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What sort of email policies do you enforce for storage? How do you enforce them?

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  • What sort of email policies do you enforce for storage? How do you enforce them?

    I admin a relative small group on our exchange server. We have 50 users on our exchange 2003 server. Currently when backing up the exchange backup is 52 gigs. We have a 30 day retention on deleted items.

    When I noticed the information store began to grow, I started to take a look at what was causing the rapid growth. There was never a clear archiving policy in place a lot of people had been hording emails from the late 90s. We went through and archived off all items older than 1 year. These items are exported into a couple .psts per user. Now I know that exchange through its normal maintenance is suppose to reclaim the deleted items after the retention time as white space. We have not seen much reclaiming of this space over the past year. When I look in system manager and add up the mailbox total storage it comes up to 33 gigs.

    So here are my questions:

    Do I let the store stay bloated in size? My concern being it adds to backup and recovery time. If it is fine to leave it plump then I will for now. Would there be any harm to running a defrag on this?

    My other question revolves around storage limits. How do you guys handle enforcing storage limits. What have you found as a method that works and doesn't send the users screaming that your policy is too restrictive?

    Thanks a lot guys

  • #2
    Re: What sort of email policies do you enforce for storage? How do you enforce them?

    I should clarify the trend of growth right now appears to be 1 gig per month additional to the total size. So eventually I'm going to be hitting that 75 gig size (even though mailbox usage is much much lower).

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What sort of email policies do you enforce for storage? How do you enforce them?

      Adding up the mailbox sizes and then comparing it to the physical size of the database files will never work for so many reasons connected with the way that the files are stored on the file system and the way that Exchange handles its databases.

      You should look for event ID 1221 to see how much white space is in the store. If you have removed significant amounts of content then there could be a lot of free space.

      However, do bare in mind that Exchange stores its data in two databases. If you removed a lot of internal email and are replacing it with lots of external email, then the amount of white space being used will be low and the database will increase in physical size.

      As for mailbox management, I don't think there is one answer. The only thing I would say is don't use PST files. They are a pain to manage, corrupt easily and not supported being accessed over a networking making backups almost impossible. If you have a need to retain email then use a third party tool to store it. If a third party implementation is done correctly, then there is no need for limits on the mailboxes as the amount of email the users store is limited.

      Simon.
      --
      Simon Butler
      Exchange MVP

      Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
      More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
      Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
      In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

      Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What sort of email policies do you enforce for storage? How do you enforce them?

        Thanks for the reply Simon.

        On event 1221 I get "22 megabytes of free space after online defragmentation has terminated. " So I'm curious, does this mean that I have an additional 22 megs of free space each time event 1221 runs or 22 megs total.

        I'm just at a bit of a loss how to handle storage limits. I've seen some organizations restrict to about 250 megs per mailbox and if the user goes above that then bam they are cut off.

        I know every company will be different on their mail usage, I'm just researching what others are doing and options that are out there.

        Again thanks for taking the time to reply.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What sort of email policies do you enforce for storage? How do you enforce them?

          The message means there is 22mb of free space in the database, which will be used first, before the database is physically increased in size.

          There is no one answer to mailbox restrictions. Some companies have no restrictions, some have mixed restrictions, hard limits, soft limits.
          The problem with soft limits is that the users you are targeting - the pack rats, will ignore them and learn that they can continue to ignore them, and even try and set a rule to move the messages to another folder so that they can continue.

          Simon.
          --
          Simon Butler
          Exchange MVP

          Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
          More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
          Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
          In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

          Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

          Comment

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