Should I Back Up My Email Archive?

July 31, 2017 by Jatheon

Imagine you just bought a digital data archiving appliance. Your email messages, IM chats and corporate social media posts are finally compliant and safe. Safer than ever. Yes, but how much do you know about your archiving solution? And is it necessary to back it up?

A top-notch email archiving solution is built to last

A really good archiving solution is made with server grade hardware and is built to endure continual use and the heavy workload of enterprises. With components such as server grade chipsets, the error-proof ECC RAM, resistant SAS hard drives, RAID array and redundant power supply, you’re pretty much covered.

Here’s a quick illustration. Enterprises use RAID arrays to distribute data across the drives so that you can still retrieve your data from the remaining drives in case one or more storage units fail. A redundant power supply contains two or more power units, so if one of them fails, the other can seamlessly take over and keep the appliance going. In other words, your archiving device is built in such a way that the possibility of disaster is reduced to a minimum.

Your archiving device is built in such a way that the possibility of disaster is reduced to a minimum Click To Tweet

Hope for the best, plan for the worst

Seems your data is pretty safe, but what do you do in an unlikely, but catastrophic event such as fire or a sudden power outage? Does your archive need backup? Well, yes it does.

It should undergo full backup after the initial ingestion of data. As you probably know, a full backup is a copy, a sort of a snapshot of your entire data. It is typically not performed very often as it is time-consuming and requires a lot of storage space.

After the initial backup, your archiving appliance will automatically copy the data that has changed since the last backup operation. This is called incremental backup, and it is used to make sure you always have the latest image of your messages on your backup server. It’s very easy to back up the appliance using NFS. You should specify the intervals in which you want backup to be performed (e.g. hourly or daily) and then the messages that came in since the last backup will be copied to a backup drive in a single binary file. This allows data to be sent and restored much faster and prevents potential network issues which could come up if you copied millions of files separately.

More good news! If the appliance becomes unresponsive for any reason, your data will still be completely safe. It will be kept on your email server in accordance with the local retention policy. For instance, Exchange allows up to 72 hours by default. This is more than enough time to safely redirect journaling to a local mailbox and resolve the problem with the archiver.

With backup, your data will be safe even if the appliance becomes unresponsive. Click To Tweet

To read about why you need an archiving appliance with server grade hardware, read this eBook. For more info on email archiving and backup, schedule a demo with Jatheon today.

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