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Quota based Archiving blended with Age based using EVPM, Is It Possible ?

Created: 23 Mar 2006 • Updated: 21 May 2010 | 14 comments

EDIT: Thread Title changed to more accurately reflect thread content.

Dear All,

As an interesting challenge we have been looking at potential best practices for advanced Archiving policies. Potentially combining Quota based policy ( i.e. archive until mailbox's have 40% free ) with periodic date based archive run to ensure an even spread of items in all the mailbox's.

Symantec PS and a number of advanced EV customers have apparently been looking at this and I thought i would ask if anyone has any views on the best way to achieve this ? There is no mention of this in the documentation and I have searched on this and other forums but so for it looks like uncharted territory.....

To implement a solution like this most likely requires EVPM and the documentation here is perhaps not as comprehensive as one would like. ( for example do optional settings like "ALargeItemThresholdPeriod" take priority or get affected by inactivity period settings ? )

More importantly when using quota based archiving are the settings mailbox based/folder based or site based ?

Is anyone aware of any sites running this way and I would be especially interested in any of your ideas about the potential to effectively utilize a combination of date based and Quota based policies, what are your suggestions for how regularly and at what level should the policy be swapped ?

FYI. Environment is EV6 SP1

Best regards


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x- ManMessage was edited by:
x- Man

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Jason Szeto's picture

I don't remember who the customers were but I do remember hearing of a few customers that would do quota based archiving during the week and change to age based archiving for the weekend or vice versa

I don't see a reason why you would need to do EVPM, I would just change the archiving rules in the Default Exchange Mailbox Policy, then do a mailbox sync. You could change the policy Friday afternoon and when you come in on Mondays just change it back.

x- Man's picture


Thanks its an interesting suggestion but probably a little too manual, Anything that relies on manually setting or unsetting options in the VAC can't compete with an automatic solution, I had thought about this option and believe it would be possible to change the policy using an automated scheduled service to update registry keys, this seems to be where the policy is stored, Can anyone confirm this or are there elements of the policy stored within the SQL directories.

However in an ideal world could one implement policy in a more granular way, with perhaps different "mailbox % free targets" for different job roles and even age based policies on some resource mailbox's. This is why I believe the flexibility of EVPM could be needed.

What is your understanding of EVPM's capabilities ? Could you have mailbox's using age based policy and Quota based policy in the same site and if so would this also apply at the folder level of individuals mailbox if two different filters were selected and defined.

My concern is that in Quota based mode the archiving run only makes one pass of the mailbox's whereas in Age based multiple runs can be made and this seems to be defined at a site level.

Thanks for your help.

Jason Szeto's picture

I'm not sure where in SQL that policies would be stored.

But you should able to use EVPM to specify different policies for different mailboxes. Unfortunately, EVPM doesn't target groups, only individual mailboxes so to completely automate something like that you would create multiple EVPM scripts, specify your target mailboxes and run them accordingly.

Yes, you're correct that quota based archiving only does one pass so usually the recommend is to increase the number of msgs process per pass. I believe the default number is 200, usually PS would recommend upping that to a minimum of 1000.

x- Man's picture


I think its probably all stored in the registry, rather than SQL unless any wise Guru knows different.

EDIT MM on the UDS forums beleives the policy is stored in sql with SQL scripts required to automate the change.

From EV6 SP1 onwards the "av message per pass" setting is on the archiving tasks tab and is now set as default to 1000, Scripting for EVPM is not too difficult you can run an ldap query against the display name and you can run against multiple mailbox's in one EVPM operation.

I agree that you should be able to run different mailbox's on different policies with EVPM but how does that work if some are age based and some are Quota based ? as soon as one mailbox is quota based does the system stop doing miltiple passes of the archiving run or is that purely based on the site policy?

If thats the case then if the site policy is quota based can you still use age based filters in EVPM ? or if Quota based can different folders have different quota percentages ? say archive out sent items before calandar for example ?

What do you think, have you played with this type of installation ?


X-ManMessage was edited by:

Jason Szeto's picture

I keep forgetting the upped the per pass default to 1000.

You make a good point though is when archiving is making it's pass, and you have mixed Quota and Age based how the archiving task will behave. I don't know that answer. That is something that needs to be tested, or asked of Support.

