IBM says its new email archiving appliance is so easy to install that small and medium-size businesses can have it up and running in less than a day.
IBM says the solution helps SMBs store and quickly retrieve email messages to satisfy compliance audit reviews and legal discovery orders. By moving older messages off the email server, the solution also improves email system performance.
The solution is powered by an IBM BladeCenter Server with an AMD Opteron processor. CommonStore supports Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. It also comes preloaded with IBM DB2 Content Manager, Tivoli Storage Manager and WebSphere Application Server.
Susan Eustis, analyst and president of WinterGreen Research Inc. in Lexington, Mass., said CommonStore is ideal for SMBs. She said it gives IBM a "huge edge" in the SMB market for email archiving.
"The research I do, which is calling, interviewing and working with the SMB market -- the primary goal is to have a piece of hardware or software that [SMBs] can get going quickly because they typically don't have a dedicated IT department. They're busy. Everyone wears 10 hats. They don't have time to figure out what's wrong if it doesn't work."
Amy Wohl, President of Wohl Associates in Narberth, Pa., said the ability to get the appliance up and running quickly is always a major selling point in the SMB market. She added that CommonStore will be sold to SMBs through IBM's partners and resellers, who usually offer professional technical assistance if needed.
Wohl said most email systems can be configured to archive messages, but setting up and maintaining an email archiving process requires time and expertise that most SMBs lack. CommonStore comes prepackaged, pretested and ready to use, Wohl said.
"It doesn't need to know much about your email system that it can't find out on its own," Wohl said. "You need to tell it where your email server is and where it can find the user directory."
Eustis said CommonStore will appeal to SMBs in the banking, finance and healthcare industries. But any small business that uses email will find it valuable, she said.
Wohl said any company in which having long-term access to email messages might become a business issue can use this appliance. With CommonStore, SMBs can also easily set a policy to dispose of archived messages when the company is no long legally required to retain them.
"If you're in the business of providing goods and services and you might be subject to litigation based on your company's past history, then you want to be in a position to be able to respond to legal requests [for email]," Wohl said.
Wohl said CommonStore could also allow SMBs to mine their email for information that could be useful for future business, such as tracking feedback that customer service representatives receive from customers.
Eustis said CommonStore would compete indirectly with software solutions such as Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec Corp.'s Mail Security and hosted email providers such as Fortiva Inc. in Norwalk, Conn.
"But these are more about email security and availability," Eustis said. "You can do archiving, but you don't have some of the sophisticated functionality that the IBM [appliance] does."
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This story originally appeared on SearchSMB.com.