Microsoft Opens the Office 365 Email Archive Floodgates

Microsoft removes some technical hurdles for companies migrating data to the company's "bottomless" cloud-based email archives.


Businesses are apparently flocking to Microsoft's new Office 365 Import Service, heaping so much archived email onto the cloud-based service that they are running into technical roadblocks.

"There are millions of Office 365 archives in active use," revealed the Office 365 Archiving Team in a blog post announcing an update to Office 365's email archiving capabilities. IT administrators and end users are also putting the unlimited archive storage featured in Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4 through its paces, they added.

The Office 365 Import Service helps organizations move their email services to a cloud-delivered model by offering two migration options. One way of moving email archives is to upload Personal Storage Table (PST) files directly to Microsoft's Exchange Online servers. The other way entails an old-school approach to transferring massive amounts of data.

"For larger datasets, you can copy PST archive files onto hard drives and mail them directly to Microsoft datacenters," said Danny Popper, program manager of Microsoft Office 365 Information Protection, last month in a statement. "Once we receive the drives, we copy the PST files to internal servers and then import the mail into Exchange Online mailboxes."

Microsoft's enterprise customers seem eager to unload their old emails in large quantities, causing issues and hampering their migration projects. "As customers began using our recently announced Import Service to import terabytes of data from on-premises systems to Office 365, or to manage high volume mailboxes, we've seen a few cases in which a customer reached a threshold that required them to contact Microsoft support and perform manual steps to provision additional space," Microsoft's staffers reported.

Microsoft is remedying this and further automating the process by rolling out a grow-to-fit archiving feature over the coming weeks. "To accommodate customers who require very, very large archiving storage, we are pleased to announce new auto-expanding, highly scalable archiving," the group said. "This allows you to take advantage of a truly bottomless archive without needing to call support or perform any manual steps."

The update, which is being applied on Microsoft's own systems, will have an added benefit. "Through an update to our back-end architecture, we not only enabled auto-expanding archives, but also removed limits on the Recoverable Items store," stated the team's post. Apart from smoother migrations, the experience should remain the same for IT administrators and end users, they added.

Auto-expanding email archives is the latest in several moves Microsoft has made to entice businesses into offloading their email workloads onto the company's cloud data centers.

Earlier this week, the company launched Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). The product sniffs out unknown and zero-day threats in attachments by employing a specialized hypervisor environment to perform behavior analysis on files sent to users' inboxes. To prevent users from clicking on unsafe URLs, ATP's Safe Links feature detects seemingly legitimate Web links that actually point to malicious sites.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...