Held Hostage by a Cloud Service Provider?



  • I think those who know me know I really like Mimecast. The time has come to shop around a bit, see what else is out there, and present to management so as to either renew with Mimecast (what I would like to do) or move to another provider. We use Mimecast for spam filtering, e-mail archiving, e-discovery, and e-mail continuity in conjunction with our in-house Exchange server.

    I've done my due diligence to find out just what is entailed in leaving them and moving elsewhere. My biggest concern in potentially leaving is getting the archived e-mail data. They archive EVERYTHING. That means likely we do not have all the mail data on our Exchange server, and we sure don't have all of the archived mail for users no longer with the company. When I mentioned in passing to the CEO that there will be a per-GB fee to exgest our mail data, he was pretty upset and offended. He said he felt like we're being held hostage by them as a tactic to force renewal.

    Now, I do not remember reading about the fee to get data back if we moved away from them when we originally signed, but I think I can understand why they charge a fee.

    Has anyone else had to combat the mindset of being held hostage by a cloud provider with management? I'd appreciate any advice.



  • Egress of data often has a charge when there is volume. Amazon S3 has an engress charge, for example.

    How long must you retain what Mimecast already has? Three years? Seven years?



  • This reminds of a situation we are currently in. We have approx 2 TB of X-rays in our local radiologist's system. They recently changed systems to a hosted solution. The hosting provider wants approx $50K to bring in our 2 TB of old films. Because of this, the radiology company only copied the last year worth of films to the cloud vendor and will use the local system until the 7 year requirement expires, then remove the local system.

    In the meantime, the radiology company is allowing us to continue to save (use a DR) their older onsite solution to store our images while we decide how we want to move forward.

    Back to the OP - I'm totally not surprised they want to charge a fee to ex filtrate that data - it might not be that simple and could possibly require a lot of time from one of their employees to make a copy onto a drive for you - even worse how is the data access (are they just a bunch of PSTs, one per person) when you get the drive full of data?



  • Do you pay to access the archives normally? I'm assuming that this is a fee that your CEO sees all of the time but never mentally applied to what it would mean at large scale?



  • The example you give isn't all that different from having lots of data in a system made by a company that went bankrupt. When considering any solution (hosted or otherwise), an exit strategy should be a consideration.



  • @alexntg said:

    The example you give isn't all that different from having lots of data in a system made by a company that went bankrupt. When considering any solution (hosted or otherwise), an exit strategy should be a consideration.

    Very true - I think that is something we often leave out of these decisions.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Egress of data often has a charge when there is volume. Amazon S3 has an engress charge, for example.

    How long must you retain what Mimecast already has? Three years? Seven years?

    I believe for the most part the retention requirement is 3 years, but I am going to confirm that with our QA Manager.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Do you pay to access the archives normally? I'm assuming that this is a fee that your CEO sees all of the time but never mentally applied to what it would mean at large scale?

    We just pay the subscription fee to use Mimecast's services on a per-mailbox basis. It's very cheap per mailbox per year, and everyone gets the ability to do an archive search on their mailbox as well as spam filtering for the organization as a whole. Several folks here use the archive quite frequently for searching of their own mailbox, and we have used the archiving many times for e-discovery (which probably takes 10% of what it would if we did not have Mimecast), checking to make sure messages were delivered as expected, etc.



  • @Dashrender said:

    Back to the OP - I'm totally not surprised they want to charge a fee to ex filtrate that data - it might not be that simple and could possibly require a lot of time from one of their employees to make a copy onto a drive for you - even worse how is the data access (are they just a bunch of PSTs, one per person) when you get the drive full of data?

    I believe it will be one PST for each mailbox.



  • @alexntg said:

    The example you give isn't all that different from having lots of data in a system made by a company that went bankrupt. When considering any solution (hosted or otherwise), an exit strategy should be a consideration.

    Very true and the "otherwise" needs to be stressed. Store data locally might sound easy but if you have big retention requirements it might not be.



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Do you pay to access the archives normally? I'm assuming that this is a fee that your CEO sees all of the time but never mentally applied to what it would mean at large scale?

    We just pay the subscription fee to use Mimecast's services on a per-mailbox basis. It's very cheap per mailbox per year, and everyone gets the ability to do an archive search on their mailbox as well as spam filtering for the organization as a whole. Several folks here use the archive quite frequently for searching of their own mailbox, and we have used the archiving many times for e-discovery (which probably takes 10% of what it would if we did not have Mimecast), checking to make sure messages were delivered as expected, etc.

