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Creating a standard mailbox provisioning philosophy

Learn what a standard mailbox provisioning philosophy is and why you need one for backup and recovery purposes -- especially if you have a large Exchange environment with multiple servers, storage groups and stores.

We have six Exchange servers with multiple storage groups and stores per server. Suppose we are asked to restore the mailbox of a user who was terminated six months ago. How would we know what server/storage group/store to restore from? What can we do now to ensure that we will be able to retrieve the information that will tell us the location of the former user's mailbox?
I recommend using some sort of standard mailbox provisioning philosophy in assigning mailboxes to the different stores on your Exchange servers, then documenting and tracking these configurations in a central Exchange configuration history document (you do have change management procedures in place for Exchange, right?).

As an example, you could assign all users with surnames A-F to store 1 on server 1, and so on. Or, you could provision all users in a given office to the same store. Then, when you're recovering mailboxes for whatever reason, you'll be able to figure out which server the mailbox was on simply by what you know about the user.

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.

Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Tip: Rethinking your Exchange storage groups
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server backup and recovery resources
  • Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting

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