of Mimosa.  The question is, though – will hybrid solutions realistically take off the way they should in theory?  I say yes because the inquiries I’m getting on the subject show that clients are thinking through not only the strategy for making cloud-based archiving work, but the tactics, too.  For example, I’m getting a lot of questions about how information actually gets transferred from an on-premise software solution to the cloud.  Some clients are okay with putting that data on an encrypted hard drive and shipping it to their cloud vendor for import.  Others want a direct upload from their location to the cloud via VPN.  There will be bumps in the road – security and bandwidth are the topics folks are looking at right now (and that I will be exploring in greater detail over the coming weeks).  The other issue is matching metadata shemas between on-premise deployments and cloud solutions.  In order to meet eDiscovery and compliance requirements, the cloud-based solutions will need to keep a clean copy of the information (including all metadata and anything else associated with the info, like a legal hold).Have experience with this?  Let me know, as I’m in the process of further research.  Cloud-based archiving and hybrid on-premise / cloud-based solutions are here to stay, so we might as well get them right!

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