Dell EMC SourceOne: End of Life and Replacement Options

Dell EMC Source One was once a leader of the Enterprise Information Archiving (EIA) software space. It enabled organizations to manage the explosion of their email volume and was used to prevent outages and ensure proper stewardship of this critical data.

As a product manager for a leading solution for scalable, secure and automated email archive migrations, I wanted to address the end-of-life situation with Dell EMC SourceOne. If your organization has been using this product for archiving purposes, it's essential to know what the end of life means and explore suitable options for its replacement.

What is Dell EMC SourceOne?

Dell EMC SourceOne is an email archiving platform that provides archiving, compliance, and eDiscovery capabilities for Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino environments. It enables organizations to manage their data growth, reduce the risks associated with legal discovery, and ensure regulatory compliance.

This solution was a much more complete solution than EMC’s preceding archiving solution, EmailXtender, but still bears familiar homage to its older kin, not only in its architecture but also in its use. It was one of the more popular on-premises archiving solutions, in part due to it frequently accompanying EMC’s compliance storage devices.

Why Is Dell EMC ending the life of SourceOne?

Dell EMC has decided to end the life of SourceOne due to changes in market demand and technology advancements. As with many enterprise information archiving solutions that started life on-premises, the market continues to swing towards native functionality. In other words, vendors have a more complete vision of their role in archiving.

What does the end of life mean?

Dell EMC has announced that it will not be creating any more versions of SourceOne. This creates a de facto end-of-life condition when the current version (7.2 SP12) reaches end of support at the end of 2024. This means that there will be no further updates or support provided for the product. If your organization continues to use SourceOne beyond the end-of-life date, you will run the risk of running into compatibility issues, security vulnerabilities, and other problems.

What are the challenges in migrating Dell EMC SourceOne data?

Migrations can be messy business and organizations often do not develop expertise in them. Many choose to let others perform these specialized tasks. Enterprise Information Archiving solutions were all designed to ingest data from sources where it originated. None of them were designed to enable mass exports from this solution. Historical source integrity and current source performance are important factors to consider for all email archive migration projects. Every source has its own attributes which can complicate a migration.

When considering SourceOne, the first of these challenges relates to its architecture. All of the content stored in the archiving solution resides in a single archive, rather than being segmented per mailbox, file share, or other data-producing workload. Users are given views of the content associated with the resources they are entitled to access.  This is a popular model for archiving solutions that focused on legal and compliance, where a feed is enough to capture all of your organization’s email data.

This creates a challenge in determining the volume of data to be migrated, who should get a copy of which items, and where in their mailbox should the items be written. To help determine the volume of data in an environment and who that data belongs to, Quest has provided an assessment utility to help easily determine the potential scope of your environment.  These challenges are specific to SourceOne migrations but not unique. They are also instrumental to ensure all the data that was archived from the environment is accounted for in the migration.

What are the options for replacing Dell EMC SourceOne?

I have been recently surprised to learn that many organizations feel they are "locked in" to solutions like EMC SourceOne. These organizations feel their only option is to maintain these systems and pay to keep the system active and healthy until the data is no longer needed. This could not be further from the truth.

Although SourceOne can be a challenging source to migrate properly, the right solution can ensure all of this valuable data is migrated to a target environment that meets the ongoing needs of your organization. If your organization currently uses Dell EMC SourceOne, it's time to start exploring alternative solutions before the end-of-life date arrives. Here are some options that you might want to consider:

Microsoft 365

In the last decade, Microsoft has gone from entering Gartner's Magic Quadrant for EIAs to being a leader. Microsoft 365 offersthe most complete vision. The challenges in using Exchange Online to manage email data are long since addressed and many customers find their archiving, compliance, and legal discovery needs met within the licenses they are already using.

For many of our customers, migrating archived email data back to Exchange is the natural choice. This means that compliance, legal teams, and users do not have to be trained to use multiple systems to perform their roles in the organization. It also ensures a cross-workload and comprehensive data governance strategy that grows as the offering does. If Microsoft is meeting your current needs, this is a way to help ensure your future use is also included in your data governance practices.

Veritas Enterprise Vault

Veritas Enterprise Vault provides an enterprise-level solution for archiving data from various sources, including email and file systems. It allows users to quickly search and retrieve archived data while providing robust security and compliance features.  Its archiving solution often found its place in the Leaders Quadrant for EIAs and is one of the most feature rich solutions still available for organizations still seeking to archive local Exchange environments.  Its mailbox archiving is the backbone for eDiscovery and compliance add-ons that often find themselves in compliant or litigious organizations.

Metalogix Archive Manager

Metalogix Archive Manager is an email archiving solution that provides long-term archiving and retrieval of different data types, including email data. It allows organizations to access, retain, or expire archived data quickly and when needed.

In addition to these, some organizations with specialized needs seek third party SaaS offerings to meet their ongoing business needs. Organizations such as Mimecast, Proofpoint, and Smarsh have products and services that cater to a specific demographic of those who use EIAs, who often have needs beyond the scope of other providers.

Validating Source Data

Many organizations have been archiving data for a very long time. In the data’s lifespan, it may have seen many challenges that required good practices and proper remediation to recover from.

Archiving solutions often need several areas backed up as aggressively as they are archiving. This can include (sometimes many) SQL databases, storage arrays, and specialized resources. When a data loss event occurs, following proper procedures can reduce the risk of loss of data in an environment. Often times, these are lessons learned after a failure has occurred and data was lost. 

If you suspect source integrity issues, you may want to work with Dell support in addition to standard backup processes. Validating the presence of a data consistency issue and determining what can be done about it is important for both migration preparation and failure expectations.

Moving SourceOne data?

Regardless of the direction an organization heads, it will be necessary to migrate the data retained in SourceOne to ensure the data is in a supportable solution. Native tooling is often insufficient to successfully restore or migrate this data because EIA solutions were designed to archive the data, and not to perform mass restorations.

It is important to choose a mature vendor that is well versed in the intricacies of this source to ensure all the data archived from Exchange is in scope to migrate out of SourceOne. This not only includes what is expected by the mail enabled users within an organization, but also on the legal and compliance teams that need access to this data. Mistakes are often identified too late, and have too little recourse upon discovery.

Quest Archive Shuttle provides a comprehensive migration solution designed to migrate from Dell EMC SourceOne to various platforms, including Office 365, Exchange, Veritas Enterprise Vault, and many others. The solution simplifies the migration process while ensuring the integrity of all migrated data.

Ensuring a smooth transition from Dell EMC SourceOne to a suitable replacement platform is crucial for the continuity of business within your organization. By considering alternative solutions like Veritas Enterprise Vault, Metalogix Archive Manager for Exchange, or Exchange Online, you can take early steps towards making a successful switch before the end-of-life date arrives.

Identify how much Dell EMC SourceOne data you need to migrate.

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