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Company Finds Second Time the Charm for Email Archiving

Peter Emmel, IT director at DeWitt Stern Group, learned a valuable lesson when the company implemented a new email archiving system: You get what you pay for. Initially, the insurance broker opted for an inexpensive system, but later found that its features, reliability, and support were inadequate, forcing a replacement less than 18 months later.

DeWitt Stern Group is an insurance brokerage firm with 200 employees stationed in New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Tennessee. In business since 1899, the company sells a variety of types of insurance but has been most successful serving the entertainment industry.

In the summer of 2006, DeWitt Stern Group started to look for an archiving system for its Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange email system. The insurance broker has four servers running its offices and relies on VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)'s virtualization software to divide them up into a few dozen systems.

DeWitt Stern wanted to more efficiently store large attachments, such as images and lengthy documents. Employees had been managing their own in-boxes and in some cases were keeping all of their messages. As the data stores grew larger, search time became longer and server performance diminished.

Another problem with this approach was it created additional work for the IT department. Users accidentally deleted important messages almost daily, which the IT department had to retrieve via Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)'s Backup Exec.

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