Dodo, Ghost, you care to chime in on this, you two would be the only 2 people who would know something like this.

TonySterling's picture

I believe the archvie task reads rather it is quota or agebase from the hidden message in the mailbox. So for the quota it will only make one pass and the the age it will keep going.

Jason Szeto's picture

Ok but when you have mailboxes that are half quota based and half aged base, will the archive task make one pass through all the mailboxes or will keep archiving as long as there is time in the schedule.

Ok, let me clarify quota based archiving is supposed to do just 1 pass through all the mailboxes and stop regardless of how much time is left in the schedule window.

And of course with Aged Based archiving it will make it pass though all the mailboxes, then if there is time in the schedule go back to the first mailbox and make another pass through the mailboxes.

So if you have mixed mailboxes, what is the archiving task going to do?

x- Man's picture


That's exactly right, I was worried that it was undefined as it does leaves us in a bit of a dilemma.

Another question along the same lines is although I see no reason why different mailbox's couldn't be set with EVPM to run different "Mailbox % free " quotas does this also apply to different folders within a single mailbox ?

i.e. If you had different "% free quota" settings for calendar and sent items, say 25% and 50% would this keep archiving the sent items and then only when there was nothing left to archive in sent items would it start on the calendar ? ( obviously providing the mailbox was still over the 50 or 25% limit )

Hope everyone has a good weekend


Jason Szeto's picture

I don't believe you can do different Quota for different folders. It should be based just on total mailbox size. Also by default, things like calendar items and contacts are not enabled for archiving.

Michael Bilsborough's picture

Ev will process a mailbox in either 'age' based or Quota based but not both.

So for example if quota based what it's doing is working out how much data needs to be archived to get user under quota and then builds up a list of items that are archivable and then archives each of these until it's archived what it thinks is enough to bring the user under the quota level.

x- Man's picture


Many thanks for the clarification, This does raise the following questions though...

1) So as its confirmed EV is either Quota or AGE based within each mailbox, does this mean across the site it can do both ? ie some age based archives and some quota based ?

2) How granular can the Quota based policy be applied, ie When its quota based can different folders have different quotas or priorities or is the last filter applied to any folder in an mailbox-archive used for everything in that mailbox?

3) How can the recomendations to use a mix of Quota and Age based archiving runs best be applied ? According to MM on UDS tech, this used to be applied with SQL scripts but may no longer work on EV6...

Dodo, Is this still possible, Can EVPM be used or is the preferred way to use site policy and then change this between Quota based to Age based for a cleanup run every now and again ?


David Messenger 2's picture

Hi X-Man,

I don't like %age free quotering. I prefer to add a manual hard quota limit in Mb or preferably don't quota as the user's hate it. If you can get your disk cheap enough try to avoid it if you can and avoid the pitch-fork and fiery brand lynch mob...

What are you trying to achieve? Smaller .edb's? Remove PSTs? Compliance?


x- Man's picture


Are you talking about applying a hard Quota limit to the vault ?? We dont quota the vault and prohibit send ( hard quota ) limits on the exchange mailbox's are already in place.

I understand your concearn and agree %free may be non ideal, however this is not an Ideal world, Our users currently have a very low MB limit on their mailbox and therefore to them almost anything is preferable to regularly exceeding their Prohibit Send limits.

In an Ideal world a larger/Infinite mailbox may well be the users choice ( pre 2003 psts are no solution ) however from our exchange administrators point of view and the associated upgrade costs this option is also non ideal. ( we also have users with much larger mailbox's who also hit their limits. )

Allowing the archive solution to reduce most users mailbox's automatically below their limits in conjunction with Archive Explorer, reasonable policy settings and useful shortcuts seems to work quite well.

We are now looking to optimize the archiving runs to include a blend of age based archiving as well to remove the Older Larger mails from all accounts. This centralizes the majority of historic mail information into the Enterprise Vault.

Best Regards


David Messenger 2's picture

BOL. Remeber %age based archiving can actually increase the size of your .ebs!! (Dumpster).

Bet our mbx limits are smaller than yours --> Warning at 15Mb for 20,000 customers would you believe?!?