London private hire car business Addison Lee has reduced the amount of storage needed for its Microsoft Exchange mailbox stores from 75 GB to 5 GB, slashed backup windows from 12 hours to one and avoided spending around £50,000 on hardware, software and services to deal with email sprawl.
Addison Lee achieved these efficiencies in its storage infrastructure by deploying Mimosa Systems' NearPoint email archiving product.
Addison Lee operates 2,000 vehicles in London and has to store GPS location-tracking information, text messages and voice recordings of client contacts. In early 2008, the company's storage infrastructure was further stretched due to an issue with its Exchange servers. "We record every conversation on phone and radio and text with drivers and customers," said Paul Caney, IT manager for Addison Lee, "so we had a big hole in our records when it came to email, of which we didn't have a full, searchable record."
"Exchange Server has a 75 GB per server mailbox store limit," Caney added. "We were approaching that limit and were faced with having to pay £10,000 to get another one up and running just to handle the storage requirement."
Imposing mailbox size limits had not worked and the situation was so chaotic that in one case Addison Lee discovered one of its largest accounts had not paid its bills for three months. The company found that it was sending invoices to the wrong email address because the request to change the email address to which invoices were sent had been inadvertently deleted.
Backups were also becoming a problem, with backup windows sometimes running up to 12 hours in duration. Furthermore, employee mailbox performance was being degraded by the servers being run so close to their limits.
Caney's team evaluated email archiving products such as NearPoint, Symantec's Enterprise Vault and CA's Message Manager. They chose NearPoint, which provides automated email archiving with single instancing across the three Exchange servers.
The implementation has allowed Addison Lee to reduce the size of the Exchange server mailbox stores from 75 GB down to as little as 5 GB each and Caney expects backup windows to fall from around 12 hours to just one hour. This allows the company to complete backups in quiet times during the small hours when business drops to its minimum.
Apart from performance and operational efficiencies, Caney estimates deploying NearPoint will save it £50,000 in hardware, software and the incremental cost of remote backup by avoiding having to deploy more Exchange servers.
Caney chose Mimosa because NearPoint was the easiest to deploy and manage. "Some of the competing products we looked at would have required us to employ a specialist on a higher salary in order to run them," he said.
"I didn't like the way the Symantec product kept more than one instance of some emails," he added. "Our main challenge was storage capacity and we didn't want to be keeping more than we needed. Also it seemed complicated to manage. We're only a small department and we couldn't afford the extra staff needed."