Understanding mail archiving and policies

Administrators can centrally control mail file archiving using policies. Archiving the mail file frees up space and improves the performance of the mail database by storing documents in an archive database when they are old or not in use anymore.

The mail archive database is a Notes® database, and can be accessed like any other Notes® database. The views in a user's mail archive mirror the views in the mail file and includes all the folders that exist when mail is archived. So users can find and retrieve archived messages easily from within their archive database.

You can also use archiving policy settings to define a document retention policy for your mail files. With document retention, you define the criteria for old documents, and then simply delete them from the mail database without archiving them.

If you choose not to include archiving policy settings in your policies, Notes® users can still archive mail files using archive settings in their mail files.

Mail file archiving is a three-step process that includes document selection, copying files to an archive database, and mail file cleanup.

  • Document selection -- choosing which documents to archive based on activity and on folder selection. For example, you can define an old document as a one that has not been modified for 365 days. You can then archive all documents that match that criteria, or you can archive only documents in specific folders that match that criteria.
  • Copying -- copying selected documents from the source mail file to an archive database destination.
  • Mail file clean up -- reducing the size of the mail file by deleting or truncating archived documents. If archiving is configured to truncate (reduce) documents, any attachments are removed, and either the entire message body is removed, or everything beyond 40 KB in the message body is removed.

The information provided here applies to Notes clients. For information on setting up archiving using policies for IBM® iNotes®, see the IBM® iNotes® Administration product documentation in the related information.

Client-based and server-based archiving

When you use policies to manage archiving, you use either server-based archiving or client-based archiving. In either case you can archive to a server. The terms server-based or client-based refer to where the archiving process occurs, either on a server or on the client's workstation. If you choose to archive on a server, you must create a program document to run the Compact server task. If you choose client-based archiving, however, the workstation must be running in order to archive documents. If archiving is scheduled at a time during which the workstation is not running, archiving will not occur. You can archive mail files to the following:

  • Server-based archiving -- Using this option, the mail server archives to the mail server itself, or to another server that you designate as the archive server.
  • Client-based archiving -- Using this option, the individual workstations process mail file archiving. Mail is archived either to the mail server, a designated server, or to their local workstations.

Example: Using policies to manage mail file archiving

The Renovations administrator is happy to learn of policy-based archiving because of these issues with archiving mail files:

  • Space is tight on the mail server.
  • Renovations needs a centralized archive server.
  • Archiving cannot occur during peak work hours.
  • End users must not be allowed to control their archive settings.
  • Notes® clients will not be rolled out immediately.

To resolve the Renovations archiving issues, the administrator uses these Archive policy settings, and applies them to all users, via organizational policies.

  • Archive settings are centrally managed and enforced by the administrator; users are prohibited from changing or creating archive settings.
  • Server-based archiving is enabled from a mail server to a designated archive server.
  • The designated archive server is a Domino® 8 server so that policies can be enforced in a mixed environment.
  • Archiving is scheduled to occur during off hours.
  • Optionally, pruning (removing attachments and body of mail, but leaving header information intact) might be helpful, depending on how tight space is on the mail server.