GFI MailArchiver is an easy-to use and affordable email archiving software for Microsoft Exchange. 4sysops readers have the chance to win a license worth $1.150 USD

GFI is raffling off three licenses of their email archiving software. Each license can be used to archive 50 mailboxes for one year. The deadline of this contest is September 1, 2011. If you want to take part in this raffle, please send an email with the subject "GFI MailArchiver" to .

Email Archiving Software - GFI MailArchiver

With all the regulatory and contractual requirements around email archiving, businesses of any size need to implement an archiving solution. When you consider how archiving can improve the user experience (and cut down on restore tickets) it should be pretty obvious that you want email archiving. Being a fan of other GFI products, I decided to take GFI MailArchiver for a spin.

System requirements

Of course, to implement an email archiving software, you need a server to run it, and while I will be archiving content from Exchange, GFI MailArchiver is not Exchange. As such, it can run on lesser hardware, and even on 32bit operating systems. There is both a 32bit and a 64bit version of the software, and its hardware requirements are fairly low. A 2GHz processor with 2GB of RAM is recommended, though it will work on less. The only thing you want to ‘go large’ on with your archiving system is disk, so that you have plenty of room to store years of email. Smaller orgs can use the included Firebird database, while larger user bases will want to use SQL Express or full SQL. You also need to install .NET Framework 2.0, ASP .Net 2.0, IIS, MDAC, and when not installing on top of an Exchange server, the MAPI Client and Collaboration Data Objects 1.2.1. I really prefer the idea of running an email archiving solution separate from Exchange for several reasons:

  • Performance
  • As an alternate way to get to email when Exchange is in maintenance
  • In case separation of duties is required (such as if Exchange admins should not have access to the archive)

But for testing I installed it on my CAS/HUB/MB server. Throughout the evaluation, this server remained very responsive and seemed to handle the load well. Disk performance showed the need for something more than a single VHD running on a single SATA drive, but in production a robust SAN hosting the content drive should rock.

There is also an Outlook Connector (in both 32 and 64bit flavours) that enables users to view archived content from within Outlook. This supports Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010, and is accessible from an installed server. Running as an add-on to Outlook, its hardware requirements are negligible.

Installation ^

Installation of the server is very straightforward. The only real options are to change the default administrator@localdomain email address for notifications, and to choose a different web site than default if you don’t want to access the archive using a virtual directory. It was very nice that a reboot was not required. After the install completes, a wizard launches that walks you through setting up your first archive, and a journaling mailbox. It prompts you for your database server (or to use the internal database for smaller deployments) and then to name your first archive. Two more nexts (options for remote storage or local, and UNC path) and your Archive Store is done. Now for the Journal Mailbox. If you already have one created from Exchange you can use that, or GFI MailArchiver can set one up for you. This process takes a few moments, and then you are done.

Configuration ^

The default configuration is set up to archive all mailboxes without exception which, if you are implementing email archiving, is the way to go. You can create exceptions to this, and set retention policies which can automatically delete email that ages past the point you want it laying around. Policies can be based on sender, recipient, subject, or body content. You can also configure rules for how to handle email flagged as spam, retaining it for a short period of time before deleting it permanently.

Email Archiving Software - GFI MailArchiver

You also have the ability here to set up classification rules based on the same values, and audit settings to match requirements for compliance audit and review. Note though that auditing will require that you are using MS SQL instead of the included Firebird database. You can also set a legal hold on an archive, ensuring that nothing is deleted by user or policy.

Let’s get rid of those PSTs! ^

The option to Import Old Emails gives you an instruction page on how to export old mail from mailboxes and PST files; either local or on a network share. This is a great way to incorporate all those old PSTs that your mail hoarders refuse to give up…just in case, but that are chewing up room on file servers and are outside of any hope for discovery and audit. The actual tool is already installed on the server and accessible through the start menu; it’s not browser based.

Email Archiving Software - GFI MailArchiver Import-Export

GFI MailArchiver - Import/Export

As you can tell from the screenshot, it also supports importing mail from GFI MailEssentials and can be used to export email from an archive.

Seek and ye shall find ^

Of course, an archive that cannot be searched is no better than a hundred PSTs scattered over a dozen departmental file servers. MailArchiver enables you to search a single archive or across all archives (or anything in between) for mail using a wide range of options, like shown below.

Email Archiving Software - GFI MailArchiver Search

GFI MailArchiver - Search

You can also set date ranges to narrow the scope. Results can be viewed, forwarded, or exported, and searches can be saved for reuse. Date conditions can be selected or entered free-form (which I appreciate) and matches can use ‘*’ and ‘?’ like other searches.

Conclusion ^

GFI MailArchiver is easy to install, low on system requirements, and easy to get up and running. Any shop that has on-premise email owes it to themselves to check out this product so that they can add archiving to their messaging. With pricing based on number of users, a small company with a single Exchange server could add email archiving for under $1000 a year, which is a bargain. Download a free trial and see for yourself just how easy it is to add archiving to your messaging solution.

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