What helped make Solar Archive right for today’s cloud providers is something that happened a long time ago.
In July 2000 the UK Government introduced the Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). A response to the growth of the Internet and strong encryption, the Act called for government surveillance of communications.
Internet Service Providers would need to hand over communications to public bodies. They’d also have to keep records for six to 24 months. The problem? Back then there was no technology in place to meet either of those demands.
Looking for help, a global ISP called MCI WorldCom met up with our solution’s creators in a pub in Cambridge, England. What was needed, the two parties agreed, was software that could capture, index and preserve emails at very high volumes, and compress them to avoid consuming unnecessary storage. The solution would also need to keep data separate per country, by domain name, and organisation.
In effect, they required a multi-tenant environment, not dissimilar to what cloud providers work with nowadays. Here’s how the developers made it happen.
The original project, called Earwig, identified technologies that could do what was needed – including retaining and searching through trillions of emails. Legal and forensic experts were consulted to make sure the solution would be legally compliant; this put compliance at the heart of it from the start. Other criteria included:
- data at rest needed to be kept secure with encryption
- access would be based on users having the right privileges
- there would be audit trails and guardians who watched over the correct usage of the solution
- while retaining data, the solution would protect the privacy rights of the people who the data related to.
With early prototypes the developers ruled out storing emails into a database, as performance would degrade when the software dealt with the scale of emails and petabytes of data. Also, there was a need to move data onto different tiers of storage to make the solution cost effective.
A Government U-turn surprised us: ISPs were no longer required to keep emails for six to 24 months. Meanwhile, the developers had created a solution, and the ISPs no longer needed it. Fortunately, other businesses did.
Legal and financial firms showed an interest in the tool: professions that wanted nothing but the truth liked how the solution could provide a secure record of who said what. A London law firm became the first customer to use our solution’s original prototype (named BlackBoxMail). The firm still uses an evolved version of that early base solution today.
Cryoserver is born
In 2004, one of the software’s marketers saw a name on the side of a truck delivering gas to a local hospital: ‘CryoService’. It inspired a new name for our solution – and one that was to stick: Cryoserver (because, in effect, it froze data).
Cryoserver grew in popularity, to the point where it’s now delivered in over 25 countries. It has archived multi-billions of emails for customers including:
- Intelligence agencies
- Forensic teams
- Federal Governments
- Local Governments
- Blue chips
- Household names
- Educational institutions
All of them have benefitted from a lightning-fast email archive solution.
Over the past decade, the way people work has changed enormously. We’ve seen:
- individuals and businesses increasingly turn to cloud providers for their services, including email
- the move to subscription-based and PAYG billing models
- the huge growth and take-up of Microsoft’s Office 365
- the increase in workloads and massive numbers of visitors online necessitating Amazon and others to scale up backend platforms
- service providers needing to deliver 99.999% uptime
- the UK’s Investigatory Powers Act 2016 giving intelligence agencies the powers to conduct bulk interception, bulk collection of metadata, bulk equipment interference and the retention and use of bulk datasets
- a need for white label solutions which could be integrated within service providers’ portals.
To meet these new demands of business, Amazon and Microsoft gave us wonderful new platforms, AWS and Azure respectively.
Cryoserver has also evolved to:
- be capable of running across multiple servers
- include an API framework for 3rd parties to be able to interact seamlessly with the solution at various levels
- to be capable of scaling to unprecedented levels and driving down the running costs of the solution
- create a white label, multi-tenant solution for cloud providers
In addition, over the years, Cryoserver went from processing 200 emails per second, or 15 million emails per day, to being able to exponentially process an unlimited number (millions) of emails per second, and maintain a split-second search response across petabytes of data sets.
Partnering for email archiving as a service
To make Cryoserver meet the needs of cloud providers, we utilised the latest platforms, orchestrations and technologies such as AWS, Azure, OpenStack, Kubernetes and Docker Containers. We also made the solution able to move data through multiple storage tiers.
With the resulting solution, infrastructure costs are now just a few cents per user per month. This has made the solution particularly attractive to cloud providers and technology partners looking to strengthen their cloud-based solutions with additional functionality – for example, a provider who already delivers a cloud mailbox and/or AntiSpam/AntiVirus service and who wants to bolt on an email archiving solution.
2017: the birth of Solar Archive
To differentiate the white-label archive solution from what we call ‘Classic Cryoserver’, a new company was formed in 2017, giving the solution its own identity: Solar Archive. We enable service providers to come to market at speed with an email archiving service running on a scalable, cloud-based infrastructure, white label, enterprise, multi-tenanted email archiving solution.
GDPR and compliance
In May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force for 28 European countries. It covers a wide range of areas including:
- the protection of data at rest
- the need for the data to be kept securely (encrypted),
- controlled access (role-based access)
- the need for audit trails to show who has access to the data.
Both Solar Archive and Cryoserver comply with GDPR and all other major industry and government regulations around the world. Because of this, the solution is well placed in the market to address customer needs in either direct or indirect channels.
Completing your solution
At the end of 2018, we at Solar Archive see a variety of different cloud providers leading the way with their unique offerings. We understand your need to add more value to the stack of services you currently provide. Our solution can help you increase the average revenue per customer by selling an additional, necessary service to your customer base.