"By simply archiving data that's used less frequently, we expect the backup-and-restore process to speed up by a factor of six," says Gail Commer, manager of enterprise storage at Southern. Backup has been a hot button at the highest levels of the organization for some time (see "The Hard Sell," below), and the archiving strategy was a natural next step.
It was the company's new policy to limit e-mail storage on its messaging servers and shared drives that finally drove Southern to build an archival system. Employees now must delete any e-mail that's not business-critical and use Outlook PST files sparingly to avoid bogging down Southern's storage.
"A lot of our data growth has been from users cleaning up their e-mail boxes because they're limited to a megabyte of storage for Exchange," Commer says. "One thing we want to stop is the storing of messages outside Exchange." That's because Southern can better control and retrieve business-critical messages if they're stored on the Exchange servers, she says.