Open source mail archiving software compared

Locked Away

MailArchiva Enterprise Edition v4

MailArchiva [6] is a comprehensive archiving system specially designed for larger environments with many mailboxes (Figure 5); it advertises good scaling capability, in particular for the fully supported commercial version, but a feature-stripped Open Source Edition [7] is also available.

Figure 5: The MailArchiva architecture supports comprehensive integration with enterprise IT.

One of the special features of MailArchiva is its comprehensive support for MS Exchange; like many other advanced features, this is only available in the Enterprise Edition. MailArchiva natively supports all Exchange versions and multiple Exchange Stores. Outlook users can access the archive directly using plugins from within the mail client.

MailArchiva also offers comprehensive support for many of the popular mail server flavors, such as Postfix, Sendmail, Qmail, iMail, Lotus Notes, AXIGen, Communigate Pro, Neon Insight, Zimbra, and Google Apps.

Clear-Cut Architecture

The archiving program, which runs on Windows, Linux, Solaris, BSD, and OS X, creates the messages, including all headers, in zipped archive files directly on the filesystem and thus does without a database. The files are encrypted using Triple-DES. To save hard disk capacity, attachments in multiple mail messages are saved once only.

Archived data is organized into logical volumes, which can be segmented and stored on separate storage systems if desired. User authentication can be handled by OpenLDAP, Active Directory, or Google Apps for role-based access control.

Painless Installation

Installation has been neatly solved. In just three steps, administrators can set up a working system by unpacking the tarball after downloading, typing ./install to launch the setup routine, confirming the license, and answering the prompt for the Max Heap Size (256MB is fine for test operations). The installation routine automatically launches the main process. You can stop this later, or restart it using /etc/init.d/mailarchiva. After this, you can log in to the web console using the URL http://<Servername>:8090 . For your initial login as the administrator, use the admin account and – contrary to what the documentation says – the automatically set admin password.

After the initial login, change the administrator's master password below the Login menu item; otherwise, the system will reject any administrative changes. In our lab, this only worked after I created an empty server.conf file in the /usr/local/mailarchiva/server/webapps/ROOT/WEB-INF/conf path. Next, create an encryption password in the Storage groups menu item; this is used for encrypting all archives with the Blowfish algorithm.

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