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Microsoft Exchange Protection For Essex Court Chambers

C2C Systems : 13 May, 2010  (Application Story)
Barristers' Chamber takes ArchiveOne from C2C for the protection of E-mail data in Microsoft Exchange environment
C2C has announced that Essex Court Chambers, based in Lincoln's Inn Fields, has selected ArchiveOne to manage their growing Microsoft Exchange environment. Essex Court Chambers is a leading set of Barristers' Chambers specialising in commercial, international and European law. Its seventy five barristers advise and act in a broad range of litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution worldwide.

The Chambers provide all aspects of infrastructure for its members, from building space to Human Resources, to Accounts to IT support. Each barrister is self-employed, and as such, has their own dedicated office space within the five Chamber buildings. For the past seven years, Russ Brown has been the Chambers' Head of IT, providing all aspects of support from telephones to fax and copiers to email and network support. Within his role, Russ is also responsible for procurement and provisioning of new systems to ensure the future smooth running of the Chambers.

In terms of email infrastructure, with the assistance of MMR UK (who are specialists in the recommendation of systems within the legal profession and who provide Chambers with high level IT Support services), Russ recently oversaw migration of the 160 mailboxes from Microsoft Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010. The mailboxes are all stored within the Lincoln's Inn Fields premises with a replicated Disaster Recovery site located in Buckinghamshire.

Prior to the installation of an archiving solution, users were restricted to an individual mailbox size of 5GB. Users were alerted when their mailboxes became oversized and IT then had to take remedial action with the individual user, cleaning up and deleting old emails. Frequently to avoid the restrictions, users would take matters into their own hands, randomly transferring email into PST files. This caused issues as Microsoft Exchange only supports up to 2GB PST files, and if files were left open throughout scheduled backups, not only could the file become corrupted, open PST files could trigger the backup to crash. In this litigious environment, backups could not be left to chance.

In his time at the Chambers, as well as the growth in PST files, Russ has noticed a distinct growth in the size of email attachments. He notes, "Barristers and the legal profession as a whole used to be totally reliant on post and fax to secure all communications. Today, we receive only a handful of faxes. In our Chambers we often have teams of barristers working on one case (and often acting on opposing sides), so an individual case can generate literally hundreds of emails that need to be shared, stored and accessed securely." Intensive digitally generated images and PDFs to support cases as attachments have also exponentially increased the email store in recent years.
In January, under guidance from newly accredited C2C partner, MMR, the Team took the opportunity to re-evaluate the effectiveness and weak points of their entire environment. With consultation and deliverance from MMR Senior Project Manager, Glen Sames, Russ took the decision to implement an archiving solution to assist the migration from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010. At the same time it was decided to implement a virtual environment with a VMware ESX VSphere Virtual Infrastructure that would run Exchange across a 4TB Storage Area Network (SAN). The archive solution would need to ease the size of the mailbox store down from 685GB and stop widespread PST file usage.

MMR recommended the use of C2C's ArchiveOne and arranged for an onsite demo in Autumn 2009. The entire system was configured and designed using specialist consultants from MMR and C2C. Not only was the resultant recommended solution within budget and proven to work seamlessly with Exchange 2010, but it carried all of the features that Chambers required, along with a flexible, easy-to-use GUI.

One stop installation with the help of MMR and C2C took less than a day with data being stored into individual annual repositories (there are now 16 in total, spanning from 2000 to 2016). These silos have been set up to be created automatically each year.

The 160 mailbox users now benefit from easy-to-use search and retrieval. Before the installation of ArchiveOne, users relied on Google desktop to search through — in some cases — in excess of 20,000 emails on their individual stores, which was frequently inaccurate and very time consuming. Now they use the indexing within Outlook and can pull items displaying the 'A' for archive symbol from the ArchiveOne store within seconds.

Utilizing the inherent compression tools within ArchiveOne, the size of the email store has decreased significantly, from 685GB to 232GB. This, together with the eradication of cumbersome PST files, has meant significant improvements in terms of the general speed and performance of Exchange. In addition, downtime of the Exchange server both scheduled and unplanned is now less of an issue. So vast was the size of the information store that previously just shutting down the Exchange server used to take half an hour. Russ comments. "We experienced a significant crash with the Exchange server last year and users were negatively impacted. Now with ArchiveOne and no PST files to trip up the system, the whole system has become more efficient, faster and more reliable. Tasks that used to take minutes are now executed seamlessly in seconds. "

The enhancements of the entire infrastructure including ArchiveOne and those improvements gleaned from virtualising physical to virtual servers and de-duping within the SAN, has significantly improved management. A lot of the manual intensive administration tasks can now be conducted remotely including migration, patches and adding new users. For instance, within ArchiveOne, options are preset to allow users to be seamlessly moved to the archive.

And for the future, ArchiveOne has set the cornerstone for a full compliance procedure within the organisation as files can now be demonstrably and securely stored and quickly accessed and retrieved.

"PST files were undoubtedly problematic and unreliable," comments Russ. "Just the ability to have greater control has been a significant bonus, but with the management, flexibility and scalability that ArchiveOne brings, we are able to bring out another dimension to Exchange performance for our members
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