At today's IBM SmartCloud Forum event here in Chicago, we announced that we'll soon begin offering IBM SmartCloud Archive Essentials.  This new, pure SaaS service is tightly integrated with IBM SmartCloud Notes, and will provide customers with a secure, searchable copy of any or all user mailboxes.

Customers are increasingly interested in automating compliance and information lifecycle governance (ILG) tasks.  Email is still the #1 source of discoverable content for legal and regulatory actions, so an email archive with retention and discovery features has become a logistical requirement for organizations of every size and type.

SmartCloud Archive Essentials provides exactly that.  It captures a copy of email to or from all subscribed users, and saves them in native NSF format (important for fidelity of evidence).  The service creates an optimized index of emails and attachments, and features a rich, browser-based search capability that assures customers they can quickly and easily find specific content.  This is important in many contexts, including legal/regulatory actions, but also to do things like locate references to projects or customers, or -- prosaic but useful – restore a deleted mail for a user.

The service is architected for cloud efficiency, and in fact will run on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, IBM's cloud computing infrastructure as a service (IaaS).  Taking advantage of cloud characteristics of elasticity and virtualization, SmartCloud Archive Essentials features dramatic performance and scalability; even massive complex searches complete in a matter of seconds.

SmartCloud Archive Essentials also takes advantage of cloud economics.  Archive implementation hurdles have historically been high because you had to provision for projected capacity, and always carry the costs for idle resources.  In the cloud, there's 100% utilization of resources, so the service can be sold as a low per-user subscription.  The service even comes with unlimited storage.  Most customers will choose to implement retention periods for good ILG practices, but if a customer wants to keep everything forever, it's the same low monthly subscription.

The security of archive data is critically important, so SmartCloud Archive Essentials applies encryption of all data, in motion and at rest.  Customer archives are never comingled.  All access and operations are recorded for audit, and data in the archive cannot be deleted or modified except as part of a logged action (emails can be restored to user inboxes, but only as new copies).

We expect to ship SmartCloud Archive Essentials this quarter.  For now it is paired with SmartCloud Notes, but we're looking for feedback on other use cases, such as support for on-premises Domino deployments.  There's no reason that the unique fidelity and performance characteristics of SmartCloud Archive Essentials couldn't benefit both use cases equally.

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