Archiving and Retention are hot topics since Exchange Server offers this feature out of the box.
For starters, let me explain the situation. I’m currently working for a customer that uses a 3rd party product that archives all mail, for everybody forever (which amounts to about 4Tb). Except for the Deleted Items and the Calendar, neither of these are archived.
On the contrary, we actually need to ensure these items are removed after 30 resp. 395 days. Let’s have a look at how we can do some basic housekeeping using Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1.
Note: Exchange Server 2010 actually offers 2 solutions for this type of request; Retention Policies and Managed Folders. Managed Folders come from Exchange 2007 and were replaced in EMC (Exchange Management Shell a.k.a. “the GUI”) by Retention Policies from SP1 onwards. We’ll use Retention Policies for this post.
First of all we need to set up Retention Policy Tags. These are smaller building blocks that can be combined in to full-fledged policies later on. Remember: only one policy can be applied to a given mailbox. However a Policy Tag can be used in multiple policies. So there is some level of abstraction.
In our example we will need to set up two Policy Tags:
- the first one to ensure Deleted Items are permanently deleted after 30 days
- the second one to ensure Calendar entries are permanently deleted after 395 days
Let’s start with the first one. Retention Policy Tags can be found under Organization Configuration > Mailbox. A number of default Tags are available but none that matches our needs. So we need to create one of our own. You can do so by choosing “New Retention Policy Tag”. Come up with a name for your tag, select the appropriate type and an age limit.
The second on is a little bit harder. If you look care fully to the screenshots above you’ll notice that there no Tag Type Called “Calendar” available in the drop down list. The EMS (Exchange Management Shell) cmdlet “New-RetentionPolicyTag” does know about this type however. The Policy does become visible in the GUI afterwards.
Cool, now let’s combine these tags in a policy. As usual you can do it either via EMS or EMC. Select “New Retention Policy” in the same action pane as above. Provide a name for it, select the appropriate tags and specify some mailboxes to apply the policy on. Sit back and admire your first retention policy.
<Insert 3 weeks of rainy holiday>
Now let’s check whether our retention policy actually works as expected.
First of all you can see the tags applied to a folder in Outlook Web App:
You can monitor the days remaining before a specific item will expire:
Once the policy kicks in the item count decreases:
Likewise, but this item in Outlook, you can see the item count decreasing for calendar entries
All there’s is left to do is applying the policy to the remainder of the user base, but don’t forget to skip the CEO’s mailbox ;-)
Hope you enjoyed reading my first post on pro-exchange.