Symantec and Zantaz simplify large-scale backups

Polished e-mail and file archiving solutions offer comparable features

Administrators often battle with end-users over the amount of space they use on mail and file servers. Users would like to keep everything they might need, while administrators would like to avoid buying more disks and upgrading servers to handle huge inboxes and home directories.

Two archiving products, Symantec Veritas EV (Enterprise Vault) 6.0 and Zantaz EAS (Enterprise Archive Solution) offer solutions. Both allow administrators to archive files and e-mail messages that haven’t recently been opened to secondary storage -- usually lower-cost disk arrays, but also to tape. Users can then transparently and easily retrieve an archived file or message with the traditional double-click, and the message or file is retrieved from the archive store as if it were still on the server.

The similarities between these two solutions are numerous. Both are multi-tier, supporting multiple sites, data collection servers, and storage systems. Both also offer full enterprise-class administration of the overall system.

Moreover, both offer single-instance storage, so companies can realize enormous savings for archived files. For instance, if a 15MB PowerPoint presentation is e-mailed to 20 people as an attachment, only one copy is stored (unless someone modifies his or her copy).

Both of them provide additional functionality, including the capability to archive files from SharePoint and Windows file servers. Both can also locate and archive .pst files (locally stored e-mail saved by an Outlook user).

The differences between the two are relatively minor and lie within details such as methods of indexing archived messages and integrating with Exchange. Price will probably be the biggest determining factor for most customers.

Symantec Veritas Enterprise Vault 6.0

Part of the suite of Veritas backup and data management products, Symantec Veritas EV can take advantage of Backup Exec for migration to tape, as well as Storage Foundation and Replication Exec for additional redundancy and fault tolerance.

EV can archive Exchange, Windows-file, SharePoint, and Lotus Domino servers. One difference from EAS: EV doesn’t require a plug-in or service running on the Exchange server; rather, it uses the built-in Windows journaling service to track e-mail as it is received, changed, or moved to different folders.

EV requires an MS SQL Server database for storing configuration information and metadata on messages archived. The actual messages and attachments are stored on a separate data store, not the database. EV supports EMC Centera and NetApp storage systems as well as local NTFS partitions or network file shares.

A storage server on the Vault Server creates HTML or text versions of each archived file for indexing via the AltaVista search engine. Logging is done through the Windows Event Viewer, rather than a separate application.

When installing EV, you’ll need to be certain that your MS SQL Server is case-insensitive. You will also need to create a service account for EV. The installation program will then create the necessary databases. IIS server is required, as is an Exchange Server, Active Directory, and a Microsoft Message Queue Server. You must also add extensions to permit users to see archived items through Outlook Web Access, if you use it.

As you would expect with all these components, the complete installation process is necessarily complex, but it is well-documented and should be straightforward for experienced Windows administrators. When all is said and done, you’ll have a management console for EV and a Web portal for users to search and access archived items and do their own restores if necessary.

For users, accessing archived items will be just like accessing items normally from Outlook: They will simply click on an item, and it will be recalled and made available. If users delete items from their mailboxes, they can go to the EV Web portal to find the items and restore them from the archive.

EV offers granular administrative roles for searching or restoring mail and other archived items. Roles can be defined for auditors, who can only view archives, or view and copy messages, and so forth; access can be limited to specific users or groups. Oversight of auditors can also be configured so that the administrator (or HR department) can track what messages the auditor accesses.

There’s also a Compliance Accelerator at an additional cost. This speeds up searches of the archived data store for messages that meet particular criteria.

Policies can be easily created to move messages to the archive after they reach a certain age, when a mailbox reaches a certain size, or meets virtually any other condition administrators would want to set. Attachments can be archived separately from e-mail messages, so even if an archived message is restored, any attachments will remain in the archive until they’re opened. Users can be allowed to set up their own archive policies so that, say, all mail in a particular folder will be archived for seven years.

Zantaz Enterprise Archive Solution

Like EV, Zantaz EAS offers a sophisticated, multitier solution for policy-based management of data on e-mail and file servers. It’s offered on an annual subscription basis, which may mean higher costs over time relative to EV. However, most EV users will probably pay to upgrade after a year or two.

EAS comes in several different flavors: EAS for Exchange, EAS for Notes, EAS for Files, EAS Search, EAS Storage Manager, and EAS Supervisor. EAS Search provides extended search functionality for archived material, EAS Storage Manager provides policy-based migration of data from one tier of storage to another, and EAS Supervisor facilitates compliance management. These pieces add up to the same functionality available in EV, but administrators can pick the pieces they need.

As with EV, there is a central archive server, one or more child archive servers at other locations, a SQL server to store metadata, one or more data stores, and a Web portal for self-service restores.

Again, with a multitier, scalable environment, setup is complex. Zantaz provides on-site installation support as part of the cost of the service, so working through the installation probably won’t be an issue for most admins, although you’ll still need to have a SQL or Oracle server, IIS server, Active Directory, and service accounts set up beforehand.

As with EV, you’ll need to create a database and then run a script to initialize it; you also need to set up an account and permission. Then you may install the core components.

After the installation, there is a fair amount of configuration to be done, including setting up the document stores and paths to the database. You’ll also need to create groups and users, and then set policies for groups. Policies can be set on a per-user basis if desired, and they can override or combine with group policy.

There are tests within the installers or available as scripts that check the IIS connection to the SQL server, AD connections, and beyond, all the way through. All the multitudinous connections between the various parts of the overall system can be tested and debugged from within the installers.

The client configuration utility lets you create a custom .msi file with the options you want configured. From there, you can perform quiet installs for all users.

EAS can also archive and migrate .pst files either by simply archiving them, or archiving them, deleting the .pst file, and leaving pointers so the user can still access the messages.

The parent/child architecture of EAS is site-aware: If messages are stored locally and in a central location, EAS will give a user who clicks on a message the closest copy of the message. Offline support can automatically sync at startup/shutdown with a compressed local store, giving remote users access to archived messages even if they’re not connected to the network.

EAS also does attachment splitting. When a user double-clicks on an archived e-mail message, it’s restored, but the attachments are still just stubs, only restored if the user double-clicks on the attachment separately.

The admin interface is flexible, with multiple views, role-based administration and easy setup of policies for data archiving and management, with wizards for easy setup as well as scripting for complex rules. Different views can be saved, so that a lower-level admin would see only the options he or she would need.

Clustering allows for load balancing as well as redundancy. If a child EAS server dies, the parent and other children pick up the load. If the parent server dies, one of the children has to be promoted, which takes a few seconds. All EAS servers in the enterprise can be rebooted, promoted, and so forth from one admin console.

The First Discovery utility can search the entire archive for messages containing whatever criteria you’re looking for, in read-only mode, and export to .pst files for security audits, compliance, or litigation support. EAS Supervisor performs similar tasks, but it can also monitor new messages based on rule sets.

An AD extension adds user information and index information, so restoration of e-mail can be accomplished through the Users and Computers Windows admin tool.

All in all, these two products are quite similar in terms of capabilities and features. Either solution is likely to give you a handle on archiving. Zantaz does offer on-site setup as part of the subscription, and its solution offers more sophistication in writing rules as well as better scalability. Those benefits, however, come at considerable cost.

InfoWorld Scorecard
Setup (20.0%)
Ease of use (20.0%)
Manageability (25.0%)
Performance (25.0%)
Value (10.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
Symantec Veritas Enterprise Vault 6.0 8.0 8.0 9.0 9.0 8.0 8.5
Zantaz Enterprise Archive Solution 9.0 8.0 9.0 9.0 6.0 8.5