Email archiving and culling Exchange SBS 2008

Posted on 2011-03-12
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We have an SBS 2008 server which receives a lot of email with large picture attachments - sometimes the pictures are upwards of 10MB big. Over the years, our exchange databases have quickly grown upwards of 60GB big, most of this we believe is picture attachments from those old emails that never got deleted.

Our server has fairly expensive SAS drives, and we only have about 100gb of space to work with, we're constantly tightening the belt with our own company data files but the constantly growing exchange database is slowly taking over the whole server, and upgrading the hard disks isn't feasable at the moment.

Is there some way to archive emails in Exchange? What kind of option are there for culling the attachments out of old archived email messages, or archiving email onto some other removable storage or elsewhere on a NAS. If we can archive old mail to another storage device, how do we view it later when we need to go back into the records?

I'm not sure what the "Microsoft" way of solving this problem is, I would appreciate some feedback!
Question by:Frosty555
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LVL 74

Accepted Solution

Glen Knight earned 500 total points
ID: 35117908
There is no quick fix for this one.  If the emails cannot be deleted then they need to be stored somewhere.

You could try GFI:

Or Symantec:

Expert Comment

ID: 35122419
I am wondering why you don't do the archiving at the user (Outlook) end of things? You could archive all the old emails to PST files then store them on some kind of NAS or USB storage attached to the server?

How much total storage do you have on the server? Have you looked into all your options for moving Exchange data store to a different partition, deleting SBS log files, etc?
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 35122454
For a start network stored PST files are unsupported and cause major network issues.   The other problem is if you extract to PST it's no longer available centrally through Outlook Web Access or Outlook unless it's got the PST attached.
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Expert Comment

ID: 35122479
But I thought you wanted to archive these which I thought would imply you don't need online access to them? But maybe I am misunderstanding what you are asking.
LVL 31

Author Comment

ID: 35129001
We would not need online access to the emails after archiving them, but this company has already gone through the PST-archiving route and it didn't work well. PST files got corrupted, people don't save them in the right place, and even today we still have gigabytes of PST files floating around that we don't know if it is really useful mail or not.  Our whole reason for moving to Exchange in the first place was to centrally store and manage our mail.

Our server has 1x disk for the OS, and 2x disks in a RAID1 array for all the company data - 167gb is available for exchange and our data combined. Our data consumes about 60gb of that, and the Exchange database is quickly starting to push upwards of 50gb, so it won't be long until the server runs out of storage. Like I said we've tightened the belt as much as possible but ultimately trying to free up space on the disk isn't a long term solution to our growing exchange mailboxes.

I've looked into GFI MailArchiver and it looks pretty good, but I don't understand really what kind of archiving solutions it supports (not very clearly explained on the website). What storage formats can it archive to? It looks like it uses a SQL database for storage, but does this mean the archiver should reside on a different server than the Exchange server? What kind of storage options does it support?
LVL 31

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35475227
No followup to explain the product in more detail, but ultimately found gfi to be the appropriate solution.

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