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MailArchiva: Open source email archiving for Exchange Server

An open source product called MailArchiva has recently entered the Exchange Server email archiving space with a feature set that looks quite comparable to many for-pay applications.

Exchange Server administrators have myriad reasons for wanting to keep archives of all email in their organiza...

tion.

The best way to accomplish this is through one of the many third-party email archiving products specifically written for Exchange Server.

An open source product called MailArchiva has recently entered this space with a feature set that looks quite comparable to for-pay applications. The program can be downloaded and used freely, with support plans available for purchase on a sliding cost scale.

Unlike some other email archiving solutions out there, MailArchiva does not use a standalone database to store email. Email is spooled into MailArchiva via Exchange Server's own journaling function and stored as standalone files in RFC format, albeit triple-DES encrypted to prevent casual snooping.

This was done to avoid two problems:

  • The cost of maintaining the database (including the possible cost of using a proprietary data-storage solution)
  • The integrity of the data itself, which can be directly supported by the file system

The code for decrypting the archived email is readily available, although you must have the administrator-assigned password used to encrypt it in the first place.

MailArchiva is administered and operated through a Web browser, so no specific client is required. It recognizes Windows Active Directory credentials for its logons.

Email can be archived by creating highly granular rules such as regex matches. Attachments are also archived and many common attachment formats can be searched through MailArchiva's interface.

Employees can get access to their own email archives, if it's needed or required, and the resulting archives can be stored across multiple hard disks.

Unfortunately, since MailArchiva uses Exchange Server journaling, single-instance storage is not preserved for messages. For some companies, this is not an issue. But if disk space is a concern for your organization, you should be aware that the use of journaling can cause the size of the spooled email archive to be much larger than the original.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Insight.

MEMBER FEEDBACK TO THIS EXCHANGE ARCHIVING TIP

MailArchiva is now out in a new version and includes support for many languages.
—Kay Z., from Germany

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This was last published in November 2006

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