10 (now 13!) reasons to choose MailStore over Exchange 2010 archiving

Mailstore versus Exchange banner

Before I start, don’t worry – I’m not for a minute going to disguise this an impartial and exhaustive comparison of the two offerings given our slight bias here in the direction of MailStore. I am however, asked quite often asked if I can highlight any differences so with this in mind, I’ve compiled just a handful of points that differentiate the two that may be of interest if you’re currently weighing up the various archiving options available to you.

Just in case you’re not familiar with the term, Exchange archives in 2010 are referred to as “Personal Archives”.

1.    Exchange’s archiving features require “Enterprise” Client Access Licences

If you’re not already using Enterprise CALs, you’ll need to pay the upgrade cost. MailStore requires no mail platform upgrade at all and the cost consists of a single purchase with an optional annual renewal subscription for updates and technical support.

2.    Access to an Exchange personal archive is limited to Outlook 2010 Outlook 2007/10 or OWA*

MailStore will support any of the Microsoft email clients from Outlook 2000 upwards. It also supports a number of other different access methods including:

–    Entourage and other non-Microsoft clients via the in-built IMAP server
–    Dedicated Windows-based client
–    Web client
–    iPhone Web app

*post corrected thanks to Koen who pointed out 2007 support has been available in the “Office 2007 Cumulative Update for February 2011”

3.    By default users can delete mail from a Personal Archive, compromising its integrity

This can be solved by configuring “legal hold” on an individual basis but configuring this on a per user basis is potentially very time consuming. MailStore automatically takes perfect copies of every email that is sent and received by the server (including internal mail), protecting accidental or deliberate deletion by default.

4.    Exchange 2010 is unable to archive, or prevent deletion of mail from “Public Folders”

MailStore archives and protects mail in public folders either manually or as part of a time-controlled schedule.

5.    Personal Archives aren’t available when the Exchange server is offline/ inaccessible

Users can choose to access the archive via MailStore’s built-in IMAP server, which gives the ability to pre-load email from into the client, enabling access on the move or where connectivity is limited.

6.    No de-duplication is employed for messages in a Personal Archive

MailStore de-duplicates email across users using single-instance-store and also compresses attachments. Savings of 50% over uncompressed storage are common although this can vary depending on the number and size of both messages  and attachments.

7.    Personal Archives cannot later be reassigned to other users

Particularly useful in companies with reasonably high staff turnover – MailStore offers the ability to recycle a user’s licence when they leave, create a new account and assign the historic archive of the original to one or multiple other users.

8.    Personal archives including the mail stored in them are automatically deleted when users are removed from Active Directory

This can be avoided if a Personal Archive is placed on “legal hold” however MailStore by default, never deletes the user’s archive unless it is actioned deliberately by a user with appropriate admin permissions.

9.    Mail held in the Personal Archive requires the same storage space as the original messages

Exchange doesn’t apply Single Instance Store to it’s mailboxes or it’s archived data. MailStore applies de-duplication and compression to the archive which reduces storage requirements significantly.

10.    There is no way to guarantee immutability of a Personal Archive in Exchange

We consider it fairly key that a company using archiving can be confident that when they reference mail, it’s complete and untampered with. This cannot be guaranteed when using Personal Archives. MailStore protects all messages by default, including Public Folders, there’s no risk to the integrity of the archive.

Please note that this information has been sourced from our own experience with Exchange 2010, customer feedback and material from Microsoft FAQ’s. If you’ve spotted something you don’t believe to be accurate or have additional points to add, please feel free let me know in the comments below…

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