Monday, October 25, 2010

Importing and exporting PST’s from Exchange 2010 SP1, the new, improved and full flavored PowerShell way…

simple-talk - Exchange - Importing PSTs with PowerShell in Exchange 2010 SP1

“Unless you use Red Gate's PST Importer, the import and export of PST files with Exchange 2010 is a complex and error-prone business. Microsoft have acknowledged this in the release of Exchange 2010 SP1,  since they have now re-engineered the way that PSTs are handled to try and ease the pain of importing and exporting them, but it is still a matter of using Powershell with cmdlets, rather than a GUI.  Jaap Wesselius takes a look at the new process.

Importing PST files in Exchange Server 2010 has always been difficult and prone to error. You had to use a 32-bit management workstation, or you had to install the Mailbox Server role on your management workstation, or you had to install Outlook on your Exchange Server; basically, there are all kinds of issues that can make the SysAdmin’s life difficult. Thankfully, things have changed in Exchange Server 2010 SP1 though. Time for a closer look...

Mailbox Replication Service

Importing PST files has always been difficult because the process relied heavily on some of the Outlook DLL’s, but this is no longer the case in Exchange Server 2010 SP1. Microsoft has completely reengineered this, and built PST reading/creation logic directly into Exchange Server 2010 SP1. The process is now integrated into the Mailbox Replication Service (MRS), the same engine that’s also responsible for moving mailboxes between Mailbox Databases. The MRS is a process that runs on the Client Access Server, continuously scanning the Mailbox Database for move requests. If it finds a move request, it will process it and start moving a mailbox from one Mailbox Database to another. This is an online process, so users hardly notice that their mailbox is being moved. The mailbox is still accessible while it is being moved ( and that’s true when moving from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 or between Exchange 2010 Mailbox Databases), and the mailbox also continues to accept new messages as they arrive on the Hub Transport Server.

A similar process is used for importing PST files into mailboxes (and exporting PST files from mailboxes, of course); the only difference is that the source of the mail is not a mailbox, but a PST file.


I don’t have to Exchange Admin much (at all), but in my day life I do have to sometimes think about getting data out of Exchange. This seems like an interesting method… I dig that it’s backed in and also the filtering capability of the New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet. I can see where that could come in handy (assuming the users are allowed to store much data in your Exchange mailbox… :/  ).

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