Comparing 3 Types of Email Archival Setups: Shared Saas V/S Dedicated on Cloud V/S Dedicated In-Premise

By Sunil Uttamchandani, CTO, Mithi Software Technologies

Sunil Uttamchandani, CTO, Mithi Software Technologies

This note attempts to help organizations that are looking at deploying an email archival solution, understand the working of all 3 solutions, the pros and cons of each and the fit of each of these solution types. We assume the use of AWS Cloud for the dedicated cloud setups. Essentially the organization is looking to retain a copy of every mail transacted by all users in a safe archive store, for recovery and compliance purposes.

Shared SaaS Archival Solution on the Cloud

Working

This solution is based on a Subscribe, Configure and Consume the services model. No infrastructure is required at the users end except an Internet connection to allow transport of mail from the Primary mail servers to the Archival service on the cloud. A copy of the mail from the Primary mail servers is pushed into the multi tenant SaaS setup over the Internet. The users of the organisation now access the self service portal over the Internet or over a direct connection between the data center and the cloud (DirectX) to help discover and recover mail on demand. The administrators can manage the setup and serve compliance requests via the Admin Panel.

Benefits

• Opex model, pay as you go, no Capex required

• No maintenance and monitoring of infrastructure

• Guaranteed performance and durability of data 

• Automatic storage growth possible on demand

• Solution and platform designed for high security

Drawbacks

•  Archiving and access to the Archival application on the cloud can put pressure on the Internet bandwidth

Bill of Material (BoM)

The cost of the archival software application subscription depends on the SaaS service chosen. The cost of support along with server and storage, monitoring and maintenance is included. For the service desk, customers need to deploy a team to handle end user queries. Direct connection to the cloud is available as an option to reduce pressure on Internet Bandwidth – as per actuals from the service provider. Most services include the onetime onboarding cost into the subscription.

Dedicated Archival Setup on the Cloud

Working

Provision the server and storage infrastructure on the cloud, deploy the Archiving software on this infrastructure, configure for high availability and security, and use this setup. The infrastructure requires setup of a server and storage on the cloud, in your own AWS cloud account, and installation of the chosen Archival software on it. The instance type and storage capacity will depend on number of users and the retention period. There are two options to connect this to your Primary mail servers, one – over the Internet and two – establish a direct connection between the data center and the cloud (DirectX). A copy of the mail from the Primary mail servers is pushed into the dedicated Archival setup over the Internet OR over a dedicated link between your data center and the AWS cloud (DirectX). The users of the organisation access a self service portal over the Internet or over the direct connect to help discover and recover mail on demand. The administrators can manage the setup and serve compliance requests via the Admin Panel.

Benefits

• Opex model, pay as you go, no Capex required

• Captive private deployment with full control and the
   benefits of a cloud platform.

Drawbacks

• Setup needs to be designed for reliability, security and high availability

• Re-architecting required for growing storage demands

•  Re-architecting required for new security threats

• Plan Upgrades and updates of the software to handle new solution demands

• Internal Teams to maintain and monitor the setup 24/7 and deliver on SLA

• High storage cost on cloud, so need to plan for cost optimisation

Bill of Material (BoM)

The cost of the archival software application subscription depends on the Archival software license purchased. The cost of support is mostly extra over and above the software license cost. The server instance and storage on the cloud is in the Opex model. The customer needs to deploy systems and teams for maintenance and monitoring the setup 24/7 as well as a team to handle end user queries. Direct connection to the cloud is available as an option to reduce pressure on Internet Bandwidth – as per actuals from the service provider.

Dedicated Archival Setup in Premise

Working

Provision server and storage infrastructure in premise (bare metal or virtualized), deploy the Archiving software on this infrastructure, configure for high availability and security. The infrastructure requires setup of a server and storage in your data center, and installation of the chosen archival software on it. The server capacity and storage capacity will depend on number of users and the retention period. The users will access this over the LAN/WAN. A copy of the mail from the Primary mail servers is pushed into the dedicated Archival setup over the LAN. The users of the organisation now get a self service portal to help discover and recover mail on demand. The administrators can manage the setup and serve compliance requests via the Admin Panel.

Benefits

• Captive private deployment with full control

• Can use existing components for compute and storage (if available)

Drawbacks

• Setup needs to be designed for reliability, security and
   high availability.

• Re-architecting required for growing storage demands.

•  Re-architecting required for new security threats

• Plan Upgrades and updates of the software to handle new
   solution demands

• Internal Teams to maintain and monitor the setup 24/7
   and deliver on SLA

•Capex to purchase and AMCs to maintain the
   infrastructure.

• Setup needs a backup solution in place for disaster
   recovery.

Bill of Material (BoM)

The cost of the archival software application subscription depends on the Archival software license purchased. The cost of support is mostly extra over and above the software license cost. The server and storage with AMC's is in the Capex model. The customer needs to deploy systems and teams for maintenance and monitoring the setup 24/7 as well as a team to handle end user queries. A direct connection to the cloud is not required. There is an extra one time onboarding cost.  A “sign up and consume cloud based service” offers way too many benefits to ignore as seen from the comparison above.

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