Managing the Challenges of Change – The Weight of Multiple Email Archives Put to Rest

By Geoffrey Sherman

In May 2018, I was featured in an article on RVM’s blog titled “How to Manage the Challenges of Change in Technology.” We walked through the business drivers, general concerns with change, and criteria for success in this article. In addition, we highlighted how RVM can assist in situations involving legacy system migrations to reduce the burden already present with busy in-house resources.

As an update, I wanted to share a recent project where RVM was asked to migrate multiple legacy email archive platforms.

Cloud-Hosted Archive System

For the migration of a cloud-hosted archive system our client required each custodian for each matter to be exported in a PST format. This is an arduous process that requires attention to detail and strong quality assurance to successfully complete. To accomplish this RVM created an intuitive folder structure to mimic the matter and their respective custodians. In addition, RVM utilized a combination of PowerShell scripts and a PST split tool to appropriately size exported files as well as validate their counts. Completion of this migration phase allowed our client to reduce their licensing expenses and decommission this legacy system.

On Premise Archive System

For the migration of an on premise system our client also required the full export of relevant messages. This system had a massive volume of messages, nearly 60 million, across archive and journal email stores. Due to the system’s age and overhead, the ability to export items from the user interface became problematic. The system became overwhelmed by the volume of exports which ultimately caused instability to the end users, hindering their ability to search and retrieve emails. In addition, initial estimates reported that exports would take well over one year to complete and require tremendous interaction with the system clicking through each export.

To combat the challenges faced, RVM utilized the expertise of our in-house developers and the archive platform’s high-speed API. The developers created a robust utility to directly export messages, eliminating the prior bottlenecks and application latency. The utility was able to identify the distinct list of custodians available, target those still on legal hold, and export messages in batches.

Once stable, RVM implemented threading to the solution, which increased throughput to upwards of 3 million messages daily and met our goal of completing nearly 60 million messages in total. All this was accomplished in far less time with a substantially greater level of accuracy than directly using the application as an administrator. The RVM team also used this as an opportunity to validate counts, estimate duplicate data using a custom hash, and re-hydrate corrupt messages with a successfully stored version.


The challenges presented by decommissioning and/or migrating legacy systems can create a real roadblock for organizations. When selecting a partner to work with on such endeavors one should ensure they have a clear proposed plan, tremendous determination, and a track record of adapting when traditional approaches were not successful.