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Using Microsoft Azure to Transform Email Journaling

With over 130 TBs of journaled email accumulated in an on-premises archive, it was starting to take upwards of two weeks for the IT team at one of the UK's largest IT services suppliers to perform searches on behalf of the legal team.


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Unified data governance & eDiscovery in Azure using HubStor & TransVault

The time lines involved in responding to eDiscovery searches were proving to be a huge drain on resources.

Additionally, the IT team was consumed with maintaining their legacy email archive service, which involved optimising the underlying SQL Server and resource-hungry search servers, as well as managing archive backups.

According to the Group Platforms Lead Architect,

“Unacceptable search times and support overheads, along with costly maintenance renewals and an imminent hardware refresh meant it was time to explore an alternative to our on-premises archive. The optimal solution would need to fit with our cloud digital transformation strategy. It should also provide an ongoing journal store for Office 365.”

The Joint Solution

Following a recommendation from UK & EMEA Systems Integrator, Cloud Essentials, the client selected the HubStor cloud data management platform that would run in their own private Microsoft Azure tenancy. This solution was delivered in conjunction with the archive migration solution, TransVault.

Delivered in any Azure region, HubStor offers a scalable SaaS solution for email journaling along with managed storage, content indexing, data governance and eDiscovery.

By simply configuring Office 365 Journal Rules, a single-instanced journal stream can be captured by HubStor’s high-availability SMTP service and stored in Azure. In addition to fully managed storage, the solution offers fast eDiscovery search and export with role-based access control and auditing.

TransVault was pivotal to ensuring the contents of the client’s extremely large, legacy archive could be quickly and securely moved from their proprietary archive format into the HubStor repository.

David Kellett, Technical Director at Cloud Essentials commented, “Given the amount of data involved, migration speed was important, as was the ability to maintain retention categories and govern the order in which journal data was migrated. In this case we started with the most recently journal content as this is what is more often included in eDiscovery.”

HubStor is now actively being used to journal Office 365 mail for over 13,000 mailboxes, meanwhile TransVault is being used to migrate the on-premises journal into HubStor, starting with the most recent records first.

The retention policies that had been applied in the on-premises archive were also transferred as part of the migration service, with HubStor’s data governance ensuring that when the retention expiry date is reached, data can be automatically deleted (with appropriate input and review as needed).

The combined the solution cost was significantly less than that of maintaining and working with the incumbent email archive platform. Importantly, the solution is enabling the company to deliver a much faster response to eDiscovery requests involving email.

Concluded the Group Platforms Lead Architect,

“The business benefits of this solution are significant. It has allowed us to avoid significant software maintenance and manpower costs in keeping our on-premises archive and search software running, as well as the expense of a hardware refresh. We are now considering the use of HubStor for other workloads, including using it to archive One Drive for Business sites as users leave the organisation. We will also explore it for retiring our on-premises file servers. The ability to manage data retention and deliver powerful searching to those that need it, makes it an attractive and flexible proposition for getting the most out of Azure.”

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