Symantec Enterprise Vault vs. Microsoft Exchange Server Archiving

Update 12/03/2012: Comparison has been updated after a discussion with one of our customers.

Earlier on today Symantec tweeted an article comparing archiving features offered by both Symantec Enterprise Vault and Microsoft Exchange Server. They might call it a

Great article

but I’m not sure I agree. From my point of view the article reveals nothing that isn’t known for months. Exchange 2010 is RTM for half a year already. What I really would like to see (and so are others) is a detailed comparison between both Enterprise Vault and Exchange Server. So far I’ve not been able to find such a comparison anywhere on the public internet, so let me have a shot at it myself:

Feel free to comment.

Note: While I’ve tried to make this an honest comparison, it still expresses my personal experience and opinion!


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Posted in Archiving, Messaging, Software
22 comments on “Symantec Enterprise Vault vs. Microsoft Exchange Server Archiving
  1. Nick Wade says:

    Hi Koen, and thanks for contributing to the discussion. We called it a “great article” for some obvious reasons but also because in general we want to encourage our users, partners, and other interested parties to join the conversation. We’re firmly of the belief that archiving has become about more than just email; it’s becoming the corporate memory for a lot of organizations and that means more choice. More sources, more storage targets, better management at the enterprise and large enterprise end of the spectrum, and more management of the information stored in the archives over time. And we’re encouraged by validation of the archiving part of our markets. You’ve put a great starting matrix together. :)


    Nick Wade
    Group Product Manager, Enterprise Vault
    Symantec Corporation

  2. Ethen Terry says:

    Love this matrix Koen. More and more folks are asking that question, especially when they are looking to upgrade to Ex2010. As an engineer, you can spout off factoids about EV all day, but until managers see it in a concise manner like what you put together, they just dont get it! (Yes, I am generalizing, all managers are not the same, and some are quite technologically savvy to understand the benefits of EV)

    I would really love a breakdown of what storage savings within Ex2010 there is when you archive vs EV. Seems to me its just adding an additional Store, but its still on the same expensive disks. But, to be honest, I havent delved that deeply into all the possible configurations of EX2010 yet.

    • Hi Ethen,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There has been quite some buzz around the possibility of deploying Exchange Server 2010 on “cheap” storage. Think DAS/SATA/JBOD/… Most customers still prefer to use the SAN infra they’ve invested in for years. One can imagine some scenarios with tiered storage however.

      If your leaving your data in Exchange Databases you could also leave them in the primary mailbox of course. It feels like MS is contradicting itself a bit with offering archiving features on the one hand and releasing a Large Mailbox Vision White Paper on the other hand.

      I’ve not had the change to make the calculation myself, but I guess you shouldn’t only look at storage cost. What about additional hardware, software licenses, training etc…



  3. alistg says:

    Good article – worth noting as well that it’s not just support for Exchange 2010 which is taking a long time to come …

    Outlook 2010 support isn’t coming until late this year (in the 9.0.1 release) – most likley a good 7+ months after the RTM of Office 2010 (and am awfull lot longer after product Office Betas have been around)

    This is a huge PITA for people who have an EV solution and want to do a depoyment of Outlook 2010. Using a 3rd party solution like this leaves you “at the mercy” of the vendor’s release cycle (which in the case of Exchange 2010 and Outlook 2010 seems to be very lengthy)

    – AL

  4. mark says:

    good discussion……

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  7. MADSolutions says:

    You’re right about Microsoft’s strategy. You’ll never catch them running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off; their intent is always a slow, gradual increase in market share and they’ve certainly been able to achieve this with the subsequent releases of Exchange 2010.

  8. Zubair Chowgale says:

    great article :)

    there is support for outlook 2010 as well, i.e. you will have to use the http add-ins instead of the outlook add-ins.

  9. Hi,

    we just did an eval for EV and Exchange 2010 archving with the following requirements:

    10000 users –
    a) 1 GB mailbox data (average) in Ex 2003
    b) 2 GB (average) in PST files.
    c) 2 Gb Growth in 2 years (1 GB mailbox growth is assumed to per user per year)

    –> 5GB per user total mail data

    They planned to go to Exchange 2010 with a 2 GB mailbox and a personal archive for the rest, or use Enterprise Vault wit a 1 GB mailbox as they can use EV Offline Cache for their mobile users.

    The design is using 2 DAGs and another time-lag DAG for providing additional DR options (only for mailboxes, not PAs).

