Laptop users and organizations with mailbox storage limitations frequently archive using PST files to store email messages. However, there are several limitations and challenges associated with PST files. Virtual Vault is a means to access the benefits of a PST file without the limitations.
The number of email messages exchanged on a daily basis remarkable. The sheer volume of e-mail messages sent and received causes mailboxes to increase in size over time. Organizations meet this challenge by implementing mailbox limits. What, then, can laptop users do to access emails remotely? They can use PST files to store email locally.
Figure 1 - The explosion of e-mail makes mailboxes unwieldy
However, a PST file that was saved locally to a laptop would be lost if the hard drive were to crash. Conversely, PST files saved to a shared drive are not supported by Microsoft and are inaccessible via OWA. Even using the Exchange 2010 archiving tool moves the item from one mailbox database to another, which does not exactly save space in Exchange.
To the end user, the virtual vault looks and acts like a normal PST file. The user can drag an item into the virtual vault just like they would to a normal PST file. The item is there when needed. The item is removed from the Exchange Mailbox, thus reducing the Exchange mailbox size.
How does Virtual Vault address the issues of Local PSTs?
The virtual vault synchronizes with the user’s Enterprise Vault archive. The item dragged into the Virtual Vault is placed in the user’s mailbox archive in Enterprise Vault. This synchronization occurs automatically, although a user can perform a manual synchronization.
Because OWA can access the user’s archive, items in the virtual vault are also accessible through OWA. To the user, it appears as if items in the local PST are also available via OWA. Try that with a PST…
With a PST, if the local hard drive is lost, the PST and any messages contained therein are also lost. With Virtual Vault, just replace the hard drive, reinstall Outlook and the Enterprise Vault Client. The next time the laptop (or desktop) connects to Exchange and Enterprise Vault, the local virtual vault is rebuilt from the user’s archive. The system automatically rebuilds your PST for you. This also reduces the need to locate and find the user’s PST before upgrading their hardware.
No more Archiving to Local PSTs
I tend to retire my PSTs every year to keep the size of the local PST small. I no longer need to do this. Virtual Vault actually uses multiple local files to store the archive, reducing the individual sizes of the PSTs. So when moving to new hardware, I do not need to track down the multiple ‘detached’ PSTs.
For the organization, the backup process for Enterprise Vault doubles as backup for a local Virtual Vault PST. Enterprise Vault Virtual Vault adds significant improvements to the PST. The capabilities of virtual vault are such an improvement, IT staffs might actually rethink their objections to PSTs.
For more information on Symantec Enterprise Vault, please visit our Symantec page.
Figure 2 - What the user sees in Outlook