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Exchange 2010 imap vs pop

I have a virtual SBS2008 running Exchange 2010. I have around 50 users that do not like to clean their mailboxes. most of them have around 4 GB of emails. I do have a lot of issues with the .ost files getting corrupted. I notice my server slowing down on speed when i log into it. I guess my question is if I switch them all to pop mail will the server be working less since it does not have to sync with .ost all my incoming and outgoing emails are been copy to a barracuda mail archive. we receive arround a 2gb of emails per day between 5-6 thousand emails per day.

will the performance of the server increase if I switch from imap to pop?
if not is there a way create a rule to auto delete old emails? I know I can lower the mail box size quota but I don't think that will not encourage them to clean their mailbox.

also, I have the server running as a VM, the data storage is not keeping up with the IOPS.
Enrique Cebalos
Enrique Cebalos
2 Solutions
SeanSystem EngineerCommented:
Yes and no. If you switch to pop and the users do not move around a whole lot then yes it will work less. If you have users that move desks often then the whole mailbox will be downloaded into a PST file every time they switch desk. You also have to be careful with POP. If the mailbox is set to download the files and remove them from the server then you run the risk of losing a lot of emails.

IMAP is very similar to how exchange works and i would not expect to see much of a difference in performance with that.

I would suggest getting to the root cause or putting a mailbox limit on everyone rather than switching how you connect to your mail server. If your drives are over loaded i would look into getting an addition SAN and standing up a new database and moving your heavy users to that.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What underlying datastore do you have to support the VM ?
IvanSystem EngineerCommented:

if you want to get rid of old emails from users mailbox, then maybe you should use Retention Policy. It will allow you to configure, in your case, what to do with email's that are X days old. So, for instance, you could apply policy that will delete items older then 1 year, or something like that.

How to create:  First Retention Tag, then Retention Policy and then apply policy to mailbox. There are some default polies so take a look.


I am not shure what will performance benefit be from switching to POP. Maybe some1 has that info :)

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Enrique CebalosIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
it is of my understanding that imap is constantly synchronizing with the ost file. will that cause a lot of traffic also by switching to pop, the server will just send the email to the mailbox. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I have the exchange and a production server running on a VNXe 3100 /EMC. ISCI connection
Enrique CebalosIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
All users have an assign PC. it is very rare that they have to move. most of the users have a company phone connected to exchange for emails. active sync.
Gareth GudgerCommented:
Just want to clarify that SBS2008 would have shipped with Exchange 2007 not Exchange 2010.

What are your thoughts of just going to Office 365 instead? You could get an Exchange Online Plan 1 for $4 per user/mo.

Would run about $200 a month for your organization. $2400 a year. Would take a few years to break even if you were to replace the server with new hardware, licensing and labor. Plus you save on backup solutions, antispam, etc.

I am curious. Why are you using IMAP versus RPC? You mentioned OST, which makes me think you actually are using RPC. Are your Outlook clients configured to use Cached mode? That can improve performance.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Do you have jumbo frames enables for your iSCSI Connection for your storage and multipath configured correctly.

see my EE Articles

HOW TO: Enable Jumbo Frames on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 5.0) host server using the VMware vSphere Client

HOW TO: Add an iSCSI Software Adaptor and Create an iSCSI Multipath Network in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0

There are huge benefits in having ALL your users email on a server.

Individual Outlook configurations, and PST files get corrupted, and they are not supported on file shares or network drives.
Enrique CebalosIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Gareth, you are right is 2007 and PRC. I have been looking into hosted exchange but we do not use the exchange to all its potential that I have been thinking into a more cost effective solution. perhaps rackspace email. I do am paying for the archive and email filtering. that might as well cover for hosted solution that will cover all in one.
Reconfiguring the USERs to POP would not guarantee that they will cleanup their mailboxes.
To minimize impact on user and by extension on yourself since you would need to inform the user of the change and implications as mentioned by prior expert comments. If they store the data in PST you will need to make sure that their workstations, the location to which the pst files are stored are on a backup to avoid data loss.  in the current setup, the server as the repository is the only one that needs to be backed up to avoid/minimize data loss.

A retention/archival policy is the way to go. Note that some users once told that inbox content will face a retention policy rule, will move stuff to other sub mailboxes.

I suspect, the issue with VM slowness is less with the contention on access to ost files, but the size of the datastore and the amount of "RAM" allocated to the VM.
If you can raise the amount of RAM allocated from the host to the VM, the VM's performance might increase. (retention policy should be considered/implemented though this adjustment will give you some additional time to more thoughtfully consider the policy and implement it.

To test it, you can use one account on which to apply it and see how that works.
If you go with deleting, your window from implementing till when the messages are deleted should be wider as compared to one where you archive the messages.

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