managing / archiving large exchange databases

Hello,

I have a client with an SBS 2008 server 32-bit which needs replacing - it is limited to 4 GB RAM and they have grown quite substantially in the last year. Their mailbox database is 230 GB and public folders are 37 GB. This is an increase of 25% in the last 4 months. There are around 20 mailboxes.

The short term problem is that it will take ages to export the mailboxes and import them into a new mailserver so a big bang approach which I usually use will not work (do the whole lot over one very busy, stressful weekend).

My idea is to replace it with two Server 2012 R2 servers, one as DC and the other as Exchange 2013 server STD edition. The Exchange would have 6 cores and 32 GB RAM and they would both be VMs on VMware. Would this be enough? Also should I split the users over several mailbox databases to reduce load? - how many?

I've heard that I could configure the existing Exchange to forward unresolved recipients to the new Exchange machine, thereby allowing me the luxury of migrating users to the new domain / mailserver one at a time, is this a valid idea?

The second problem is that I would like to reduce the overall size of the mailbox databases by having some for of archiving - certainly not  to PST files !! Does anyone have a recommendation on a product to do this?

Thank you

Alasdair
AlasdairbAsked:
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IvanConnect With a Mentor System EngineerCommented:
Hi,

idea of migrating it to 2 VM, with separated roles is good one.

You don't need to have 32Gb of RAM on Exchange, since that is usually enough for more then 100 users, but as always, Exchange will use it all. Standard edition can have 5 mailbox databases, so you can split users in there. That can be useful when doing potential restore, or for database corruption, issues and so on.

For detail information on amount of RAM, CPU and so, you should use sizing calculator:
https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/office/Exchange-2013-Server-Role-f8a61780

Since you have Exchange 2007 in that SBS, you can do direct migration to Exchange 2013. There are many guides on how to do it, beside MS guide that is.
Take a look at following, they can help a lot:
http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2013/migration-deployment/planning-and-migrating-small-organization-exchange-2007-2013-part8.html

How to migrate SBS 2008 to Windows 2012R2, look at here:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj200141(v=ws.11).aspx
https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/infratalks/2012/09/06/transition-from-small-business-server-to-standard-windows-server/

For archiving you can buy Exchange Enterprise user license, for those users that have large mailbox.
That way you can use Exchange archiving feature, that would eliminate pst files, and hold archive data in archive mailbox.
As for 3rd party product, we are using GFI Archiver. Work good.

What ever you do, read before doing this type of migration, since you don't want to end up with non-functional Exchange. Maybe it sounds to be easy thing to do, but I have seen migrations go bad. So, read, read, make sure you understand what needs to be done :)

Regards,
Ivan.
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AlasdairbAuthor Commented:
Ivan,

thank you for the detailed response. I will read these articles before going further. At the moment I just have the two Windows servers installed.

I did some reading about the Exchange Enterprise but discounted it because I read that the Outlook client license for the archiving feature is not included in Outlook when it is part of an office suite, like Home and Business which is what we use. I have heard about GFI and will investigate this.

Thanks again.

Alasdair
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IvanSystem EngineerCommented:
Hi,

I was not thinking about Enterprise version of Exchange, but about Enterprise CAL (Client Access License).
Each user that is accessing Exchange server should have Exchange CAL. Those CAL can be Standard or Enterprise. Usually people have Standard, and are buying Enterprise CAL just for people that need to use some Enterprise features.

Bear in mind, that it does not mater if you have Exchange Standard or Enterprise to use Standard or Enterprise CAL. You can mix it. So in your case, lets say you have 5 users, that have 20Gb mailbox, you can buy 5 Enterprise CAL for them, and activate Archive mailbox.

You can read a bit about it on: https://products.office.com/en/exchange/microsoft-exchange-server-licensing-licensing-overview

Regards,
Ivan.
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AlasdairbAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help Ivan.

All the answers are in these links.

Alasdair
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