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Apr 192012
 
A few people in recent weeks have asked me a question, and that has inspired me to put the answer down in writing in this blog post.  The question I have been asked is :

“Why should I implement mailbox archiving?”

It’s a good question, especially when products like Microsoft Exchange 2010 appear to offer many things for “free” with the product.

Here are five reasons why you should bother with mailbox archiving:

* Mailbox size, quotas

Archiving an Exchange or Domino mailbox can help with the overall size of the mailbox.  It is obvious that if you are replacing mails with attachments of 2 Mb+, with a shortcut, or stub which is only 20 Kb in size, you are then saving quite a lot of space.

Add to that if you are doing this trimming-down on old messages, which aren’t accessed particularly often, or on calendar items for appointments which happened weeks or months ago… the savings can add up quickly.

I’m a firm believer in mailbox quotas, even if they are quite high.  Whilst some people see quotas as forcing end-users to manage something that they might feel should be unlimited in this day in age. The two reasons I still like to see quotas is :

– Message looping.  I’ve not seen it in recent times, but I’ve seen in the past where a message loops around and around and around, causing massive growth in a mailbox.  Without a limit, that’s likely to just go straight through and consume all available disk space, causing system down time.

– Incorrect use of mail.  By this I mean people storing AVI’s or actual PSTs inside their mailbox.  Yes, I’ve seen people who store the PST as a file attachment to a mail message inside their mailbox. Strange, but true.  By having a quota in this case you’re force-educating people that large files aren’t want mail is all about

* Keep mailbox trimmed down (with shortcut expiry)

People are sometimes worried about deleting items in their mailbox.  They keep them for years, thinking that they’ll eventually tidy them up, but they never do.  If these items have been neatly archived, and shortcuts created, then eventually, why not just remove the shortcuts too?  In Enterprise Vault’s case you can still search your archive to find the archived item, which is old and no longer part of your mailbox.

It could be argued that having ‘fewer’ items in an end-users mailbox helps them be more efficient since there is less for them to ‘wade’ through.  Educating them (perhaps with a bit of a push) that they should search more, rather than browsing.

* Single Instance Storage

I know “disk space is cheap”, but I’m still a firm believer in single instance storage.  It just makes sense to me.  I know it’s gone from Exchange 2010, but it lives on strong in products like Enterprise Vault.  Since EV 8 where OSIS was introduce the single instancing got even better.

* Find-a-bility of data

Having emails archived after, say, 6 months means that users can be educated to search their archive for that ‘old’ data.  Small mailboxes with fewer items in to me means that end-users will be more efficient.

* Offline access to soooo much

With Vault Cache, and Virtual Vault end-users have offline access to soooooo much data.  Potentially they can have their whole archive with them all the time.  In addition, they can take time, when they’re travelling on the train, or plane, for example, to tidy things up, drag and drop additional items they want to see archived soon, even add data from long-forgotten about PSTs.  Next time they are hooked up to the network that data will synchronise up to Enterprise Vault, get archived, and indexed.
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