Journaling Best Practices

In this blog I will be sharing some of the best practices on Journal Mailbox. While working with few large customers I’ve seen that many people don’t know the advantages and disadvantages of Journal Mailboxes. Before I step further I would like to share the Journaling Options.

  • Premium Journaling : Helps you configure Custom Journaling Rules as per the Organization Needs.
  • Standard Journaling : Helps you configure Journaling at Mailbox Database Level. Any emails sent or received one copy is forwarded to the Journal Recipient.

Note : For Premium Journaling you need Enterprise CAL’s.

For More Information on CAL’s please read the following article Exchange Server 2013 Licensing

Exchange Server 2007, Exchange Server 2010 and Exchange Server 2013 supports only Envelope Journaling. Envelope journaling is available with both Premium and Standard Journaling. Below screenshots illustrates how Emails are wrapped and sent to Journal Mailbox.

Figure 1: Email

In figure 1 the original email is an attachment and the To,Cc,Bcc and Message-Id moves to message body. This will help while monitoring certain set of users or groups for compliance purpose.

Important : Before enabling the feature please get proper approval from all concerned authorities.

For medium to large enterprises having separate dedicated Mailbox Server with few Journal Mailboxes or Journal Rules can help both in terms of Loads and Email Security.

Figure 2: Medium to Large Enterprise

In figure 2 we can have dedicated server for Journal Mailbox. This server can have real-time third party archival to archive all the emails out of the server.

Figure 3: Small Business

In figure 3 Journal Database can be created in the same server.

Note: Some companies configure Journal Mailbox pointing to an external vendor for continues email archival and recovery.


Best Practices

  1. Journal Mailbox should be hidden from GAL.
  2. Get proper approval from all higher authorities including the compliance team.
  3. Exchange Server 2013 gives us the option with 100 GB Mailbox Size and 1 Million Items. Configure the mailbox size prior to implementing journaling.
  4. Keep a close watch on the Mailbox size.
  5. Real-Time email archival must be implemented.
  6. Create a strong password for the mailbox account.
  7. Always ensure that the Journal Mailbox Database is mounted.
  8. Enabling Circular Logging for Journal Database can help save disk space.

Advantages of Journal Mailbox

  1. Copy of email is preserved as per the Journal Rules.
  2. Easy for Compliance team for legal audits.
  3. Missing emails can be easily tracked and restored.
  4. Bcc recipients gets exposed. This helps in investigating illegal transaction.

Disadvantages of Journal Mailbox

  1. Search is not possible with both PowerShell and EAC. Search can only be performed by logging into the mailbox and searching with known subjects or keywords.
  2. MRM cannot be implemented on the Journal Mailbox.
  3. Message tracking wont track the email sent to Journal Mailbox.

TechNet Reference : Journaling



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3 Responses to Journaling Best Practices

  1. Anusha says:

    Hi Sunderji Good job! I am following you

    Anusha (XCON04)

  2. Sven says:

    Hi Sunder

    We have a lot off Databases like MBX1, MBX2 and so one. We go not over then 250 Users per Mailboxdatabase. So how we should size the Journaling Part for all the MBX’s? Our Idea was, that we create for each MBX another like MBX-J with only one Usermailbox like to have for each Database a dedicated destination Mailbox.


  3. Sunder says:


    Please share your Exchange server version, backups, number of high profile users (heavy users) per database. Creating mailbox for each mbx is a extra overload of finding that room to store them. Please help us with more details.