ArcMail Defender

I’m torn on this device. 

When we were first looking into an e-mail archiving solution I thought about ‘brewing my own’ since I didn’t figure that it could be that hard to use the Exchange journaling option to dump e-mail out to a Linux box running MySQL (which as near as I can tell is what the ArcMail Defender box is).  However I would be running the risk of having it go the same road as all my other Linux projects: a stable, low maintenance solution that’s preceded by a horrible, painful amount of configuration time (a time so painful that I might not finish it).  In this case that was time I didn’t have so we elected to go with the most cost effective solution, the mini-ATX ArcMail Defender.

I’ve have had to use the software that comes with the device twice to retrieve e-mails and it proved a trouble free task.  The box also helps me sleep easier at night since I know that there’s yet another e-mail backup running, one that runs all the time.  The only issue I have is the sketchy support.

If you go to the company’s front page you’ll notice (at least at this time) that there’s no link for support.  No support forums (usually the only source for decent online support anywhere anymore), no e-mail links (it’s and no phone number (it’s 1-888-790-9252) all of which give the impression of a fly-by-night operation.  On top of that I’ve had four hardware issues with the box, three of which required ordering parts. 

I should note that the first issue occurred when we initially received the device.  While checking out the box to see what it was made of (it’s made of off-the-shelf parts) I noticed that the RAID card was improperly wired and seated.

I guess it’s like a lot of tech items: a dream when it works, not so much when it doesn’t.  I think I’d feel a lot sunnier about if ArcMail would turn their game up a notch.  Generic parts are fine, so long as they don’t fail and less rigorous tech support is acceptable, so long as your customers can get to it.

*What instigated this post was a hard drive replacement that took more than two weeks to get to me (they blamed UPS, which might be legit I guess) and subsequent late call back to tell me how to rebuild my RAID 1 set using the opaque RAID tools that come with the system.

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