Stubbing for lean systems and high performance databases?

For performance reasons, so-called "stubbing" is often recommended to reduce the load on local systems. With this approach, data that belongs together is broken down into its individual components, stored separately and only brought together again when required via appropriate links. This approach can be illustrated particularly clearly using the example of e-mails. However, it applies mutatis mutandis to many other data formats, such as related documents on servers or in databases. In the case of e-mails, these are first broken down into their individual components (header, body, attachment) during stubbing. While the actual content of the message and the file attachments are stored on a separate storage system, only the mail header remains locally in the e-mail client.

At first glance, this sounds like a pragmatic approach, but in practice it also has some undesirable side effects:

Reduced Database Performance

Stubbing can help to reduce the amount of data for a short period of time and thus reduce the load on the systems. However, the performance problems are unfortunately not yet solved. This is because even if the data volume is reduced locally, the increased index entries and associated content in the database can actually slow down the systems significantly when stubbing. Additional investment in new and faster hardware may be required to compensate for this decline in performance.

So if you're going to spread loads, you better do it right! Feel free to talk to us about how you can cleverly store relevant documents and attachments in EMA® to actually take the burden off your local systems.

Legal challenges

By splitting into the individual parts, the documents or e-mails lose their original state. This makes it difficult to prove unaltered, tamper-free authenticity at a later date. This plays an essential role not only in the delivery of evidence, but especially in compliance with the GDPR. Because the regulation as well as some further laws and guidelines presuppose for the data retention the secure protection against changes and manipulations.

Quick search and recovery can be difficult

The quick retrieval and restoration of documents is one of the greatest added values of high-performance archiving. With stubbing solutions, however, only the information from the e-mail header or locally remaining part of the document is usually available for the search. To stay with the illustrative example of e-mails again: Finding a certain mail can be very time-consuming and difficult purely by means of the header. For example, a meaningful subject line is not always chosen. In addition, almost everyone knows from their own experience the case where the topic discussed changes significantly in the course of a longer e-mail exchange and no longer fits the original subject.


Due to all these limitations and side effects, ARTEC has consciously decided against the use of stubbing in its classic form in the development of EMA® and is relying on more advanced technologies as an alternative. Please contact us for further details.