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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Monday, September 27, 2004
 
Mailbox-level backups
I've been thinking about this lately, probably more so because of the Exchange Newsgroups and the continual plethora of posts there regarding this topic. I guess what I am wondering is, why do so many Exchange admins (novice or not) think there is so much value in backing up individual mailboxes? I can "almost" see some value in doing them way back with Exchange 5.5, but even then, there are mitigating factors. Even Exchange 5.5 had Deleted Items Retention that could be configured. If you think about it, how often does a mailbox need to be restored because "you" deleted it? Hopefully not often at all.

Exchange 2000 introduced the concept of Deleted Mailbox retention, and Exchange 2003 expanded even farther by introducing the Recovery Storage Group. SP1 for Exchange 2003 made it even one step easier to import mailboxes from the RSG back into the production server by integrating the Exmerge functionality into the UI with a wizard. With all these improvements, why do so many Administrators still feel like Mailbox-level backups are worthwhile? Is it just because they are buying into the Mantra of "Our backup product provides this functionality, so we should be using it"? Are there other reasons that Administrators feel like there is something to be gained by doing individual mailbox backups? I've always been a big fan of the "Ed Crowley Never Restore method" and I share many of the same thoughts a the author of the Don't use individual mailbox backup detailed rant against Brick-level backups, but apparently there must be some other reason why so many Admins continue to want to use them. There probably aren't too many people that subscribe to this yet, but I'd love to hear your comments.

BTW - it sure would be nice if you could use the Recovery Storage Group to mount a Public Folder Store and recover, but Deleted Items retention should still apply to Public Folders (and their contents), so this perhaps isn't as big of a concern.
Comments:
The only time I wish I had it was with exchange 5.5 when deleted items recovery didn't exist and people kept getting made redundant and company policy was to delete the account.....and then they'd go and hire them back as a contractor 2 weeks later and they wanted their old email account.... Eventually i just broke policy and disabled the account instead.
 
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