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Cool Tip: Using GWCheck to Prepare Your GroupWise Environment for Successful Archiving - Part 1

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Messaging Architects

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Posted: 25 Jul 2006

As more and more industries become subject to legislation and regulations that require stringent retention of electronic records, it is imperative that as an IT professional in charge of GroupWise, you ensure that your collaboration system is prepared for the implementation of an archiving solution to address these requirements. Remember, email retention is a complex project that ties in with general electronic records management, and should be approached as such.

Your system configuration and environment is critical to developing an efficient archiving architecture. Factors, such as remote locations, mailbox sizes, and message volumes, have a serious impact on the design of the solution, as well as the additional infrastructure requirements that will be necessary for the deployment of the desired archiving solution.

Organizations may have remote sites and/or remote users across wide-area networks (WANs) or virtual private networks (VPNs). The critical issue is one of capacity planning. If you plan to centralize the archive repository, two questions arise:
  • How much data must be transferred across the wide-area links on a daily basis?
  • Are your wide-area links fast enough to transfer this information across without impacting current applications and processes?

Loading information and current data throughput statistics should be available from your infrastructure group or router management company to determine current capacity. Ensure that when calculating available capacity, you take into consideration business critical applications, such as real-time transactions, and the impact additional data might have on these processes.

A critical piece of information to help determine your storage architecture needs is how much data needs to be archived and where is it. In the case of GroupWise, running a statistical check on the PO will provide details on the number of messages and average message size. These two numbers will provide metrics on the data that is currently sitting in your message repository and an accurate indication of the amount of uncompressed storage that will be required for archiving.

GroupWise has a maintenance function called GWCHECK that runs either from ConsoleOne or as a stand-alone maintenance utility. GWCHECK can perform a Statistical Analysis for your POs. Run this job for each PO that will be published. Set the threshold to look at all mailboxes with over 50 items; this parameter can be reduced for POs with very large numbers of users. The resulting report will have a summary displayed as shown below:

Any archiving solution that you implement won't possess the same level of storage efficiency as the original GroupWise system, especially if you conform to the corporate requirement of keeping archived data easily accessible and hence stored in non-native, non-compressed format. GWCHECK is a particularly useful tool to assess your real needs for storage. Because the program actually estimates this total by evaluating each mailbox individually, it counts duplicate attachments, as well as items contained within shared folders, thus providing an estimate that is probably the maximum.

Estimate for future expansion. Industry analysts estimate between a 50-100% growth in email volume per year. Since the PO may already contain multiple years' worth of data, a general rule of thumb is to estimate 50% of the current required space over the next 12-18 months. Based on this assumption, the estimated requirements for future expansion for the example above would be:

Average Message Length x Total Items x 1.5 = 46GB of required storage

Additionally, you need to take into account daily message volumes. Determine daily message volumes using the same approach by running daily statistical checks and recording the daily message volume increase over a 7-day period.

Next week, we will demonstrate how to use the GWCHECK function to assess system usage in the context of email attachments.

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