NEORSD

Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District loves Netmail

Challenge

The Northeast Ohio Sewer District relied on backup tapes of email dating back to the late 1990s and had no specific policy for email retention. It received numerous eDiscovery requests, often requiring extensive date ranges. Due to the level of effort required to fulfill these requests, the impact to the IT Department was significant.

Solution

The district engaged the team at Netmail to deliver an onsite email policy workshop that helped them create a policy on email retention and destruction in accordance with their compliance regulations, then migrated from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange and set up a robust email archive to help them centralize the District’s email archives into a single repository to facilitate eDiscovery.

Results

With a policy firmly in hand, the district then relied on Netmail to locate, collect, and archive email and GroupWise Personal Archives scattered throughout the organization into a centralized, fully-searchable archive repository prior to the email migration. As a result, the district can now look forward to reduced storage costs on the new Exchange system.

Overview

Netmail's two-day ePolicy workshop helped the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District create intelligent email retention and destruction policies and the full implementation of Netmail Archive helps them now respond quickly to eDiscovery requests following a successful weekend migration to Exchange.

Business Challenge

Created in 1972, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District leads effective wastewater and stormwater management in the greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area, protecting the health and environment of the region while enhancing the quality of life. The Sewer District serves approximately 1.2 million customers. The Sewer District’s infrastructure improvements have significantly reduced the amount of pollutants entering Lake Erie and nearby streams. Going forward, the Sewer District is implementing a 25-year, multi-billion dollar capital improvement plan to continue reducing discharges of combined stormwater and sewage into Lake Erie.

The Sewer District relied on backup tapes of email dating back to the late 1990s and had no specific policy for email retention. It received numerous eDiscovery requests, often requiring extensive date ranges. The IT Team devoted considerable amounts of time assembling eDiscovery cases and packaging them in a user-friendly format. Due to the level of effort required to fulfill these requests, the impact to the IT Department was significant.

In 2010, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District decided to migrate from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange and to set up a robust email archive. A long-time Netmail client, the Sewer District decided to take advantage of the built-in migration capabilities of Netmail Archive to perform the migration. “We’d been relying on GWArchive and tape backups for the purposes of eDiscovery for years,” says Humberto Sanchez, Director of IT at the Sewer District. “It made good business sense to upgrade to Netmail Archive, fully implement the solution, and then use the Netmail Migrate tool to perform the email migration.”

Critical Requirements

  • Upgrade GWArchive to Netmail Archive to facilitate the migration
  • Provide an email policy workshop to the District’s key stakeholders to help them design and implement an updated email retention and destruction policy
  • Implement Netmail Archive to centralize the District’s email archives
  • Minimize the time required to migrate the District‘s email system to Exchange

Email Policy Workshop Helped the District Draft Solid Email Retention and Destruction Policies

Prior to commencing the migration project, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District engaged the team at Netmail to deliver an onsite email policy workshop. Moderated by technology lawyer Ben Wright, the two-day onsite workshop helped the Sewer District create a policy on email retention and destruction in accordance with their compliance regulations. “The policy workshop was extremely helpful in creating a draft policy,” recalls Sanchez. “After the workshop, Executive Management reviewed the draft and then made a few minor modifications to it prior to implementing the policy across the board.”

Successful Upgrade to Netmail Archive

With a solid email policy in hand, the Sewer District was ready to upgrade to Netmail Archive in order to centralize their archives before performing the migration to Exchange. As part of the upgrade, the migration team verified the health of the District’s GWArchive system, and then validated the existing audit and archive data to ensure its integrity. Unlike GWArchive‘s use of distributed indexes, Netmail Archive relies on a centralized indexing server that scales easily to handle increasing amounts of data. So as part of the upgrade process, all existing GWArchive data needed to be converted to the latest format and re-indexed, however, because the Sewer District had not fully implemented GWArchive, many email accounts as well as 2TB of GroupWise personal archives remained unarchived. In the end, very little data needed to be converted, and the entire migration process was executed invisibly to the users and with zero disruption to the email service.

Weekend Migration to Exchange

Once the upgrade was complete, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District was ready to begin the migration to Exchange. Through an automated Discovery process in Netmail Archive, the Sewer District was first able to locate, collect, and archive the GroupWise personal archives scattered throughout the organization into a centralized archive repository. By transferring the bulk of messages into the repository, rather than transferring them directly into Exchange, the Sewer District can look forward to reduced storage costs on the new Exchange system.

Netmail Migrate, the migration utility included with Netmail Archive, automated the process of moving users from one platform to another, enabling the District to complete the migration over one weekend. As a final step in the migration, the Sewer District chose to inject 60 days of accumulated email into the Exchange system before going live with the system. ”I would recommend that anyone doing a migration seriously consider Netmail Archive,” says Humberto Sanchez. “The other Directors at the District were really impressed that email, tasks, notes, calendar events, everything, was all there first thing Monday morning.”

One of the main benefits realized by the Sewer District since the email migration is how Netmail Archive centralizes the archives into a single repository. “We don’t have to rely on tape backups anymore,” says Sanchez. “Now we are able to create comprehensive eDiscovery cases using the case management features of Netmail Search and give access to the system to the Law Department.”

The Bottom Line

Humberto Sanchez Director of IT, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District