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Understanding and Managing GroupWise Archives

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Dave Muldoon

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Posted: 28 Jul 2005
 

One of the most useful features of GroupWise is the ability to archive data for future use. The GroupWise archiving feature is often misunderstood by end users and even some GroupWise administrators. In order to help provide some insight to the potential of archiving, and some of the advantages and pitfalls I've put together this short article.

How to Archive - GroupWise Cleanup Settings:

From within the GroupWise client application, navigate the Tools menu -- options -- clicking on the Environment icon -- Cleanup tab (pictured below). This screen is where the archive process for each of the message item types is defined. For example Mail and Phone items can be managed differently than Trash or other item types. These settings are managed by the end-user (with few exceptions). Many users choose to auto-archive items and then forget about these settings. NOTE: In order to successfully manage the archive, the end-user must understand their organization's retention policies. If items are in need of archival, they should be archived prior to any system cleanup options run by the administrator or they will be lost.

As items are archived, they are removed from the GroupWise mailbox or folders and placed into an offline file system that is accessible only by the user who has archived them. The items are stored in the same folder structure as the Online account.

Where to put the archive:

The most common question or concern for users to where to store the archive. In most organizations, user's workstations are not backed up by the administrator. This likely situation creates a rather difficult decision for both administrators and users. Therefore, if the user stores the archive on their local PC ("c" drive) and something happens to the PC that causes the user to lose the directory structure it becomes unavailable to the user. This means that if the directory was inadvertently deleted, became corrupt or if the PC was replaced, lost or stolen the data is no longer available to user and in many cases cannot be retrieved or recovered. Additionally, if the archive becomes damaged, support staff will need access to the archive data in attempt to repair it. Although if the user stores the file on the local PC, if the PC is mobile such as a laptop, the archive always travels with the user, making it available in the Remote and Cache modes of the GroupWise client.

Another common location that archives get stored to is the user's home directory on the file server (this drive letter is often above the letters D or E). There may be advantages to the end user by storing the archive in this location. The main advantage is that network drives are most often backed up by the system administrator. Because of this, if the archive is damaged, or accidentally deleted, very often the data can be restored by the administrator. In addition, if the data becomes corrupt, it is accessible by the administrative tools to be repaired by support staff. The biggest disadvantage to administrators in having users store their archive on the network server is that they are backed up - which equates to a longer backup time, potentially more tapes used and a certain liability to the organization as a whole.

Regardless of personal preference by users, the system administrator and the organization may have a policy as to where this should go and how it should be treated. To be sure that your data is protect and position best, check with your system administrator.

Accessing the GroupWise Archive:

There are two ways to access the GroupWise Archive data. Both access methods provide the same level of functionality to the user. The first access method is by navigating the File menu; choosing File - Open Archive. This will cause the GroupWise client to look into the drive and file location that was configured in the Cleanup are mentioned above.

Important Note: GroupWise archives do not have a Sent Items folder by default. A user can create one by executing the following steps:

  1. Navigate the File menu to New - Folder
  2. Click on Find Results Folder
  3. Click on "predefined folders" radio button
  4. Select "Sent Items"
  5. Click the next button
  6. Click the finish button. That should provide the proper folder to display Sent Items stored within the archive.

The second way to access the archive is to click on the little red person icon located at the top of the left pane in the client application (shown below) and selecting the Archive option.

To change the client from presenting data from the archive location, back to the Online, Remote or Cache mode view, the user can follow either of the processes used to access the archive.

Archive Size and Data Recommendation:

This process is not required for archives to function successfully, however by having some type of process for managing the size and content of the archive will most likely prove useful for users as they continue to utilize the archive throughout the coming years.

In order to manage GroupWise archive data over an extended period it may be necessary to create a new archive directories. These archive directories and structure are outlined below. In order to manage multiple archives, there are some procedures that should be followed.

It is recommended that the archives be managed based upon a time period such as what has been outline in the figure below - yearly. This directory structure allows the overall size of the archive to be managed by year along with being accessible through the client interface via the same intervals. What needs to be understood is that each of these directories will be comprised of a separate archive, and managed only through the GroupWise client application.

It is because of this that I provide the following as a recommendation. At the end of each year, users can create a new folder representing the upcoming year. In the above example the new folder would sequentially be 2006. Once this folder is added, the GroupWise client should then be configured to begin archiving data to the new folder.

Once these folders have been setup, the GroupWise client must be configured to access the specific archive directory. This process is handled manually and must be carefully managed to avoid creating archives that hold data that they shouldn't according to your needs or file system structure. To change the client to the 2006 folder from the above example, use the following process:

  1. From within the GroupWise client application, navigate the Tools menu -- options -- clicking on the Environment icon -- File Location tab. The following window will be displayed:




  2. To begin archiving to the new folder, change the Archive directory path, by clicking on the folder icon to the right and navigating to the desired directory (i.e. 2006).


  3. Once this folder is selected, click OK to return to the File Location screen.


  4. Clicking OK again (to close the Environment window), will result in a pop-up window. Answer NO to this pop-up window to avoid having the archive directories merged




Using the GroupWise Client to Access the Directory Structure:

After some time, you will begin to have multiple folders representing various years of GroupWise data. When these older archives need to be accessed, the GroupWise client needs to be configured to point to one of the previous archive directories. To do this, you can follow a process similar to the above, with one very important addition...

  1. From within the GroupWise client application, navigate the Tools menu -- options -- clicking on the Environment icon -- File Location tab.


  2. Change the Archive directory path to point to the year/folder that you wish to review. To do this, click on the folder icon to the right and navigating to the desired directory (i.e. 2004).


  3. Once this folder is selected, click OK to return to the File Location screen.


  4. Clicking OK again (to close the Environment window), will result in a pop-up window. Answer NO to this pop-up window to avoid having the archive directories merged.



    In this example, the GroupWise client will access the data from the 2004 folder, when the File - Open Archive menu is activated. Once you have finished with the information from the 2004 archive there is one very important step:


  5. Navigate the Tools menu -- options -- clicking on the Environment icon -- File Location tab and change the Archive directory path back to the current year. This allows for data in the online/production mailbox to be archived to the current folder/year.

Summary

Hopefully this article has helped clarify some of the capabilities and situations that surround the GroupWise archive functionality. It is always my goal to try to provide users and administrators with as much information as possible to make them aware of how GroupWise can increase efficiency through unlocking some of it's features.

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