How to: Exchange 2010 archiving mailbox

Exchange 2010 introduces a new archiving capability. With the archive, users have a second mailbox, the archive mailbox that exists in the same Mailbox database and is available from both the Outlook client and Outlook Web Access. The Archive mailbox is associated with the user’s primary normal mailbox and the management of the archive and primary is identical. The primary mailbox is available online and offline and its content is stored in the Outlook OST cache file. The archive mailbox isn’t cached on the user’s local machine and is therefore only available online.

As you increase the size of mailboxes, you don’t necessarily want all the data stored locally on user machines, because it can lead to very long initial download times when users get a new machine. The data users frequently access is stored in the primary mailbox, which is ideally less than 10GB and is cached locally. Everything else is stored in the archive mailbox and available online, so it can be much larger and contain historical data. Because the archive mailbox is part of the same mailbox database, its availability is the same as the primary mailbox (it will be replicated as part of a DAG, database availability group).

Users will see their mailbox and their archive mailbox. They can drag and drop a PST file into the archive and the PST will be imported into the archive automatically. The viewing and navigation of the primary and archive mailbox is the same. If a user searches all mail items, the archive content is included. Users or administrators can set retention policies so that mail is automatically moved to the archive after a number of days, and different policies can be set on different folders.

Here are some keynotes for the archiving feature in Exchange 2010:

– Archive mailbox gets rid of PST files by giving the user an additional mailbox
– PST files are local to the user’s machine, gets corrupted easily and is hard to include the files in backup.
– Archive mailbox sits in the same mailbox database as the user’s main mailbox and can be included in the backup easily
– Archive Mailbox is available in Outlook as well as Outlook Web App (OWA), which is a huge improvement.
– Users can access their email archive irrespective of where they are
– Archive Mailbox is included as part of the Exchange Enterprise CALs and hence no extra cost is required (for those who have ECALs)
– Retention policies can be set for emails/folders in the archive mailbox
– User has the option to search for emails in archive only or both primary & archive mailbox
– Archive Quota can be set separate to the primary mailbox
– Emails in existing PSTs can be dragged into the archive mailbox very easily
– The archive and primary mailbox share the same user account
– Only one archive mailbox can be configured for a user
– Archive mailbox gets created on the same mailbox database as the primary one, which is a drawback.
– Future service packs might bring the option to create the archive mailbox in a different database
– The default quota warning for the archive mailbox is 10GB, which can be changed

How to configure a archive mailbox for a specific user:

1.) Open the Exchange Management Console
2.) Navigate to Recipient Configuration and select the specific user
3.) On the action pane, select “Enable Archive”
Online archiving requires an Exchange Enterprise Client Access License (CAL)!
4.) The icon of the specific user has changed to an archive  icon.
5.) Login to the Outlook Web App with the specific user and you’ll see the archive mailbox
6.) Drag and drop some e-mail into the online archive
7.) You can change the name of the online archive by navigating to the specific user, Properties, Mailbox Features, Archive
8.) Login again to the Outlook Web App and you’ll see the new name of the archive mailbox

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