Migrating Email Archives the Right Way

Posted by Admin • November 13, 2015

Migrating data from your old email archive is not a simple matter… that is if you want to do it right. The complexity of email archive migration is influenced by the following questions:

  1. How much data is in the email archive and how much do you want to migrate?
  2. What was archived? Just emails, emails and attachments, contacts/notes/tasks/appointments/public folders?
  3. Could any of the archived email be relevant to current or anticipated litigation?
  4. Are any of the archived emails subject to regulatory retention requirements?
  5. Do you want to migrate all of the archived email data to another repository or do you want to take the opportunity to defensibly dispose of data no longer needed?
  6. What’s the structure of the archived documents; i.e. was the email content converted into a custom format such as “containers?”
  7. How much enterprise bandwidth is available and at what times of the day/night?

These are all questions that need to be addressed before you purchase a solution or contract with a migration provider to do it for you.

Let’s take a look at the first question; “How much data is in the email archive and how much do you want to migrate?” This is an important question in that it will force you to address questions 1 through 5 by thinking about what’s actually in the archive, what should be migrated, and why. This will also give you an idea of how long the actual migration will take.

If you’ve decided to migrate data out of an old email archive then a best practice would be to migrate everything out so it can be analyzed to determine what content should be kept for business reasons, for regulatory compliance reasons, and for legal responsibilities, and what can be disposed of.

Many with old email archives have in the past chosen specific email boxes to migrate and have left the rest in the email archive, with plans to shut it down later. This is a dangerous strategy as we’ve mentioned in previous blogs. Shutting down an old email archive with data still in it doesn’t resolve you from potential regulatory or legal orders to go back and recover that data. The legally defensible process to follow is to migrate all data out and analyze the content for legal and regulatory requirements. Documenting that content analysis frees you up to defensibly dispose of the remaining content. A side note: be sure to delete all data in the archive after the migration so as to head off an overzealous attorney from trying to force you to recover it later.

In reality, the best practice is to migrate all content out of the email archive for analysis before its put somewhere else.

This also answers the question about how long the migration could take to accomplish. The industry standard speed for this type of migration is about 300 GB of data per day. That might seem pretty fast but if you are looking at an email archive with 10 TB of data, then 300 GB a day would take a little over 1 month (33.33 days – 7 days a week) – not really optimum these days. Some email archive migration vendors have improved on this migration rate shortening the migration timeframe.

Archive360 is setting the standard in the industry with the ability to accurately migrate more than 1TB per day of archived data.   Looking at the above example, Archive360’s Archive 2-Anywhere solution would be able to migrate the same 10 TB of data in less than 10 days, a 70 percent or more improvement in time to migrate. This can be a real cost and productivity saver for IT. If you’d like to see your archived data migrated at top speeds, contact Archive360.