Design Considerations for Exchange Mailbox Archiving
I am getting ready to deploy Exchange Mailbox archiving and would appreciate it if you all could let me know if you see any problems in, or have any suggestions about, the following design for user interaction with EV;
I work for a small governement organization with < 150 mailboxes, About 6 months ago I finished a pretty massive project that involved restoring 10 years of GroupWise backups, exporting the content to PSTs, and then importing those into an EV shared archive for legal disovery purposes. At the same time we switched over to Exchange and began journal archiving with EV, which has been working very well ever since. I originally designed the EV system to accomodate mailbox archiving and it is now to move forward. Since we are so small, we are using a standalone EV server with a separate, deidicated SQL server. Both servers are physical. I have followed the Best Practices when designing the system and I'm pretty sure that the resources are underlying design are adequate for our needs from a performace and capacity perspective. The environment, including backups, is currently 100% stable. The only real unknown is seeing how performance holds up as users begin to hit their archives, especially if we also have DA case in progress.
Our desktops are 100% VDI, with a few laptops that are used to connect to virtual desktops through a VPN. Users also use OWA to connect to their email remotely through a reverse proxy. All user's use Outlook 2010 in on-line mode only, so we will not be using virtual vault at all. We have some people who have been here for a long time and who have very large mailboxes. This has been exacerbated by the fact that the State of Arizona has essentially no electronic records retention policy and many people have been told by our AG to keep everything forever. (The AG's office actually suggested that people "print every piece of email and file it" for retention purposes.) Legal retention is no longer an issue with journal archiving, so the primary purpose of mailbox archiving in our envirnoment is to get control over the size of mailboxes and to start expiring messages.
I want to keep everything for our user's as simple as possible. I am currently planing on deploying EV to them as follows:
- Run the add-in in light mode with no Virtual Vault.
- Manual Store, Restore, and Delete enabled.
- Archive Explorer and Search Vaults enabled and running inside Outlook 2010.
- Use a single retention policy for all mailboxes (currently 5 years, although I will try to reduce this).
- Enable shortcut deletion after 18 months (remember this is an evironment where people have never had to delete anything).
- Archive based on age only greater than 1 year to start. Switching to age + quota if we can get the MB size under control to the point where we can implement quotas.
- Provide our users with some control over retention by creating folders with EVPM, assigning different retention policies to them, and configuring EV to modify the retention policy when a shortcut is moved. I am planning to run the EVPM job on a schedule and run it against the group used to provision mailboxes.
I realize that the initial archive runs may take quite a while before the system has caught up so I plan to archive nightly to start and perhaps switch to weekly schedule down the road since we have <10000 items going through the journal mailbox every week. I am going to be leaving this position in a few months and want to create a system that is as simple to use, manage, and maintain as I can make it.
I would apreciate any comments.