Exchange Server email store management tool

Tags:
.PST files
Email Store
Exchange administrative management tool
Exchange Server
It's been a constant struggle keeping the size of our Exchange email store under control, as my company has a virtually paperless environment. How do companies handle an ever-growing Exchange email store without putting hard quotas in place? Or is that a pie-in-the-sky idea? We currently perform quarterly extracts of .PST files where we snip off everything but a month's worth of user email. We then back them up and store them on the user's local machine in order to reduce email store size on the Exchange server. Is there a tool that can automate this process? Microsoft Outlook's auto-archive tool seems like it might work, but I'm looking for more of an administrative tool.
ASKED: February 8, 2008  9:28 PM
UPDATED: February 9, 2008  2:23 AM

Answer Wiki

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“There is no spoon”.

Mailbox quotas is only part of the solution. You also need to reset user awareness and expectations, also implement a centralized e-mail archival solution (if needed or desired).

You need better trained users. First of all, Exchange is not a filing system. Typically, the most space is consumed by attachments. To minimize this impact, users should be trained to remove attachments from messages and delete messages that they no longer need. This can be enforced using mailbox management and third-party archiving/retention solutions that replace messages with shortcuts and/or make them available in another manner, such as a Web portal.

Until attachments and old messages are deleted by users, or they get removed for them, you will constantly battle with an ever increasing information store size. In the meantime, things that you can try include breaking users into additional storage groups and databases to reduce the size of each. This will also lead to faster backups/restores of each storage group/database.

It’s also worth considering that archived data, including e-mail presents a legal liability. You cannot control .PST files in the same manner that you can a centralized/managed archive system.

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