    Here is the storage summary we did:

    With Exchange 2010 Personal Archives (PAs)

    Exchange 2GB/user * 10.000 users * 3 DAGs –> 60 TB Exchange Primary Storage (SAS)
    Exchange Personal Archive 3GB/user * 2 DAGs –> 60 TB Exchange Secondary Storage (S-ATA)
    Exchange Indexing (15%) for Mailboxes –> 9 TB Index Storage (SAS)

    —> All in all we need 130 TBs of Storage for the Exchange environment

    Note that there is no SIS in Exchange 2010, so the Mailbox data from 2003 will likely expand and the 1GB growth they assumed from Exchange 2003 might be even larger.

    Now with EV:

    Exchange 1 GB/user * 10.000 users * 3 DAGs —> 30 TB Exchange (SAS)
    Exchange Indexing (15%) for Mailboxes –> 4,5 TB Index Storage (SAS)

    2 GB PST in Enterprise Vault * 10000 users * 60% Compression (SIS & Compression) –> 8TB
    2 GB Growth for future * 10.000 users * 40% compression (SIS & ZIP Compression) –> 12 TB
    15% EV Indexing (on 20TB above) –> 3TB

    –> So with EV you need 35 TB for Exchange and 23 TB for EV.

    The saving with EV was 70 TB of storage and that paid multiple times the Symantec licenses.
    Over the cause of 4-5 years will become even bigger.

    Hope this gives another perspective on the cost side….

    Daniel Maiworm
    GlassHouse Technologies

  10. Fantastic Comparision. Kudos to the writer for such a good tabular comparision. I will recommend this to others.

    Couple of more points where EV is strong is:

    1. Integration with multiple Symantec product to give Administrator a seemless flow: Backup Exec, Net Backup, DLP (for Classification) and many more to come in next service packs.
    2. Offline support is now in form of Virtual Vault which is build on top of Vault cache
    3. Can archive from Social Meda as well.
    4. With Clearwell around along with EV, Symantec has a great story for e-discovery for multople targets.

  11. Ethan says:

    A few things are missing from this discussion:
    1) Cost comparison between expensive SAN storage vs. DAS/JBOD. Some of my customers are spending upwards of $3000/TB/year for SAN storage vs. $150/TB/year for DAS/JBOD storage. Even with the loss of SIS in Ex2010 you’re still in the >80% cost savings range on storage. So what if you’re storage footprint grows 3x-5x… it’s still cheaper.

    2) Option to go to Exchange Online Archiving (EOA) – for a fixed per month cost users get an unlimited archive mailbox. The benefit to the administrator is there is no more need to manage the storage for that archive, plus with agressive retention policies the main mailbox storage could be decreased significantly pushing most of the storage to EOA.

    • Hi Ethan,

      1) EV, as a product (perhaps your deployment does), doesn’t necessarily require expensive SAN storage. The Enterprise Vault Compatibility List states on p32: “A standard NTFS file system mounted on fast access media (such as SAN, NAS, or DAS) is an acceptable platform for Enterprise Vault, offering speed, scalability, and security.” I guess every customer should do his own math.

      2) I was already referring to Office365 (ref. item #15). However, in response to your comment, I’ve explicitly mentioned the “EOA” term/acronym and linked it to the relevant O365 service description. Furthermore we’re actually piloting the EOA functionality within our company since a couple of weeks. We’ll certainly share our experience one way or another…

      thx for passing by

      • Ethan says:

        Thanks Koen. I was referring to storage overall for Exchange 2010. Lower cost disk deployments are saving our customers a ton of money.

        I must have missed your mention of EOA. I’d love to hear your experiences with that.

        Another thing I don’t recall seeing here: EV requires SQL server & client licenses in addition to EV’s licenses, right?

        • It does require SQL (ref. #3).

          Licensing for mailbox archiving is based on the number of active users enabled for archiving. Meaning shared mailboxes, even when they’re being archived, and archives for users who’ve left the company do not require a license. The Licensing and Support Services Guide provides some more insight in the license requirements.

  12. Nuno says:

    Hello, in point 11 – PST Migration who said EV has integrated but requires extra license? The standard email archiving already includes PST Migration so the base license includes that.
    Please advise. Thanks.

    • Hi Nuno,

      Based on the EV10 Licensing and Support Services Guide PST migration is indeed included in the “Storage Management for Microsoft Exchange” product suite:

      • Mailbox Archiving for Microsoft Exchange
      • PST Migrator
      • Vault Cache and Virtual Vault
      • Public Folder Archiving

      I’ve removed the note about an extra license being requires from my blog post. Obviously, you should check with your local rep for an official statement.



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