Windows IT Pro Storage UPDATE--Large Mailboxes Are Here to Stay--August 21, 2006

Storage UPDATE: Large Mailboxes Are Here to Stay


-Storage Viewpoint: Large Mailboxes Are Here to Stay

-News from the Industry: CDP for SharePoint Environments

-New and Improved
- Eliminate Data-Storage Complexity
- Add a Fibre Channel Interface to Your Tape Library



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==== 1. Storage Viewpoint: Large Mailboxes Are Here to Stay====
by Tony Redmond, [email protected]

Microsoft touts Exchange Server 2007's ability to support large mailboxes because of the larger memory model made possible by the Windows x64 platform. Having large mailboxes will certainly please the human pack rats that populate many Exchange servers, but the growth in mailbox size does pose some management challenges. Exchange 2007 will make managing large mailboxes easier, but what can you do until then?

The Super Size Phenomenon

Mailbox sizes have steadily increased from the 25MB quota that was commonly allocated for Exchange Server 4.0 deployments to today's generous quotas of 250MB to 500MB. Users argue that the time they spend keeping their mailboxes within a strict company-imposed size limit, coupled with the low cost of storage, makes it more cost-effective for companies to simply allow larger mailboxes. The result is that many large mailboxes are in use today, some of which approach 20GB.

Of course, users like large mailboxes and have a tendency to use all the space you give them. But regrettably, some features of email clients, such as the Reply All option and the way Outlook lets you include previous messages in a mail thread, cause users to fill their mailboxes even faster than necessary. Using Microsoft Word instead of a simpler editor also contributes to large mailboxes, as does using graphics in autosignatures on every message.

Don't get me wrong. I like Outlook and consider it a good email client, but it could use some tweaking to encourage better email habits in users. Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 let users reduce the size of graphics attachments through compression, but extra intelligence, such as automatically stripping autosignatures in message threads, would help, too.

Kicking the PST Habit

Although large mailboxes are hard to manage, they provide an advantage by allowing organizations to move away from personal folder files (PSTs) to server-based storage. Satisfying compliance requirements is easier when email is online and stored in user mailboxes on a server than it is if email is saved in a mixture of online mailboxes and PSTs. Compliance is difficult if you can't attest to the email that users control.

There are other reasons for moving away from PSTs as well. Server-based virus scanners don't scan PSTs, and users can waste space by saving copies of messages in multiple PSTs. Spreading messages across multiple PSTs could compromise security, too: Even if your PSTs are password protected, a knowledgeable hacker using a password cracker could gain access to your PSTs within seconds. Because of the security implications, I strongly recommend eliminating the use of PSTs in your organization.

Is Super-Sizing Really Better?

The disadvantages to large mailboxes include having to manage more storage and determining how to effectively distribute users across databases and storage groups (SGs). Exchange 2007's larger memory model and its ability to manage more databases should make it easier to support and manage large mailboxes.

On the client side, if you use Outlook 2003 in Cached Exchange Mode, you might notice that performance degrades when your mailbox size exceeds 1GB because the offline folders file (OST) on your local hard disk has to do a lot of work to process new messages. Microsoft didn't design the OST to handle large mailboxes, and its inherent inefficiency is compounded by the slow speed at which hard disks in laptop computers process I/O operations.

To view the rest of the article, click here:

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==== News from the Industry ====

CDP for SharePoint Environments
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

TimeSpring Software announced TimeData for Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services, software that provides file-based continuous data protection (CDP) for SharePoint. TimeData continuously captures all SharePoint data--whether it's collaborative documents or site configuration changes--in real time and stores it to an onsite or offsite repository. The product maintains system performance because it never interrupts user collaboration.

TimeData provides a simple way to recover your whole system, site, or documents. After you install the product, a new toolbar that appears in the SharePoint environment lets you browse historic views of SharePoint environments from any moment in time. You can browse a document's history from when it was originally uploaded to its current state. The toolbar also lets you recover lost or deleted documents.

I spoke with Agnes Lamont, vice president of marketing for TimeSpring, about the introduction of the new product. "By speaking with our customers, we heard a lot about SharePoint, and in particular, about protection," says Lamont. "We learned that SharePoint lacked capabilities that customers wanted; therefore, we provided an answer." For more information about TimeData for SharePoint, contact TimeSpring at 408-834-8966 or 888-375-7634 or on the Web at .

==== New and Improved ====
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Eliminate Data-Storage Complexity

Pillar Data Systems announced Pillar AxiomONE, its full service storage management and data services suite to eliminate storage-technology complexity and to reduce the cost of managing data. AxiomONE lets you manage NAS and SAN storage environments simultaneously and protect and archive your data from a single interface. Other data services featured include heterogeneous volume replication, file replication, and continuous data protection (CDP). For more information, visit Pillar Data Systems at

Add a Fibre Channel Interface to Your Tape Library

Exabyte announced that its Magnum 224 Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Tape Library is now available with a native Fibre Channel interface. The Magnum 224 LTO Tape Library is developed exclusively for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) or departmental organizations and features a single native Fibre Channel LTO-3 drive and one 12-cartridge magazine with a total capacity of 9.6TB in a 2U rack mount enclosure. The product comes standard with a barcode scanner, Ethernet-based remote management, a single import/export media drawer, and a rack mount kit. For more information, visit Exabyte at


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==== Resources ====

Events and Resources

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Cross-Platform Data Roadshow

Oracle professionals will cover key concepts about Oracle and SQL Server in enterprise database computing. This event provides invaluable information, including benefits of 64-bit computing on the Windows platform, SQL Server BI for Oracle, high-availability proof points for SQL and Oracle, and much more.

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