Microsoft Readies New Office 365 E-Mail Archiving Service

Microsoft on Wednesdsay said it is planning to roll out an improved archiving service in the "coming weeks" for customers using Office 365 E3 or E4 plans.

Those two particular Office 365 plans are described as having "unlimited storage" for e-mails, but some Microsoft customers have hit limits when trying to automatically archive "high-volume mailboxes." The new scalable archiving service, which does not yet have an official public release date, is Microsoft's attempt to correct that issue.

Currently, customers use an Import Service tool to automatically transfer mailbox data stored on premises to Office 365 datacenters. Sometimes, though, a large archive process requires going through Microsoft support for this task. In those cases, the archive has to be performed via "manual steps."

A footnote in this TechNet library article described the archive limit triggering a manual process at 100GB:

A default quota of 100 GB is set on the archive mailbox, which will generally accommodate reasonable use, including the import of one user’s historical email. In the unlikely event that a user reaches this quota, a call to Office 365 support is required. Administrators can’t increase or decrease this quota.

Microsoft also promised that its electronic discovery, auditing and retention-hold solutions will continue to work with the improved scalable archive service.

In a side note, Microsoft also explained in its announcement that it has "removed limits on the Recoverable Items store." At press time, the TechNet library article showed that the recoverable items folder is limited to "3 million" messages per folder.

In February, Microsoft announced a change in plans for how deleted Office 365 e-mails are handled. Deleted e-mails used to be recoverable for 30 days, but Microsoft pushed down a policy change that made deleted e-mails always recoverable.

Typically, IT pros would modify Office 365's "Default MRM Policy" to customize the automatic archive process. The default policy is designed to move e-mails to the archive after two years' time, unless modified by an organization, according to this TechNet article.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.