18 ways that golf and email are alike …

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This is the first in a four-part series.

This week, Barracuda Networks will be sponsoring the Barracuda Championship on the PGA Tour at the Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, Nevada.  In golf, there are so many options, so many decisions to make on equipment, course strategy, course location, who you play with, who you don’t play with and the most important decision…what the beverage of the day will be.  While I prefer to drink Heineken when I golf…like the rest of the decisions…everyone’s got an opinion.  The same holds true with how we manage our email.  So, to celebrate the inaugural year of the Barracuda Championship, let’s take a look at how golf and email are alike in so many ways …

Front 9, part 1

#1 Where Did That &%&*$ Ball Go

I play a fair amount of golf and lose a a fair amount of balls.  I have accepted this as a fact of life.  I thank Costco of keeping the cost of balls down.  More often than not I find the image of the perfect swing in my head and my actual swing to be as far apart as the tee and the pin.   And most of the time I find myself walking through the rough, forest, grass, weeds or whatever lines the fairway, looking for my ball.  At some point it becomes a mission…must find that ball.  Your email system is very much like a golf course.  Most of the time the email finds its way to the server and sometimes onto backup tapes or disk.  That’s a good thing.  But overtime all those emails end up turning into the dreadful rough that lines the sides of a fairway.  Finding that one email amongst all the other emails can be as hard as finding your ball in the rough.  However, what if you had a search tool for you ball that identifies exactly where on the course it was?  Using an email archive lets you keep only what you need for as long as you need it and trims away all the “weeds”.  Because everything that is archived gets indexed and stored so that finding that email from two years ago is as easy as running a search in the easy to use interface.  eDiscovery has never been so easy.

#2 Do you carry your old clubs and new?

Think about the last time you bought new clubs.  Did you keep your old clubs in your bag along with your new ones?  Of course you didn’t!  You gave them to your kids, spouse or chances are they’re just sitting in your garage.  Now think about work.  Are you planning or have your recently upgraded your email server?  What did you do or plan to do with all that legacy email sitting in your email server.  Did you or do you plan to move all that email to the new server?  If so, why?  It would be the same as carrying all your old clubs with you when golfing…imagine how tired you would be, imagine how your game would suffer from that exhaustion.  Migrating old email when upgrading does the same thing to your shiny new email server.  Yes, it’s a fast, high performance 64bit beast.  But at some point all that old email will drag it down.  It would be kind of like hitching a Winnebago to a Porsche…you just don’t do it.  Implementing an email archive before a migration can not only expedite the upgrade and migration process, it will let your new email system do what it does best without the legacy overhead weighing it down.  And all those emails will be safely stored, indexed and available to users to access via Outlook, mobile device, anytime anywhere.  And when the lawyers call asking for a specific email…it’s easily searchable.  See #1 above.

#3 No Two Holes Alike

Course architects go through great lengths to make every course different but they also strive to make every hole challenging and different in every way.  Some holes have more obstacles, dog legs, curves, bends, trees, hills, water, you name it and it’s in the architect’s bag of tricks.  I’ve even played a course where wild foxes wander the course along with wild turkeys and geese.  It certainly keeps things interesting.  Like holes at a golf course…no two emails are alike.  They vary in size, attachments, internal, external and most critical, importance.  Using the lowest common denominator retention policy as a blanket policy will only cause problems in the future.  Whether to comply with government regulations or to maintain company records, the Barracuda Message Archiver enables organizations to set customizable archiving policies. Organizations are empowered with the ability to define content, header and attachment-based policies.  Now I should mention that while not all emails are created equal there are often common elements, especially when looking comparing attachments.  The Barracuda Message Archiver uses a form of deduplication called single instance storage, for both new and older messages.  This reduces expensive tier-1 storage for email servers and minimizes the time it takes to backup email data.

#4 Everyone’s an expert!

Whether they’re vocal about it or not, every single person you play with is judging your stance, your swing and your overall game.  Everyone’s an expert.  You’ve probably seen the same behavior at work about what to do with email.  Some say keep it forever, some say delete it immediately, while others say create categories and have all users categorize every email only to find that 99% of email is marked “personal” because that’s the first policy on the drop down menu.  Implementing an email archive puts an expert in your data center that knows the rules, recommends the best practices, and improves your game.  The Barracuda Message Archiver allows you to set archiving based on what policies your lawyers, execs and HR want and it does the job for you…every time, without judgment.

#5 Appliances are like Clubs

With up to 14 clubs in your bag, you have so many choices to make with every shot.  The reality is you only use a few select clubs consistently because over time you look for consistency off the tee, fairway and green.  Club makers have even introduced hybrids that let you use one club that does the job of several different clubs.  You trust your utility clubs to do their job and they deliver every time.  There’s a movement in IT that is shifting from using build your own servers to purpose built appliances.  Sure Exchange has included archiving and retention functionality but in reality this is just adding more load onto the server and Exchange itself.  Deploying a purpose built archiving appliance means you no longer have to be a systems integrator piecing together software, hardware, NICs, patches, security wrappers, etc.  The appliance comes fully installed and ready to go…in fact it’s so easy to use we often say out of the box and into the archive in less than an hour.  It’s your go to, utility club, that does exactly what you want it to do, every time.

Would you like to more about the Barracuda Message Archiver?  Take a look at the product here and check out the video below.  And if you’d like more information on the Barracuda Championship, there’s a blog post here and a press release here.

Update:  the full series is here

Part one – first half of the front nine

Part two – second half of the front nine

Part three – first half of the back nine

Part four – second half of the back nine

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