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Learn from Your Peers: Email Retention Management with GWArchive at Univ. of Florida

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Messaging Architects

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Posted: 9 Oct 2007

For the past couple of weeks GroupWise expert and GWArchive architect Greg Smith offered advice on email retention in the education sector and discussed a typical email archiving scenario for educational institutions with GWArchive. Today, we are featuring a real-life case study from Education on their experience with GWArchive.

Designing and Deploying an Integrated Email Archiving Solution at the College of Dentistry, University of Florida


The University of Florida is Florida's oldest, largest and most comprehensive university and among the nation's most academically diverse public institutions. It is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities that belongs to the Association of American Universities. The College of Dentistry has about 900 faculty and staff users who rely on Novell GroupWise for their collaboration system. At the beginning of the year, the school began the implementation of email archiving to address the needs for access to information and legal discovery, as well as contain the explosive increase of storage accompanying the exponential growth of email. They expect to complete the project by mid-2008. Read about their experience in this undertaking.

Reclaiming the GroupWise Message Store and Proactively Addressing Access to Information Mandates

The decision to introduce an archiving solution arose as a direct result of the fact that the College of Dentistry was quickly running out of storage. The size of their GroupWise Post Office was 250 GB; had it been any other email system this would have spelled disaster, but GroupWise was able to sustain this message store. Yet, measures had to be taken.

Monte Meyer, Systems Administrator, explains the situation, "We were running out of storage and this became the main driver to consider an archiving solution. At the same time, we were also aware that email constitutes an electronic record that can be subpoenaed in cases of litigation and being able to find these records was something that would serve us well. From a compliance perspective, we need to meet the requirements of the Florida Sunshine Laws with respect to access to information, and as a healthcare entity, we are also bound by the privacy requirements of HIPAA."

All these factors resulted in planning an email retention policy and its gradual rollout to all faculty and administrative staff. The decision was made to retain 100% of the email for a period of 7 years. Since there had been no prior formalized mechanism in place, the archiving project was going to be implemented in phases. The first step was identifying and migrating all email accounts and personal archives of inactive users to the central archive repository. As a next step, active users would be notified of the newly introduced retention policy and be advised as to acceptable usage of their business email. Once archiving began, faculty and staff would still have access to their archives through GroupWise WebAccess. In other words, as far as the end users were concerned, the archiving process would be transparent.

Implementing a Total Solution with GWArchive and EMC Centera

To deploy their archiving solution the College of Dentistry selected GWArchive, which was able to address all their retention needs in an automated fashion. GWArchive?s migration utility enabled old GroupWise personal archives to be transferred to the new centralized storage repository. As the project enters the next phase, the GWArchive Policy engine will allow College of Dentistry IT administrators to create the respective archiving policies that will not only automatically archive all messages, but will also automatically delete those emails once the retention limit of 7 years is reached.

The other benefit GWArchive offered was its ability to integrate very easily with EMC Centera, which is used at the College of Dentistry. "The setup and configuration between GWArchive and the EMC Centera was very easy," explains Meyer. "I created a Windows-type file share on the EMC Centera that the GWArchive server was able to access and archive email messages and attachments to. The Centera is a very scalable storage system, so this solution addresses not only the present situation, but also looks into the future, as it is certain that email will continue to grow."

"Overall, my experience with GWArchive has been very positive and I am certain that by deciding to implement an email archiving solution proactively, before we are actually mandated to do so, will pay off in the long run, save us money should the need for electronic discovery arise, and bring us peace of mind and protect our reputation as a solid academic institution," concludes Meyer.

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