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Best Practice Exchange 2003 mailbox size limit?

Posted on 2010-08-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-22
Hi everyone,

I have a client running Exchange 2003 SP2 Standard and their database size is current;y 25GGB.  Plenty of space to grow.  However, I have 1 user who is taking up about half of that space - her mailbox is 11GB currently.  She stores all of the time cards (scanned images and pdf/xls docs) in her mailbox and can't really get rid of them.  Their currenty backup solution is within 3GB of it's capacity limit so I can't really archive out her email.  

My question is this:  Is there any potential problem with her mailbox being that size?  To clarify - I know it's not a problem because growth wise, they won't reach their 75GB Information Store capacity anytime soon but could the fact that her mailbox is so large, it could cause issues if I had to do a restore or some sort of repair?

I'm just trying to be proactive with this.  

Question by:GDavis193
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Accepted Solution

ZombieAutopsy earned 126 total points
ID: 33532840
You said exaclty it, if you tried to restore and 11 gig mailbox, there is a good chance that it would become corrupt. not to mention even if you did archive her stuff, you shouldnt really have a pst file go past 2 gigs because it then become unstable. i dont care what my users have, i have a  mailbox limit for eveyone including the CEO to a mailbox limit of 2 gigs, after that they wont get mail or be able to send mail. The 11 gig mailbox is a pretty deep hole in my opinion.

Author Comment

ID: 33532873
So I've heard but I can't seem to find any documentation stating this.  I would like to hear some real world examples or just a little more information so when we perform the work for this client, I can back up my reasons as to doing so.

Thank you.

Expert Comment

ID: 33532930
Im not to sure of actual documentation, most of it is experience and hearing from other IT pros. i will try to find some documentation for you though,
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LVL 53

Assisted Solution

by:Will Szymkowski
Will Szymkowski earned 126 total points
ID: 33532990
I would say that this all depends on the needs of your users. People/departments that deal with more images/attachments would be given a higher priority for mailbox size but this also does depend on the needs for your users. However, I would not allow a user to have 11GB of mailbox space as all ready mentioned you can have corruption with sizes like this.

This is also not good to allow users to have this much mailbox space as it creates the illusion that they do not have to "archive" or delete anything (which also create an issue).

I would have to disagree with Zombie on the PST comment as the new PST (unicode) format can store up to 22GB of space. As long as you are accessing this archive locally to the machine that the user is using is should be fine (do not use archives this large on network shares).

Also take a look at this PAQ as it also give good insight on how to set this up..

Hope this helps~!

Assisted Solution

Dangle79 earned 126 total points
ID: 33533020
i tend to just point out that your email box isn't intended to be a storage facility. i.e. you don't leave your postal mail in your mailbox all sorted out. sooner or later your mailman will come slap you.

however, it's a difficult situation given that she's already let it get that out of hand. my typical stance is that your email is not a place to store files; that's what the file server is for. we've had similar issues with our six-sigma department doing their file sharing via Outlook instead of their network drive. instead of saving an updated spreadsheet on the network, they'd just attach it to an email and forward to the whole department. they'd have their mailboxes full of 20 versions of the same excel file each. stupid. how you get them to go through and save stuff off is a sticky situation.

my best suggestion would be to get her to sort the mail into categories/folders using the Outlook rules wizard, then as size allows archive those folders to PST files (w/in 2GB of course) then put a limit on her and tell her she needs to handle saving this data in a different fashion.

Assisted Solution

rr1968 earned 126 total points
ID: 33533035
 There is no hard and fast rule for mailbox size, however the probability of corrupting a mailbox increases with size over 2GB.
Also number of items in each folder plays an important role in performance of the Outlook. I think more than 5K items in Inbox increases the slowness in accessing the data.

LVL 10

Assisted Solution

dhruvarajp earned 246 total points
ID: 33533598
well i would typically limit mailboxes sizes to less than or equal to 500 MB for normal
and have a approval process for users requesting more that that..

huge mailboxes really mean a lot in terms of exchange performance
even if do a delete opration say a 2gb mailbox... or 2gb mailbox items
you are creaing free sapce..rapidly where you would need to do a defrag
to gain that space..
and back up and restpre SLA is also depends on the database size..
you you might want to do is set  retention policy say 30 days or
90 days
and basis that delete all older email automatically
tell users to take pst if they need to preserve emails

also i would encourage you to set the max message sise limit that users can send for better performance..

if you need to send recieve large files  .. better colaborate using sharepoint services that are free with server 2003 R2
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

dhruvarajp earned 246 total points
ID: 33533627
here is a deeper insight about qutoa management

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33568874
THANKS - not the complete answer i was looking for but good enough for now.

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