NetApp products can now be used for secure and encrypted e-mail archiving via a partnership with Artec.

NetApp primary and secondary storage products with SnapLock software can store e-mail archives produced by Artec's EMA e-mail appliances. Certification with NetApp SnapLock software means that customers’ e-mails are time and date stamped and then encrypted using the AES method. SnapLock then “locks down” the e-mails once they are automatically archived so they cannot be altered.

The archive is stored in write-once-read-many (WORM) volumes to ensure it is tamper proof and cannot be deleted or overwritten.

The subject of e-mail archiving has become prominent in the anti-trust court case between AMD and Intel, where Intel has admitted that it has lost e-mails for about 400 of its employees that relate to the court case. With no automatic archiving Intel was reliant on human intervention to ensure e-mails weren't deleted or over-written as their backup tapes were recycled. This it failed to do.

E-mail archiving is becoming more and more necessary because of compliance and regulatory regimes and, as with Intel, because of legal discovery activities.

The EMA appliance is an in-band product which sits between a customer's servers and its Internet connection. All incoming and outgoing e-mails are automatically archived, with their attachments, in encrypted form using the standard RFC822 format. The archive can now be stored on NetApp FAS or NearStore products using SnapLock. It is also capable of being stored on any Windows or Unix NFS share.

The system can be 'dropped in' and operates transparently as far as the e-mail system is concerned. There is no limitation on which e-mail clients or servers are supported. Messages can be restored from the archive in seconds using a browser interface, but only by the original owner. The messages can be retained to set retention dates if required.

For added security message authenticity can be verified with a digital signature with no forwarding of the message's contents to the signature server.

Patrick Rogers, a NetApp VP, said: “E-mail is a data management monster ... we are helping customers simplify a complex data management and archiving challenge.”

Artec is head-quartered near Frankfurt, Germany. Its EMA appliances are priced from 2,890 euros.