Archive for the ‘Outlook Archiving’ category

Issues with Outlook Default Archiving

May 14, 2010

Microsoft Outlook has default email archiving capability.  Check the link below which provides a detailed step by step way to archive the emails within Outlook.

http://email.about.com/od/outlooktips/qt/et_archive_mail.htm

But having said this, it doesn’t mean I recommend anyone to use the default Outlook Email Archiving feature. Though its a out of box solution which comes as part of the user Microsoft Outlook licensing it has its problem. Though the choice is completely on the user, I would take next couple of paragraphs to list out my criticism of the entire Outlook Email Archiving solution.

One of the first point I would like to bring is the storage technology that is used by Outlook. The Outlook creates another PST file for the archived emails. The emails are deleted from the original PST file. All these happens without any notification to the end user. It was shocking experience for me when I did it first time. There were many surprising things that happen.

Once the archiving completed. There archive pst is loaded on the Outlook. If the user have to search fro something in the email archive they have to first select the archive pst file and then perform the search. This is where the email archiving vendors make the task easier for the end user. Even though Outlook have such solution but I always would recommend to look for 3rd party email archiving solution.

Reduce the PST Size through Email Archiving

May 14, 2010

One of the most important aspect of Email Archiving is to reduce the size of the original Outlook PST file. The Email Archiving solution should be able to offload the content of the Outlook PST file. Outlook performs the best if the size of the PST is under a limited size otherwise as it grows there is effect of the size on the overall performance of the Outlook.

Email Archiving solution should use light weight database to stores the content of the Outlook Emails. There are solution which can come with requirement to install third party database like Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL Server, I would rather suggest you that you should ignore such products as the cost of third party database will be more than the actual email archiving product. It is recommended for the vendor to use embedded database for their product which doesn’t require any installation of third part database software.

The question does come that how to ensure data is stored in a safe repository, what happen if the storage in which the archived data is stored gets corrupted. My suggestion to vendor will be atleast give a thought to it instead of completely ignoring the question. This is important question and should be carefully answered.

Another important aspect to verify with the  email archiving solution vendor is that how do they ensure the email data cannot be touched. Whether they are storing the email content in database or somewhere else. This is very important factor as many laws prohibit the tampering of the email content in any form.

Search Features in Email Archiving Solution

May 13, 2010

The most important feature for any email archiving solution for Outlook is SEARCH. There is no second thought that if the email archiving solution doesn’t have a powerful search in terms

  1. Features
  2. Performance

Then such solution should just not only considered but they also should be treated as OBSOLETE.

Features

Search Within Content:

Any email archiving solution should without any failure SHOULD provide search within content of the email. This include

  1. Body of the Email Message.
  2. Subject of the Message.
  3. Sender Email Address
  4. Receiver Email Address

User SHOULD be able to perform free text based search. The email archiving solution should provide the results based on matching terms. User are used to Google Search so providing such search will only increase the usability of the product.

Search Within Attachments

One of the most important feature is providing free text based search within the contents of the attachments including the file name. Not only the email should come in result due to presence of the search words within the attachments but also the email archiving product should provide proper highlighting feature to allow user to understand which attachment have the search words. This is really a chaos situation where an email is part of search result but the product doesn’t highlight the attachment which has those relevant words.

Search Based on Dates

Providing search based on dates allow user to narrow down the search on the huge email archiving store. This is really a good feature to have for an email archiving solution provider.

Search Based on Folders

This may not be a necessary feature but to provide an ability to include or exclude folders will help user narrow down the search.

Outlook Archiving: Need of the Hour

May 13, 2010

Email Archiving is becoming a alternative for Email Backup solution. From the days where we would take a backup of the emails or the Outlook PST file and forget about it and then again load when we need them again. Even though it serve the primary purpose of the offloading the old emails and reducing the size of the PST file. It may not be the right solution.

Email Archiving is today’s need and user should understand why this is important for them. Archiving will allow the email content within the PST to be stored on a separate repository say a database but also at the same time ensure the primary objective of reducing of PST file is also served.

Apart from the basic feature, email archiving also brings some of the coolest feature that a user can ever imagine with backup solution

  1. Search within the archived emails.
  2. Search based on text such as body, subject or receiver or sender.
  3. Search on attachment contents.
  4. Restore the particular data from archive in a Outlook PST form.
  5. Complete historical recording of each archived data.
  6. Respond to email such forward an email from the archive store.

The above is some of the common features that is expected from modern day email archiving solution for Outlook.