Microsoft's ExMerge, also known as "XMerge", is
a tool that allows organizations to extract data from mailboxes and
optionally copy the data into another mailbox. This tool can be
used for migrating users between two different Exchange Orgs,
archiving mailbox data to PSTs, backing up individual mailboxes, and
more. It is also one of the few tools available that help migrate
mailbox data from one Exchange 2000 Org to another Exchange 2000
This article will go over how to automate
running ExMerge and allow organizations to use it to better manage
their Microsoft Exchange environment.
A very common problem for Exchange
administrators today is the size of the information stores on their
Exchange servers. For those organizations that do not have mailbox
limits set, or have them set very high, individual mailboxes can
grow very large over time. As the mailboxes and information stores
grow, so do the backup and restore windows. When you do need to
recover data from a mailbox the standard Microsoft solution is a
length process. This is due to the fact that it requires a disaster
recovery server that can be used to restore your entire Exchange
to. If you have a large Exchange store it can take hours just to
restore the data, not to mention the time it takes to build and
maintain another Exchange server solely for just recovery purposes.
Another common problem is the migration of mailbox data from one
Exchange (5.5) site or organization to another. When an
organization is looking to a migrate to new Exchange 2000
environment from their existing Exchange 5.5 environment there are
third party tools available that can help, like NetIQ's
Exchange Migrator. Unfortunately, there are no third party
migration tools for migrating between two different Exchange 2000
organizations. Therefore, for migrations or disaster recovery when
multiple mailboxes need to be processed the tasks become very
difficult when using just the standard Microsoft tools.
ExMerge supports running via a GUI interface,
which is fine for handling a few mailboxes on an occasional basis,
and a CLI that can be used to automate the running of it. Using the
CLI, a custom INI file, and an input file that contains the list of
mailboxes you want to process you can automate the copying of
mailboxes from one Exchange Org to another. This can also be used
for saving mailbox data to a PST on a schedule basis.
ExMerge first shipped with the Exchange 5.5
Resource Kit and the most recent version can be obtained from the
latest Exchange 2000 Service Pack.
Using the ExMerge
When running ExMerge.EXE you will first be
prompted to select a mode to run it in. ExMerge supports a "One
Step" or "Two Step" process for copying mailbox data from the source
Exchange server to the target Exchange server. In the one-step
procedure, all selected mailboxes will be copied from the source
server to a PST and then the data from this PST will be copied to
the target server. After the data is copied to the target server,
the PST file is optionally deleted. In the two-step procedure, you
have an option to save mailbox data from the source server to PSTs
or load the data from PSTs to a target server. The two-step
procedure is useful to backup mailboxes or save mailboxes at a
remote Exchange server. Using this procedure mailbox data can be
saved locally to some media that can be shipped to the target
location. Once the data has been moved to the same LAN as the
target Exchange server it can then be loaded from the PSTs, instead
of copying the mailbox data over the WAN. In addition, the two-step
procedure can also be used to use to "backup" or archive mailbox
data to PSTs.
A complete walk-thru of the GUI and other
examples are in the documentation included with ExMerge, ExMerge.doc.
The focus of this article is how ExMerge can be
automated. An example is setting up ExMerge to backup mailboxes
overnight to PSTs. The command line switches and INI settings
supported by ExMerge are covered in detail in ExMerge.doc.
Therefore, only some of the key settings that are used when
automating ExMerge will be addressed.
ExMerge only handles mailbox data, it does not create mailboxes.
Thus, the target mailboxes must be created before running ExMerge.
There are two key files when running ExMerge
from the CLI. The first is the INI file that is passed to ExMerge
with the /F switch. This file contains all of the setting used by
ExMerge that can be set from the GUI, and some that can only be set
in the INI. The other file is the mailbox input file. It contains
the source and optionally the target mailbox name for each mailbox
that ExMerge is going to process. The format of this file is:
<source LegacyExchangeDN> <delimiter> <target LegacyExchangeDN>.
would copy all mailbox data from my mailbox in the
Altered@Reality Exchange Org and
Exchange Site to the
Exchange Org and
Administrative Group storage group in that Org.
In Exchange 2000/2003 the site information,
LegacyExchangeDN attribute is the Exchange 2000/2003
administrative group name. If an Org was upgraded from 5.5, then it
will be the original 5.5 site since that becomes the administrative
group name when upgraded.