    So instead of having them do some special transfer, you could, in theory, grab all of your email through normal means and download it?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @NetworkNerd said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Do you pay to access the archives normally? I'm assuming that this is a fee that your CEO sees all of the time but never mentally applied to what it would mean at large scale?

    We just pay the subscription fee to use Mimecast's services on a per-mailbox basis. It's very cheap per mailbox per year, and everyone gets the ability to do an archive search on their mailbox as well as spam filtering for the organization as a whole. Several folks here use the archive quite frequently for searching of their own mailbox, and we have used the archiving many times for e-discovery (which probably takes 10% of what it would if we did not have Mimecast), checking to make sure messages were delivered as expected, etc.

    So instead of having them do some special transfer, you could, in theory, grab all of your email through normal means and download it?

    In theory, we could. That's something I had not considered. The cons of us doing it internally would be that the files would all be in EML format. The platform does not lend itself to extracting PST files easily.



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Back to the OP - I'm totally not surprised they want to charge a fee to ex filtrate that data - it might not be that simple and could possibly require a lot of time from one of their employees to make a copy onto a drive for you - even worse how is the data access (are they just a bunch of PSTs, one per person) when you get the drive full of data?

    I believe it will be one PST for each mailbox.

    Let me correct this statement. After talking with Mimecast, what they send us (should we choose to have them exgest the data if we were to leave) would be in EML format. 😞



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    @NetworkNerd said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Back to the OP - I'm totally not surprised they want to charge a fee to ex filtrate that data - it might not be that simple and could possibly require a lot of time from one of their employees to make a copy onto a drive for you - even worse how is the data access (are they just a bunch of PSTs, one per person) when you get the drive full of data?

    I believe it will be one PST for each mailbox.

    Let me correct this statement. After talking with Mimecast, what they send us (should we choose to have them exgest the data if we were to leave) would be in EML format. 😞

    It sounds like you'd be hanging onto Mimecast until your retention period expires.



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    @NetworkNerd said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Back to the OP - I'm totally not surprised they want to charge a fee to ex filtrate that data - it might not be that simple and could possibly require a lot of time from one of their employees to make a copy onto a drive for you - even worse how is the data access (are they just a bunch of PSTs, one per person) when you get the drive full of data?

    I believe it will be one PST for each mailbox.

    Let me correct this statement. After talking with Mimecast, what they send us (should we choose to have them exgest the data if we were to leave) would be in EML format. 😞

    You could just store it as EML on your own.



  • Ok I researched this a bit and I think you might be able to leverage the Mimecast Folder Sync feature to get a copy of all the archived messages local to your Exchange instance. Then it should be a simple Powershell PST export to get the data in the format you need....Not sure if this is one way or two way?

    http://kb.mimecast.com/Mimecast_Knowledge_Base/Administration_Console/Services/Exchange_Services/Folder_Sync

    http://kb.mimecast.com/Mimecast_Knowledge_Base/Administration_Console/Services/Exchange_Services

    What do you think?



  • EML are standard email files so really you are good to go with them. You can manipulate them easily in a script. So you can move around as needed. NTG uses EML for archiving. We use Ruby scripts to convert IMAP to EML. Very handy.



  • I also thought about the Outlook plugin allowing the end users to parse the archive, maybe you could export to PST and just writeup how to do it and have the minions perform your backup?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @NetworkNerd said:

    @NetworkNerd said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Back to the OP - I'm totally not surprised they want to charge a fee to ex filtrate that data - it might not be that simple and could possibly require a lot of time from one of their employees to make a copy onto a drive for you - even worse how is the data access (are they just a bunch of PSTs, one per person) when you get the drive full of data?

    I believe it will be one PST for each mailbox.

    Let me correct this statement. After talking with Mimecast, what they send us (should we choose to have them exgest the data if we were to leave) would be in EML format. 😞

    You could just store it as EML on your own.

    That would be a nightmare. If a mailbox had 60,000 items in it, that'd result in 60,000 flat files. Across 100 uers, that's over 6 million little files to deal with. You lose the blob storage and easy searchability of a PST.



  • @GregoryHall said:

    I also thought about the Outlook plugin allowing the end users to parse the archive, maybe you could export to PST and just writeup how to do it and have the minions perform your backup?

    If it can present as a folder in Outlook, it could be copied to PST.


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