How a Lack of Workstation Backups Caused a Bloated Exchange Server

Years ago I was the IT director of a medium-sized company. Our MS Exchange server information storage was growing as fast as gasoline prices have recently. We decided to limit each mailbox to 100Mb. At the time, that was a good bit of storage. (Now I get 100Mb of spam in a month.) Even though the mailbox limit seemed fairly generous, we quickly found ourselves fighting a constant battle with users who insisted that we increase their limits. My biggest problem with the increasing the limits, was that it was becoming increasingly difficult to backup the Information Store.

The logical solution was to get people to clean up their mailboxes. Move old mail and archived mail to personal folders, which don't use server storage space. This move revealed the root of the problem. Smart users did not want to store important emails and documents on their personal computers because they knew that the Exchange database on the server was backed up every night, while their workstations were never backed up. Keeping their mail on the server was their way of protecting themselves from a hard drive crash.

As is often the case, email folders contain valuable information. In fact, in a lot of cases the email folders are the most valuable information on the computer. So if you find that your mail server is getting bloated, you might discover that the users are out-smarting IT by saving their valuable documents in the mail system. Perhaps an effective backup solution that also backs-up mail folders will give users enough confidence to store their email archives on their own computers, rather than fattening up the mail server.

Please see my previous posting about backing up email folders: Data Backup and Recovery: Backing up your email folders or MS Outlook .PST file or this one about backing large files using online backup systems: Data Backup and Recovery: Online Backup Technology Can Handle Large Amounts of Data.

1 comment:

Freddie Sirmans said...

Just browsing the internet, you have a very, very interesting blog.