One of the features in Exchange 2010 which received a huge feedback is the archive mailbox. This is one of the most debated topic in my blog as well, check my previous article.
Microsoft has listened to the customer feedback and has made improvements to this feature. The main outcry was the absence of an option to store the archive mailbox on a different database to the primary one. Guess what? It is possible now, in SP1. And the good thing is that an administrator can perform the necessary actions using the console itself.
Let me explain the improvements based on my lab environment. First of all, let us enable an archive mailbox for the user ChakkaRajith. Right click the mailbox and select “Enable Archive”. We get a window asking us whether we want to have a local archive or a remote one (Microsoft Online Service).
We can either select the database on which the archive mailbox should be stored or ask the system to randomly pick a database.
I selected a database using the “Browse” button and clicked OK. That’s it, archive mailbox has been created for the user. Note the change in icon for a mailbox which has archive enabled.
Now, let’s play with the archive mailbox settings. First thing anyone wants to try is to move the primary & archive mailbox to different databases and see the different options we have. Let’s do that. Right click the mailbox and select “New Local Move Request”.
You can see the databases on which your primary & archive mailbox resides, move primary mailbox, move archive mailbox or move both.
I selected to move the user mailbox and I was asked to confirm the mailbox move settings, whether to skip the mailbox or corrupted messages if corrupted items are found. A new option exposed in the console is to suspend the mailbox move when it is ready to complete.
Following the wizard, I clicked on “New” and “Finish” to complete the mailbox move. The icon changes to notify that a mailbox move was completed.
You won’t be able to move the mailbox again to a different database until the move request is cleared. You won’t have the move request options when you right click the mailbox! To fix it, navigate to “Recipient Configuration -> Move Request”, right click the mailbox and select “Clear Move Request”.
Finally, the general tab of the user properties shows the databases on which the primary and archive mailboxes are stored.
A question I got through emails was whether it is possible to have the user mailbox on one server and archive on a different server. The answer is yes, it is possible. I think it will be a feature half done without that. Let me explain by moving my account’s archive to a different server. In my lab, I have two mailbox servers EXCH2 and EXCH10. Databases DB1 – DB4 are on EXCH10 and DB5 – DB7 on EXCH2.
Both my user mailbox (Rajith Enchiparambil)and archive is on DB1.
I am moving the archive to DB5 which is on the second server EXCH2. When I click the “Browse” button for selecting the target database, I get all my databases listed (from both servers).
I selected DB5 and completed the wizard without any issues. Checking my account’s properties confirms my actions.
Indeed a welcome feature!