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Exchange 2010 Retention Mailbox at 250GB how to extract email from it

We've inherited a client who has a mailbox which collects all emails from all other users, however, this is achieved by a retention policy rather than a journal mailbox as such.

The issue is that the mailbox is now 250GB in size and ideally we'd like to reduce it to a more manageable size whilst capturing the email in the mailbox so that it can be accessed elsewhere.

We've attempted to capture in Outlook 2010 so we could export to a pst, however, this hits 50GB and then gets stuck. The server that this exchange 2010 resides on does not have a massive amount of space either, so may need to export this to an external hard drive for now.

However the question is how do we export say 250GB of this and in what format i.e. can we create a 250GB pst file? Ideally we don't want to lose the mail from this, but at 250GB it is killing the server exchange performance
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foxpc123
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foxpc123
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chuck-williamsCommented:
See if this helps (if you are using SP1 for exchange:

http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2010/management-administration/look-import-export-mailbox-improvements-exchange-2010-service-pack-1-part2.html

The pst can be that large I believe but I don't think it is recommended to be that size.
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Seth_zinCommented:
You start running into issues once you are hitting around 20GBs of data. You run a risk of data corruption and such. One thing you can do is Archive chunks at a time into a PST local and copy them somewhere. I would limit, if you can, to around 5GB max per user. If you need to go up a little don't go above 15GBs in my experience.
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
You need to export it into multiple PST files. Try to export max to 10GB size. Not a easy task, but you don't have much choices. Or increase disk space on current server. Or move it to another Exchange server. Where you have enough space.
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foxpc123Author Commented:
Can you explain export max to 10GB size please - as I've not come across this concept before. we're going to shadow protect copy this to a server with much more disk space. However, I was concerned that if we export the mail to say a 100GB pst, would anyone be able to open it?
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Seth_zinCommented:
This might asnwer your questions bout the size limits.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982577
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chuck-williamsCommented:
That is because the maximum size supported by Outlook is 50GB.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee633455(v=exchg.150).aspx

I think the best way is to use outlook and export groups of folders to different PST files. Seems like a lot of work but unless you have another exchange server or a database on a larger volume then that's the way I would do it.
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foxpc123Author Commented:
Just a further question;

The server with greater disk space will be set-up in our test bay, so the plan is to restore an image of this onto a test server, and then this will allow for an export of the mailbox so that we have a copy of it, but I'm assuming we're still going to have to export this in reasonable size chunks (20GB at a time?), and then if access to the email is needed you'd have to search the relevant archive files.

How do we export the emails (say in 20GB chunks), can this be completed through powershell?
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
PST are not a good way of storing emails. Remember, once you extracted data to PST, that data is now on your local machine. According to your machine disk RPM, you will be able to load the data. Fast RPM, faster performance. Also note, PST can get easily corrupt due to size limits.

In your case, best way is to increase the disk space on server. Considering the size of your current mailbox, it will take lot of time and efforts to extra everything into PST.
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foxpc123Author Commented:
Hi Amit,

Even if we increased the size of the disk space though for this server. At what point does it become too big for a mailbox to function properly? Throwing more disk space (the server is actually at capacity) just seems like we'll make the issue worse rather than reducing the size of the mailbox, as most of the email is close to over three years old now, with only the last year being of any relevance.

At 250GB now  the search ability is unbelievably slow and is affecting the performance of the rest of exchange. So whilst we can go third party, Symantec vault etc., it seems better to reduce the size of the email in this 'catch-all' and then store this for future reference if it is needed.

Other than store as pst - where else could it be stored?

Thanks everyone for your help on this, as I would like to understand the best practice for moving forward with large mailboxes which is becoming increasingly common.
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
There is a myth about mailbox size. FYI, mailbox size it not the issue, it could grow as large Exchange can support. The problem is item counts per folder. Below are MS recommendation.

Exchange 2007: 20,000 Items per Folder
Exchange 2010: 100,000 Items per Folder
Exchange 2013: 1 Million Items per Folder

Recommended Mailbox size:

Exchange 2007: 1 GB
Exchange 2010: 10 GB
Exchange 2013: 100 GB

So, you are running Exchange 2010 and MS recommend 10 GB mailbox size. Now this recommendation is for user mailbox. If you are using current 250 GB mailbox as user mailbox, then surely you are running beyond recommended limit and reducing mailbox size it best option here. However, it is just for storing email and not used. Then, I don't see it will cause much issue.

Again, it is up to business to decide. If you ask me, I don't see why you need such a large mailbox. I see this more as human error. Where admin is not following best practices. If you still need large mailbox, better move to Exchange 2013 with Physical server and DASD disk. Let me know, if that answers your query.
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foxpc123Author Commented:
Hi Amit, thanks for the replies.

The whole point of the question is that we know we don't need such a large mailbox, the question still remains, how do we export this into bite size chunks, ideally about 20GB each so that I can get the overall size of this mailbox down. I haven't really got an answer for this at the moment.
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
20gb is supported, so you can extract it into multiple 20gb pst file , however after exporting check each pst and the start the cleanup, also backup the current database before clean up, in case pst have any issue you can restore it again.

If I have to decided, I will just take backup and the perform the cleanup..
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foxpc123Author Commented:
Thanks guys, just for an update have restored an image of the server on to a test server, and am currently running through the process of exporting this into pst files, so that the mailbox itself can be reduced. Thanks for all the tips and responses to this.
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