Dealing with very restrictive mailbox size limits.

Hi All,

I am after a fresh set of eyes for a problem that one of my clients is facing, and thought of no-where better to go than here :)

This client is actually a small branch of a major international organisation, as such, they do not have full control over their circumstances.  The organisation is moving from Lotus to Exchange (YAY!) but this has changed the deployment scenario.

This branch will no longer have it's own mail server (as they did under Lotus) instead, I am assuming that they will be using RPC/HTTPS to connect to the server.  This branch is ~25 people, were it my call, I would drop an exchange server in there.

ANYWAY, the actual problem is that there are going to be some extremely aggressive mailbox restrictions; from the virtual no-limit they have now, on their own server to the nightmarish limit of 100MB - count it, one hundred meg.

So, assuming that a dedicated exchange server here is not an option (feel free to comment about this though), what could be done?

My suggestion was to look at something like Enterprise Vault to rip it all off at a scheduled time (but the details of how this would work is not too clear) OR the horrible proposition of having AutoArchive PST files stored over the network.  Bearing in mind that at the moment, this is the best solution we have - HELP!

Thanks in advance

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SembeeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The only way that you can get Exchange 2000 is via downgrade rights. You cannot buy licenses for it - you have to buy Exchange 2003 licenses. Although those may have been withdrawn now in preparation for Exchange 2007 licenses.

Enterprise Vault is expensive. I don't believe you can actually purchase the product and have the CDs to install yourself. I think it is either sold with expensive consultants to do the install or you have to go and do a course to do the installation. I know that one of my clients looked at it as part of an Exchange deployment and it would have increased the cost of the deployment by over double (which included my fee for the Exchange part).

Considering it is a financial company you would have hoped that they would consider the legal issues with document retention. One of my most frequent customer types is financial industry (insurance, loans etc) and with them we have to consider the document retention issues.
The most frequent deployment is GFI Mail Archiver with its own SQL server. That uses journaling and therefore allows a copy of the messages to be stored. GFI MA is popular with the users as well as they can get the items back "on demand" using a web interface. It takes a little while for them to get used to it, but once they have, I find the size of the mailboxes actually reduces as the users only keep live information in the mailbox. Once it has been dealt with it is deleted as they know there is a copy elsewhere that can be easily found and retrieved.

However that requires your own Exchange server to set the journaling. If the corporate bodies are not prepared to let you have your own server then your hands are tied.
In that case I would go with their requirements and limits, and then ensure that the user community know who to complain to. If you have a high concentration of directors then those cannot be ignored for very long unless corporate IT is very strong and has 100% backing of a very strong CEO.

RiaanRouxConnect With a Mentor Commented:

The idea of using something like Enterprise Vault would be the most feasible option, but you would need to consider the network and bandwidth availibility in the deployment scenario.  If they are on a low bandwidth channel, a local server deployment may be the better option, but does raise costs.

Wen it comes to using PSTs it is always a nigtmare.  My personal opinion (based on experience) is that PSTs should not exist unless they contain data that is disposable.  When using PSTs they should ALWAYS be on the local PC and never across any kind of network link to any share.  PSTs over the network almost always will corrupt.  (It is a case of "when", not "if".)

100Mb is not as small as it seems... it is quite enough for a business envirnment.  Users should be (re)educated that their mail sstem is NOT a storage system, but a business communication channel for dynamic data.  Any critical mail (and attachments) should be stored on local file servers.

Afterthought: I am assuming you will be deploying Exchange 2003 with Outlook 2003 clients, so cached mode is a must.  

My 2c

redseatechnologiesAuthor Commented:
Hi Riaan, thanks for responding.

Have you used Enterprise Vault?  I haven't, and don't want to trawl through the Symantec sales rubbish to figure a few things out :)

The bandwidth is going to be ok (apparently) - something like a 1mb link between here and there.

I totally agree with you about PST files, but I know that they work over networks (as I am sure you do) it just may be simpler to educate these users (more importantly, the inhouse IT staff) in the intricacies of scanpst.exe - although, I do agree, not the best long term solution.

100mb for some of these users is 1 weeks worth of mail.  Bear in mind that while this is a branch office, there are a lot of important people here (Directors, etc) this is (by my standards) a major, major company.  I am worried that re-education will simply not be a good enough solution - out of the 25 staff, I would imagine that 10 would be directors, of that, the law of averages says that _at least_ 6 will be unhappy about, and _at least_ 2 will simply refuse to comply.

Also, this is a financial company - legal documents, spreadsheets, etc, will be flying around all over the place - so they will need to be able to keep a good hold of everything that is archived.

I am under the impression that we will be at least talking about Exchange 2003 with OL 2003 - but that is not confirmed (do they even sell EX2K anymore?)

Anyway, thanks again for your response.  Thinking these issues out with you has made me think there is going to only be 2 solutions, a local exchange server, or a local symantec enterprise vault server...

redseatechnologiesAuthor Commented:
Thank you both for your time, and your answers.  I will post back when I know what is going to happen.

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