Exchange 2010 RTM introduced Retention Policies as the successor to the Message Records Management (MRM) technology introduced in Exchange 2007. MRM was the successor to Mailbox Manager Policies in Exchange 2003. Message Records Management is called MRM 1.0 and Retention Policies is being called MRM 2.0 for short. MRM 1.0 as well as MRM 2.0 are both available in Exchange 2010 but MRM 1.0 is being deprecated in Exchange 2010 SP1.
I won’t go into MRM 1.0 a whole lot but will show you the capabilities of Retention Policies in Exchange 2010, how it ties in with Outlook 2010, and how you can create Retention Policies via the Exchange Management Console in Exchange 2010 SP1.
Important: Please keep in mind that the screenshots below are not final as this article is based off of SP1 Beta software and may change by the time Exchange 2010 SP1 ships.
Retention Policy functionality
Default Policy Tag
A Default Policy Tag is the default Tag that is chosen for a Exchange specific folder such as Inbox, Calendar, Deleted Items, etc. It affects all subfolders and subitems within that folder. It is essentially the default policy/tag assigned to a specific folder. An example of a Default Policy Tag is when you enable a Personal Archive Mailbox for a user they are assigned a Default Policy Tag which says that all mailbox data will be moved to the archive after 2 years and it applies to all folders within an Exchange Mailbox. Alternatively, you can also specify a specific part of the mailbox to be used for the Default Policy Tag instead (such as your Inbox, or Calendar, etc.)
Policy Tags are the options available for a user to select on a Personal folder which are essentially any user created items which include a subfolder off of the Inbox, items created on your calendar, a user created task, and so on. This Policy Tag which is assigned to a Personal Folder is there to allow a user to override the Default Policy Tag. It is essentially a way for a user to override the Default Policy (Default Policy Tag) set on a folder or a specific item or subfolder under the main folder that the Default Policy Tag is assigned to. So let’s say we enabled a Personal Archive Mailbox for a user and they have a Default Policy Tag for All Folders in a Mailbox for 2 years to be pushed down to their Personal Archive Mailbox. This Default Archive Policy also has a few Policy Tags that allow a user to select a folder or a specific item and choose the following options:
- 1 year
- 5 years
By selecting 1 year, we are using the Retention Policy Tag that allows the user to select 1 year. If we select User Folder Policy, we are essentially reverting back to the default setting which let’s the Default Policy Tag (2 years) to govern when that specific item gets moved to the archive. So think of the Default Policy Tag as the default permission whereas a Policy Tag is a way for a user to override the Default Permission (the Default Policy Tag).
A Retention Policy contains a Default Policy Tag and Policy Tags. You assign this Retention Policy to a user.
A Walkthrough of Creating a Retention Policy in the Exchange Management Console
Microsoft is moving away from MRM 1.0. In fact, in the Exchange 2010 SP1 Exchange Management Console, Managed Folders and Custom Managed Folders which were MRM 1.0 functionality has been removed. The Exchange Management Shell still has MRM 1.0 functionality. As you can see by the following image, there’s no Managed Folders or Custom Managed Folder tabs. But, there is a Retention Policy Tags and a Retention Policies Tab.
Let’s say we have a MRM 1.0 policy that does the following: When an item is moved to Deleted Items, after 14 days it will be deleted with the ability to recover that deleted item. In MRM 1.0 we couldn’t create any user configurable options. But with Exchange 2010, we can use Policy Tags to allow our users to override the default we give them. We want to create a similar policy in Exchange 2010 SP1 (RTM did have Retention Policies but not the ability to create them in the Exchange Management Console). We also want to take advantage of the Default Policy Tag to take care of the 14 day deletion but also provide additional Policy Tags to allow users to be able to choose a different time limit such as 7 days and 21 days. Let’s go ahead and create a Default Policy Tag to Delete Items after 14 days.
So to recap the goals of our Retention Policy:
- Default Policy Tag to delete all items in the Deleted Items folder after 14 days
- Policy Tag to allow users to override the Default Policy Tag and be able to select 7 days for individual folders and/or items
- Policy Tag to allow users to override the Default Policy Tag and be able to select 21 days for individual folders and/or items
So let’s create our first Retention Policy Tag which will become our Default Policy Tag because we are assigning it to a folder that Exchange creates, the Deleted Items folder.
We then want to allow the user the ability to select 7 days and 21 days. We will assign the Tag Type to Personal Folders which essentially makes it into a Policy Tag rather than a Default Policy Tag and will allow the users in Outlook 2010 to select 7 days or 21 days to override the Folder Policy (Default Policy Tag).
Let’s go ahead and create our 7 day Retention Tag.
Let’s go ahead and create our 21 day Retention Tag.
We can now see the Retention Tags and the Default Policy Tag.
So let’s go over to the Retention Policies Tab and create a new Retention Policy that includes all three of our Retention Policy Tags.
During the Policy creation we can specify mailboxes to associate the policy to; which I did. After assigning the policy and running the Managed Folder Assistant (Start-ManagedFolderAssistant) to expedite the process of assigning the policy to the mailbox, I launched Outlook 2010 with this user’s account profile.
If we take a look at the Inbox Policy, it just says to use the Parent Policy.
But if we look at the Deleted Items Folder in which we created the Default Policy Tag for, we can see our Default Policy Tag at work.