Veritas Exchanges Attachments for Space

Veritas Software Corp. is pointing to Exchange servers as a source of data bloat: Old mail and attachments can make the server a weak link in the enterprise chain. Because the problem is rooted in the ways mail is used, either modifying user behavior or a software solution is needed to streamline Exchange's operation.

Veritas ( unveiled its Veritas Remote Storage for Microsoft Exchange as an answer. Aimed at IT managers wanting to streamline messaging systems, the storage solution also manages backup and recovery, reducing Exchange server downtime.

Veritas notes that users frequently leave old e-mail undeleted, regardless of how infrequently they read them. In a large organization, it doesn’t take long for the backlog to become enormous.

"Seventy-five to 95 percent of Exchange Server [data] is attachments," says Jeff Drescher, vice president of marketing at Veritas. Veritas presumed that most of the these attachments, data heavy files like PowerPoint slides and Word documents, could be moved off the server with a minimum of muss.

The Veritas solution opens up new nooks and crannies for squirreling e-mail away. Since outside of shock therapy, it is unlikely that IT managers will be able to change end users’ pack-rat behavior.

Dan Tanner, senior analyst at Aberdeen Group Inc. (, agrees.

"One of the key areas in consuming disk space is Exchange." When software focuses on attachments, "it can easily strip a lot of that out and put it into tape storage," he says.

In addition, when recovering a server, users often do not need these flashy files immediately, but a significant amount of time is spent loading these files from archives. Drescher says that recovery time is about twice the time for backup, which is both ironic and unfortunate since end users tend to get more impatient during recovery time than backup time. Any reduction in the amount of data restored is desirable.

Remote Storage for Exchange distinguishes between attachments and normal mail files. After attachments reach a certain age, they are shuffled off to remote storage, where they are still accessible, but off of the server. Veritas believes this will streamline the messaging operation.

In addition to automating backups, Remote Storage for Exchange also allows administrators to monitor the use of the Exchange server. Administrators can see what percentage of the server’s storage is devoted to real mail and what percentage is bulky attachments. The administrator can then make informed decisions about how to configure the storage.

Tanner believes this problem that plagues Exchange isn’t unique. "There’s a proliferation of unstructured and semistructured data," he says.

As multimedia and text extend their grasp on the computing environment, users will need to further consider how to manage these types of data.

Aberdeen’s Tanner believes Veritas Remote Storage for Exchange is a step in the right direction. "Veritas has a much needed product here," he says.