As you have probably noticed on other blogs, it’s official : Exchange 2010 SP1 has been officially released and can be downloaded from here.
Finally, Microsoft has released it ! I’m quite happy that the product is finally available. The reason ? Mainly for the archiving features !
The release of Exchange 2010 SP1 improves the “Personal Archive” concept that was already available in Exchange 2010. Without SP1, the mailbox and archive mailbox are located in the same database. This was not the best option because the database tended to grow in a non controlled manner. With SP1, you can move the archive mailbox to a separate mailbox server. This option makes more sense (to me). You can manage differently your Active Mailbox servers and your archive Mailbox servers. You can also have a better view on your archiving infrastructure.
If your company plan to use Enterprise Vault as archiving Solution, you will be happy to hear that Symantec should release in the coming weeks a version that will be fully working with Exchange 2010 SP1. The Enterprise Vault will be supporting only Exchange 2010 SP1 (not Exchange 2010) . A lot of customers are waiting for Enterprise Vault in order to deploy Exchange 2010 in their infrastructure. You should prepare yourself, it’s coming !
Exchange 2010 has also introduced some improvement in the import/export-mailbox cmdlet. New CmdLets MailboxImportRequest & MailboxExportRequest that can be used to import PSTs files into the personal archive. The thing with this new cmdlets is that you DO NOT need Outlook installed on the machine where you execute the command. If you run the command locally, you would need to have the Exchange management tool installed. Another approach would be to use the remote powershell capabilities to perform the operation. In this case, you do not need to install anything on the machine.
Note : Using this command, you can also move pst directly into your archive mailbox.
So far, personal Archives were only available from Outlook 2010 clients. Apparently, Microsoft is about to release a hotfix to allow Outlook 2007 clients to connect to the archive mailbox. Some other sources are mentioning that Outlook 2007 can be connected to Exchange 2010 SP1 and the Online archive will be visible. (I’ve not checked that yet but I will 🙂 )
Note : I had some trouble using my outlook 2010 to see the online archive. I’ve googled a bit and noticed that the error was due to a wrong license key. I’ve updated my Outlook license key but the problem was still there. I tried from another machine (joined to the domain) and I had access to online and Archive mailbox. I have to check if the credentials where passed correctly from the other machine.
Note also that the Archive Mailbox can be accessed only “Online” via outlook or Outlook WebApp. Some customers are wondering why the “Personal Archive” is not accessible offline. Why a user can’t access it offline ? Why can’t the personal archive could be saved offline using OST technology (or something comparable). To overcome this limitation, some workarounds might exists ! For example, you could implement large mailboxes making the archive mailbox not necessary. Exchange 2010 SP1 support mailboxes up to 10 GB but you have to take into account performance issues on the client side. A big mailbox will generate a big OST file that can degrade the performance or impact negatively the user experience. If you implement a strict mailbox management process (i.e. people deletes old mails time to time) inside your company, this option might be viable. If the data tends to grow indefinitely, you might need to implement an archive solution sooner or later. The archiving solution can be Exchange native feature or Enterprise Class solution.
Another unrealistic option (?) might be to create a primary and a secondary mailbox per user. The secondary mailbox would be the archive mailbox. Outlook 2010 offers you the possibility to connect multiple mailboxes inside your outlook client. In this scenario, because you have two standard mailboxes in your outlook, both mailboxes will create an OST file making them available offline. If you wonder, yes, you can drag and drop messages between primary and secondary mailbox. Limitation of this solution, you cannot automate the move from one mailbox to another one (using retentions policies). You have probably other limitations making this solution not an option.
Microsoft has definitely improved the archiving concepts and feature of Exchange 2010 but I’m still hoping that a service pack (Outlook or Exchange) will come up and will allow to make the personal archive available offline as well and that you do not need to come up with unrealistic or unmanageable situation (see above).
That’s it for tonight ! I wanted to share this small post with you. I know that there is a lot of new stuff in Exchange 2010 SP1. As soon as i have more time, I’ll post some how to guides
Till next time