Microsoft and IBM have signed a storage agreement where the software giant will recommend IBM storage and software for Exchange email archiving.

A complete IBM product with software running on a Windows System X BladeCenter server and a DS4200 drive array will soon be available through both IBM and Microsoft partners.

There are two items of IBM software: CommonStore archiving software and System Storage Archive Manager (SSAM). CommonStore receives emails to be archived and gets rid of duplicated attachments. It has a search cability across users' .pst files, and policy-based retention management.

SSAM is the archive and retention engine that writes archived emails to disk. It can encrypt the data, enforce migration rules for hierarchical storage management - such as migrating older emails to a longer-term store after a period of time. The target store could be a Plasmon UDO library or IBM tape library.

The product is approved by the Enterprise Content Management Industry Association. Kristie Bell, a VP for IBM system storage, said: "We're confident this agreement will expand both companies' reach in the email archiving space. This product enables customers to deploy their archiving on a Windows platform instead of introducing other operating system environments to manage."

Dr Claude Lotrenson, Microsoft's group product manager for storage, said: "We are pleased to work with IBM to provide customers with anend-to-end Windows-based archive."

The product will be available next year from starting at $53,000 with eMail Search $2,000 extra.