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We have an 800GB (and Growing) Exchange 2010 SP1 environment and a 3rd Party Archiving Solution on top of that. We have grown without bounds for years (No retention polices outside of Sent/Deleted items and no mailbox quotas. We no longer have Exchange Administration experience on staff (guy left).

I am interested in finding out what other readers are using for Archving, what types of quotas and retention policies are being used in Exchange and how much mail everyone keeps in the main Mailbox Database. We only have about 680 users and a 800GB database. I would love to put restrictive retention policies in place and move most of the mail to the 3rd Party Archving Solution (Cloud?) but that product does not seem very useable for users to be in on a day to day basis. And then there is the politics of having to leave the execs mail alone ...

Any insight/suggestions will be most appreciated.

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We're researching the same thing right now (with similar disk space sizes). So far seems to be the best choice for archiving, but haven't really been sold on it yet. – David Oct 24 '11 at 18:39
Have not heard of them. Will take a look, Thanks. – Kev Oct 24 '11 at 23:07

Exchange 2010 SP1 has a great Online Archive built in. You will need an Enterprise CAL for each user but it's really good. It's accessible from Outlook and WebMail as long as you're connected to the server (as in - Outlook in offline mode won't see the archive).

You can also specify a separate database(s) to store the archive (that's SP1 improvement) and store them on cheaper LUN (SATA drives for example).

I find it really good and cost efficient compared to third party solutions.

Quotas and retention policies will be different for every company. For 60 users for example we set up a 2 GB limit but for 600 users it would be 512 MB per mailbox. And that only if it was down to us to decide and not strictly specified by the customer.

Retention policies usually start from 14 months up (a year and a bit of overlap for end of year stuff) but most of the time the requirements are actually dictated by the customers.

I'd love to be able to say that 'this' way is the best way of doing it but unfortunately it's not that easy.

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Thanks for the input. I was looking at that. We would need the Enterprise CAL. One of our big problems no matter the solution still would be what can we do with the data that is currently sitting in our 3rd party Archive solution. – Kev Oct 24 '11 at 23:06
One drawback of the Exchange 2010 SP1 archiving is that users can delete mail unless you set legal hold. – Kev Dec 10 '11 at 19:37

I've been using the commercial version of MailArchiva to handle long-term retention and journaling (for compliance). This has worked well on a 300GB mailstore. It's quite manageable and compresses/deduplicates the mail stored within. Users do not have explicit access to the archive, so it's more of a last-resort for them. I'm assuming you are looking for a way for this to be transparent to your users.

Given that Exchange 2010 has the archiving functionality in the Enterprise version, you can just direct the archives to a lower-tier of storage. It seems like you have some policy issues to work out. You should have mailbox quotas, for instance... Do you want to have to maintain and backup 800+GB of mail indefinitely?

See the post at: Email hoarder intervention and education - (Exchange environment)

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