September 17, 2009, 4:17 PM — Disk space is cheap, but that doesn't mean it's free. By archiving old email and attachments, you can reestablish room for new messages, saving the cost of new drives. But even better, your server performance could improve, and you could gain other supplemental benefits.
An archiving tool moves old messages off of your main email server into a different storage area. Your email traffic should flow more efficiently for routine messages, plus you can have more room in daily use. You'll probably only need to retrieve old messages once in a while, so those are offloaded to another location, accessible through a search function or directly in your mail application.
C2C's ArchiveOne Express distills that company's enterprise email archive software into a small- and medium-sized business tool. It's aimed at businesses with 20-200 employees, interfacing with your Exchange server.
C2C says that companies with few IT employees--or only contract tech help--could implement the system. Users might not even notice a change, since their Outlook boxes will look just the same as before; it might just take a moment longer to access years-old messages. Even iPhones and BlackBerry devices will be able to access all of the old mail.
If you need to manually search for archived email, a console tool digs through all possible locations. In addition to this basic archiving, ArchiveOne Express can enable online backups to save copies of old messages offsite; and you can save an additional copy of every email message to your secure server to meet regulatory requirements.
You'll save minimally versus the cost of expanding the size of your Exchange server. But since you streamline the amount of mail it holds, the Exchange server's performance could improve. Depending on how weighed down it had been, you might get new life out of the old hardware.
By offloading old messages from your Exchange server into an archive, you can create more storage space and speed up the server's performance. You'll have to weigh your specific benefits against the cost of ArchiveOne Express--about $40/user. But with a heavy mail volume, you might end up saving in the end.
Zack Stern is building a new business from San Francisco, where he frequently contributes to PC World.