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Email Archiving & Exchange 2010

Posted on 2011-02-20
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Regarding Tigermatt’s Article, titled: Why you shouldn't use PST files posted on 24/10/2009
I would like to ask you some questions because I am newbie to Exchange Server and I am confused.

First of all when I make a backup of my personal folder through Outlook Export option is there any possibility that the exported file is corrupted, even if there is no unsuccessful message?

My Exchange Server 2003 with SP2 has 20 mailboxes and 10 public folders.
What is the type of file that uses Exchange to store all this data?? It can be corrupted or not?

What Mailbox Archiving Does?
As far as I can understand when the data on the mailboxes and on the public folders gets to large, we can use Archiving tools to split the data.

Which is the recommended Mailbox and Public folder limit before we could use an Archiving option?
What we do when the Archived data gets to large too?

I am going to upgrade my Exchange Server. Which version of Exchange Server 2010 supports archiving? Is it compared with Symantec Enterprise Vault or GFI MailArchiver?

Last but not least which is the best backup solution for Exchange ? (Mailboxes and Public Folders)
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Question by:mamelas
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by:MichaelVH
ID: 34937789
Hi there,

quite a lot of questions for one post ;-)

First off, yes PST's can be a real pain in the *ss; but sometimes they're the only (and best) option.
They can go corrupt (especially when file sizes get too big (>2GB) they tend to corrupt easily). I've never seen a PST go corrupt immediately after export though.

Exchange 2003 has no native; built-in 'archiving' tool or utility. If you "archive" from your outlook client; you are actually moving messages from the server store into a locally stored PST-file. As from Exchange 2010 this is different. E2K10 has so-called archive-mailboxes ("personal archives). In short they can be compare to a secondary "online" mailbox for the user (without getting into any details).

I suggest your read up on this feature on technet:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd979795.aspx


Now about Exchange-databases. Exchange database are actually JET-databases. They are stored on the exchange-server in an .edb-file (and in earlier versions there was also a .stm-file). Again, I suggest thay you do some reading on technet, because explaining Exchange databases would take up several hundres of pages ;-) (In the technet library take a look at exchange databases under Exchange 2003 and Exchange databases under Exchange 2010; they do vary quite a bit from eachoter!)
But to keep it short and give an answer to your question: YES they can be corrupted (although they're quite robust to my opinion).
(note: If they do get corrupt; there are tools to get them back to work (isinteg eseutil ...); although that's not a guarantee for success).

Last, there are quite some good archiving solutions for Exchange. Commvault offers a nice solution as does Symantec with it's Enterprise-vault.
It really depends on what your needs are and ofcourse what you can spend. Up to you to make that decision!

Hopefully this cleared up the sky a bit for you!

Grts,

Michael
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by:chlebi
ID: 34937838
Regarding corruption of PST - yes, it can get corrupt. After horrible experience with PST's we do not allow them in our otganizations anymore.

Exchange server stores all data in databases on the server hard drive, usually there is one for mailboxes and one for public folders and they are called priv.edb and pub.edb. These don't get corrupt easily (but they of course can for example when power fails etc.) and are really reliable.

Regarding archiving and what it does - this very much depends on what solution you use. Outlook itself uses PST files and is not recommended for big mailboxes with many items.

The limit of data before you start archiving depends on database limits based on Exchange server you are using. When you reach this limit, you cannot store more data into Exchange. Also you should consider what ind of storage you use and how powerful it is while handling big files. For archiving you are with most solutions on the market only limited by amount of storage on your hard drives or SAN and sometimes licenses.

With Exchange 2010 you can user either the built in archiving whoch uses the same kind of databases as Exchange or use a third party software. There are many of them on the market with different possibilities. As far as I know any Exchange edition supports the archiving but you need to purchase an enterprise CALs for the clients to use it.

For backup again, many solutions - I personally use Backup Exec with Exchange agent to backup my servers.

Generally speaking you ask quite genaral questions so there are zillion possibilities. You should sit down and think what you have, what you really need, what you could need and what you want to achieve in near future. Then make a real plan. You can lose quite a lot of time and money if you chose wrong products or combination of products. Since you speak about 20 mailboxes and 10 Public folders your server is really a small one so I'd try to avoid any crazy enterprise solutions.




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Praveen Balan earned 2000 total points
ID: 34937865
See the answer for each of you questions,

First of all when I make a backup of my personal folder through Outlook Export option is there any possibility that the exported file is corrupted, even if there is no unsuccessful message?

Ans - :-The chances are very less when there is no error or warning message during the operation. However, the PST will be impacted if there is any corruption to hard disk or the file system.

My Exchange Server 2003 with SP2 has 20 mailboxes and 10 public folders.
What is the type of file that uses Exchange to store all this data?? It can be corrupted or not?

Ans:- It is the ESE database. The file extensions are .edb and .stm. By default these files will be under the MDBDATA folder inside the Exchange installation directory(C:\Program Files\ExchSvr). The default location can be modified according to the need.

What Mailbox Archiving Does?
As far as I can understand when the data on the mailboxes and on the public folders gets to large, we can use Archiving tools to split the data.

Ans:-Yes, it is correct to an extend. However, It is not splitting but it is moving files out from the exchange database and stores in to the archived file.

Which is the recommended Mailbox and Public folder limit before we could use an Archiving option?
What we do when the Archived data gets to large too?

Ans:- It is not the size which impact the exchange performance. It is the number of items in the mailbox since exchange 2003 uses the logical pointers. performance is largely influenced by the number of items in the most commonly used folders: Calendar, Contacts, Inbox, and Sent Item folder.
It is recommended to have 2500 to 5000 messages in any of the path which is accessed frequently. If you have size limitation in you storage, you may go a head. Also 500 MB to 1GB should not be a problem.

I am going to upgrade my Exchange Server. Which version of Exchange Server 2010 supports archiving? Is it compared with Symantec Enterprise Vault or GFI MailArchiver?

Ans:- Yes, Exchange 2010 have the archiving solution. The archive mailbox can be created on different database since Exchange 2010 SP1, ref http://www.exchangedictionary.com/index.php/Articles/archive-mailbox-sp1.html
The archiving can be used as a replacement for PST. This can not be compared with Symantec EV or GFI, however it can be a perfect replacing for PST.

Last but not least which is the best backup solution for Exchange ? (Mailboxes and Public Folders)
Ans:- It is again upon the requirement. Microsoft has a very good backup solution now, DPM(http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/data-protection-manager.aspx).
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