Forensic Compliance Systems has launched its Cryoserver email vault as a tamper-proof and scalable appliance.

It removes any need for separate email backup, disaster recovery systems and quotas. It also meets email regulatory and compliance requirements. A 6TB unit can store two year's worth of emails from 6,000 users, assuming half a gigabyte per user per year.

Usng network sniffing technology, Cryoserver can capture any SMTP email with attachments, plus Microsoft instant messages, and store them in encrypted form with hashes. When the email is subsequently accessed checksums are generated and compared with stored metadata.

A match means that the email has not been altered. Any difference means that the email has been altered and can't be trusted to be a true copy. The Cryoserver machine comes with seals that will show if it has been opened.

These forensic features mean that, FCS claims, the email will likely be accepted in a court of law as valid.

The Cryoserver software, previously available standalone, has been extended and pre-installed on Network Engines hardware.

A basic 2U rack unit can have up to 6TB capacity. It has four network interface ports (NICs) and three more Cryoservers can be plugged in to provide enough capacity for around 20,000 users for two years. There is a global search facility for messages across the four boxes. A stack of four boxes can be joined to another one to provide enough capacity for 40,000 users.

FCS provides real time replication such that a remote Cryoserver acts as a mirror and functions as a backup. Any incoming email is replicated at once so that the mirror is completely up to date.

It claims that up to 80 percent of an Exchange server's storage can be saved by using Cryoserver to vault emails. Potential customers will likely be subject to an email regulatory and compliance regime and need to be able to demonstrate the integrity of their email stores to regulators.

Existing customers include the borough of Guildford, Saffery Champness (accountants), and Framlington, the fund investment manager.

Cryoserver appliances are priced from 7,000 euros.