Does that title sum up your day? Do you spend too much time fielding users’ calls about why Exchange is so slow? Do you send out daily emails pleading with users to reduce the size of their mailbox? Do you run daily restores to bring back messages from the dead? Do you have problems completing backups in the time allotted? Can you repair a PST file in your sleep? Have you ever tried to figure out which files under c:\windows you could do without, or what log files are safe to delete? If you answered yes to even one of those questions, you’re probably dealing with an Exchange Server that hovers right at the edge of being out of space. Exchange performance will fall off a cliff when you start to run out of disk space, but users are not only unwilling to delete old email - they’ll insist that it is all business critical.

If you are facing the dual challenges of poor Exchange performance and low disk space, you should implement email archiving. Exchange archiving can make a huge difference in the performance of your server while still enabling your users to horde email.

When you implement archiving, you establish a system that basically just holds email. It’s like the overflow for your users’ mailboxes. Because it is not trying to route mail, scan for spam, do GAL lookups, etc., it doesn’t need to be a powerful server. All it really needs is disk space, and you can really use the most economical disks available. A JBOD (just a bunch of disks) array works great. As email reaches a certain age, email archiving moves the email from the users’ mailboxes to their personal archive mailboxes. This archive mailbox is available to them in Outlook or through a web interface. They don’t lose any mail and they don’t have any problems accessing it. By moving all the old mail from Exchange to the archive, you free up valuable disk space, which means more free space for holding logs, defragging, or supporting additional users.

The best email archiving programs include other capabilities too, including reporting, PST import, email retention policies, and more. That PST import may be one of the best things about it, as you have probably already experienced data loss when a PST grows too large and simply cannot be repaired.

If you are considering an email archiving solution, don’t just focus on the Exchange performance though. Look for products that offer full search, audit and reporting to assist both with systems management and compliance. Make sure it works well with all your email clients, and that it does not use stubbing! Too many archiving solutions base their technology on stubbing and essentially lock you in.

With email archiving, you take pressure of your email infrastructure, boost Exchange performance and give your users virtually unlimited email storage – it’s a win for everyone.

-This guest post was provided by Casper Manes on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on how to improve your Exchange performance.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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