Working with Store System Policies in Exchange 2003
Exchange Server 2000/2003 allows the Exchange Administrator to set limits on the mailboxes of users in the Exchange Organization (read Setting Mailbox Limits for more info). Setting limits on the mailboxes help control the database size and plan for efficient backup, restore and maintenance tasks (read Calculating Storage Space in Exchange for more info).
Mailbox limits can be set in 3 places via the UI, plus by using scripts to directly edit the Active Directory. However, if you have many servers with many stores on each one of them, you might find the task of manually editing each store’s properties to be a bit time consuming. This is where Exchange System Policies come in handy.
For example, look at the following image. It describes a simple 2-server setup, and one of the servers is shown to have quite a few Mailbox Stores:
System Policies in Exchange Server 2003 are configuration objects that allow the administrator to force a store settings to Mailbox and Public Folder Stores.
If you have many servers with many stores on them and you’d like to force the same setting on all stores, you can easily create Mailbox Store Policies, and have them applied to any number of stores.
In order to be able to create and work with System Policies you will first need to manually create the System Policies container in ESM:
- Open ESM, expand your organization tree, expand Administrative Groups, and then expand the desired Administrative Group.
- Right-click the Administrative Group and select New > System Policy Container.
Note that you do not need to do this if you already have System Policies in place for that Administrative Group.
Note that a new container named System Polices has been created.
The number of settings that can be configured on the Mailbox and Public Folder Stores varies between the store’s type. Mailbox Stores have 4 property tabs, while Public Folders, that can be configured to replicate between servers, have the same 4 properties tabs, plus a 5th tab to control some replication settings.
In order to create a Mailbox or Public Folder Store Policy follow these steps:
- Right-click on the System Policies container and select New > Mailbox Store Policy (or Public Folder Store Policy depending on what you want to do).
- Select the number of tabs you wish to be able to configure. These tabs will be available when you edit the System Policy, but can be added or removed at a later phase.
Mailbox Store Policy’s tabs:
Public Folder Store Policy’s tabs:
Click to select the required checkboxes. I’ve used the Limits tab in this example.
- In the new System Policy window enter the policy’s name and then click on the desired settings tab (I’ve used the Limits tab).
- On the Limits tab (or any other tab you’ve chosen) enter the desired values.
Note that in in this specific example, in order to set mailbox limits over 2GB you will need to manually edit the information in AD. The UI will not let you specify these sizes. Read Setting Mailbox Limits over 2GB for more info.
Also note that for this specific example, the mailbox limits settings on the User Account in ADUC overwrite the same limits on the Mailbox Store and/or the Mailbox Store System Policy. Read Overwriting Mailbox Store Policy Limits for more info.
- When done, click Ok.
Note that the new policy can be seen under the System Policies container.
Now with the policy in place, we need to configure it to apply the settings on selected stores (in our example – mailbox stores).
- Right-click the new policy, select Add Mailbox Store.
- An AD search window will open. You can manually enter the store’s name, or select Advanced, Find, and click to select any store you need to configure.
When you’re done, click Ok.
- A window will appear asking if you want to apply the policy on these stores. Click Yes.
- Note that now the selected stores are present on the right pane.
Now, lets go back to the store’s properties. We can see that the specific tab (the Limits tab in this example) is grayed out:
We can learn about what policy configured these settings on the store by looking at the Policies tab:
You can remove selected stores from this list whenever you want them not to be under the policy’s influence anymore. Read Removing Store Policies for more information.
You can repeat this exercise with many policies and many settings tabs (again, 4 in total for the Mailbox stores and 5 in total for the Public Folder stores). However note that you cannot have 2 or more policies, using the same tabs, effecting the same stores. Read Conflicting Store Policies for more info.