The Barracuda Message Archiver is a very simple appliance with lots of functionality. It is designed to function with the other appliances in the Barracuda line, such as the anti-spam system and instant messaging firewall. The three can combine to eliminate spam before the archiving process, and archive both email and instant messages. While the system is simple to install and operate, it offers sophisticated features such as organisational roles, PST file discovery, flexible retention policies and auditing capabilities.

Installation is very straightforward. Initial configuration can be done by attaching a keyboard and monitor, or a default IP address can be set and all configuration done via browser. Message Archiver can either use journalling in Exchange to extract messages to be archived, or it can function as an SMTP proxy, which will work with any email server without requiring any configuration on the email server, other than ensuring that all incoming and outgoing messages go through the appliance.

Once the basic installation is done, Message Archiver provides all the basic tools an administrator would look for to implement retention policies, reduce storage requirements on the mail server by stubbing messages, track and audit access to messages, deduplicate storage messages and implement corporate policies on email. Existing mailboxes can be added to the initial archive through MAPI as well as PSTs.

Emails and attachments are fully indexed, resulting in very quick search times for the standard searches performed during testing. Finding and restoring messages is a simple process for the end users, and accessing stubbed emails or attachments is transparent.

Message Archiver offers good basic administrative functions such as end user, administrative and auditor roles, auditing reports and functions, and flexible policies. But it does not offer the same degree of granularity of roles, email policies and retention policies that the systems such as Symantec's Enterprise Vault does. On the other side, it is much simpler to configure.

OUR VERDICT

While Message Archiver is designed to be simple to install and operate, models are available supporting from 100 to 18,000 users, with 250GB to 24TB of storage. With support for GroupWise and SMTP-based mail systems as well as Exchange, it offers great flexibility. Since the appliances can be expanded with external storage, they can grow with an organization to meet additional archiving requirements.