Microsoft launched Exchange Server 2007 this past summer, and if you're like many IT administrators, you're contemplating an upgrade. Exchange 2007 boasts 64-bit architecture, which allows for both larger mailboxes and more mailboxes per server. In fact, it's possible to offer individual mailboxes as large as 2 or 3 GB.
This may lead some end users and even administrators to assume archiving is no longer needed. But it's still as important as ever because 2-3 GB mailboxes can cause unexpected headaches. For instance, mailbox quotas will still be exceeded; end users may still create PST files in an attempt to retain messages long-term; and backup times will continue to grow.
Instead, consider three ways archiving can make your job easier:
Use Enterprise Vault for managed folders. One handy feature of Exchange 2007 is the addition of managed email folders, where users can store their emails but you set the rules about how they are kept. However, unless archived, contents of these folders still count against users' mailbox limits, which may lead them to think they have more free space than they really do. Avoid this issue by setting the folders to automatically archive to Enterprise Vault behind the scenes—which won't affect users' ability to see and retrieve these files.
Speed backups with aggressive archiving. Oversize mailboxes can really slow things down when it comes time to back up users' data. You could wind up with a backup that takes 24 hours or more. Archiving data instead allows you to delete the original copies and back up users' Exchange data more quickly.
Ease migration during the upgrade. You can make your life easier during your future Exchange 2007 upgrade if you start archiving emails right now. With more emails in the archives and fewer in users' mailboxes, migration to Exchange 2007 will go much more quickly because there'll be that much less data to copy over.
How much more quickly? Sending emails to archives after 15 days can cut the users' mailbox storage by as much as 65-75 percent, and slash migration time for each mailbox from 13-14 minutes to two minutes or less. If you've got hundreds—or thousands—of users with mailboxes, those minutes can really add up.
Exchange Server 2007 is a strong new tool that gives end users more options. Enterprise Vault adds powerful enhancements that let them use those options—without overburdening your organization's system.