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Exchange 2010 and storage systems

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Discovery mailbox

The last type of mailbox you should consider when planning for Exchange 2010 storage is the discovery mailbox. The discovery mailbox is only used when a multi-mailbox search (e-discovery) is performed. The search results are stored in the discovery mailbox.

By default, the discovery mailbox is assigned a 50 GB quota. This sounds large, but it may be too small for performing e-discovery in a large organization.

When it comes to choosing a storage location for a discovery mailbox, capacity is generally more important than performance. While the e-discovery process is I/O intensive, the I/O load is split between the database containing the user mailboxes and the database holding the discovery mailbox.

If e-discovery isn't a priority, then you may consider not even bothering to create a discovery mailbox until you need it. If that's not an option, your best bet is to place the mailbox in a dedicated mailbox database that lives on a low-cost storage system with plenty of free disk space.

More planning required

Clearly, there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account when planning an Exchange Server storage architecture. Even though Exchange 2010 isn't as I/O intensive as its predecessors, I/O performance should still be a major consideration in the design process. Other important considerations include capacity and fault tolerance.

BIO: Brien M. Posey is a seven-time

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Microsoft MVP for his work with Exchange Server, Windows Server, Internet Information Server (IIS) and File Systems/Storage. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once a network administrator for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.

This was first published in April 2011

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