Huge Archiving Improvements in Service Pack 1 for Exchange Server 2010

Microsoft has announced the upcoming features and improvements in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1, due for release “later this year”.

Some of the most significant updates are in the Archiving feature.  With Service Pack 1 Microsoft is addressing basically all of my current concerns with Archiving.

With the release of Exchange Server 2010 last November, we introduced integrated archiving capabilities aimed at helping you preserve and discover e-mail data. In SP1, we’ve enhanced this archiving functionality based on the great feedback you’ve given us since our launch.

Among the improvements are:

  • Ability to provision a user’s Archive mailbox to a different database than their Personal mailbox.  This means we will now be able to centralize archive storage in one location, host it on different (eg cheaper) storage hardware, and subject it to different backup and retention schedules than primary mailbox data.
  • Import historical email from PST files.  This is a big win for implementing archiving solutions, making it easier to completely remove PST files from the network.  And combined with the separation of Archive and Personal mailboxes, it removes the risk of massive PST imports causing primary storage issues for Exchange.
  • Delegate access to Archive mailboxes.  Great news for executives who need their delegates to have access to all of their historical email.
  • Retention Policy Tag administration added to the Exchange Management Console.  We’ll no longer need to work in the shell for creating Retention Policy Tags, lowering the bar for SMBs with less skilled Exchange admins to utilise Archiving effectively.
  • Support for Archive access using Outlook 2007.  This makes Archiving an immediately deployable feature for organisations who may have been holding out for the release of Office 2010.

There are some other feature updates and improvements listed in the MS Exchange Team blog post, and overall this Service Pack 1 release looks like it will be a huge improvement to an already top notch product.

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