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Descision to make! Expensive archive solution or big mailboxes? How to decide?

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  • Descision to make! Expensive archive solution or big mailboxes? How to decide?

    Hi,
    Please excuse any misspelling, i am dutch!
    I am responsable for maintaining Exchange 2007.

    Configuration:
    - One mailbox CCR cluster on blades in seperate locations on w2k3.
    - Multplie arays, fast disks, each has 4 GB memory.
    - Three storage groups with a mailbox database, each has 700 Mailboxes.
    - Each DB is about 70GB on it`s own disk with 180GB of free space.
    -One virtual server acting as Hub transport server pointing to Barracuda SMTP relay server on the perimiter network.
    - Multiple sites in europe and overseas.

    Problem:
    I have 1400 clients with about 1TB of local pst files which are used for archiving mail older then one year.
    I want to get rid if PST files in all.
    Now i must decide wether to install an expensive email archiving solution or to add sufficient disk space to house all data.
    Users must be able to have all email available when using webacces.
    either solution will acompish my goal.

    My 3 questions:
    1. What is the best thing to do when i want to spend as little as possible?
    2. What are the conciderations in making my discision?
    3. If i go for housing all mail within the mailbox, would it be wise to add exchange servers?

    My first thought is, adding disks and some memory to the Cluster enviroment will make it possible to import all pst files in to the users mailboxes.

    I would very much appriciate anyone`s thoughts on this.

  • #2
    Re: Decision to make! Expensive archive solution or big mailboxes? How to decide?

    Storage is cheap.

    Archiving solutions can also be quite cheap - look at something like GFI Mail Archiver for example. Sits on SQL so is quick to search and you can import the PST files straight in to it, rather than having to import in to Exchange and then extract from there.

    Don't forget that you will not be importing 1TB of data. PST files are very inefficient storage. You could lose a third or more of that bloat after the import. So 1TB of PST files could only increase the size of the store in total by 700gb. Given the cost of drives that isn't exactly a massive overhead.

    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.

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    • #3
      Re: Descision to make! Expensive archive solution or big mailboxes? How to decide?

      Thanks for your reply!
      So in other words, storing the pst`s in exchange would be an option.
      The only downside ofcourse is dat all mail sits on one mail server.
      But i have aa CCR so twice the storage.

      I will look into GFI.

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      • #4
        Re: Descision to make! Expensive archive solution or big mailboxes? How to decide?

        I don't see all of the data being in Exchange as a downside, particularly as you mention you have a cluster. Leaving PSTs around is asking for trouble, users will lose them, delete them etc and they won't be getting backed up from the client machines.

        As Sembee states storage is pretty cheap these days, so provided you have a good backup strategy you are pretty well protected for all your data. It's not like Exchange 2003 pre-SP1 when you had a 16gb hard limit.

        GFI Mail Archiver isn't bad for the money, there are better archiving solutions like Enterprise Vault but there is a huge gulf in pricing between the products.
        BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
        sigpic
        Cruachan's Blog

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        • #5
          Re: Descision to make! Expensive archive solution or big mailboxes? How to decide?

          Going forward have you not thought about the archiving feature on the barracuda?

          Global Relay offer an easy, reliable and pretty cheap solution, but at the end of the day it is just a case of;

          in house = (price of hardware + software) + support

          against

          out source = setup fee + monthly outlay.

          Both options are viable and both have pro's and con's.

          Sorry this post sits on the fence a bit mate, but the decision you come too really has to be something you are happy with. It shouldn't be swayed only by opinions, as it's you that has to implement/support it.

          All the best
          Dean

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