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Network PSTs - Good / Bad?

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  • Network PSTs - Good / Bad?

    Idea for this thread came from: http://forums.petri.com/showthread.php?t=22967

    Originally posted by Sembee View Post
    PST files stored on a network location is not a supported scenario and will result in the file being corrupted. Exchange isn't designed to work in that way.
    Originally posted by Stonelaughter View Post
    You can store a BACKUP of a PST file on the server... but don't ever use one from Outlook which is not local - i.e. on a physical disk fitted to the machine running Outlook. It's a huge risk and will bite you HARD if the pst file ever exceeds about 200Mb.
    Originally posted by Sembee View Post
    This is the Microsoft position on PST files on the network:

    Personal folder files are unsupported over a LAN or over a WAN link

    More on the same subject:
    Network Stored PST files ... don't do it!


    I would recommend that PST files are avoided at all costs, even archive PSTs.
    So reading the MS link Sembee provided, it seems that there will be a large overhead, as well as the possiblity of corruption.

    Where I used to work, we used archive PSTs stored on a file server for most users (1000+), and never had issues. Only time we saw slowdowns when they had an archive aroung 2 GB. Since the servers were backed up, we never had to worry about ANY email being lost.

    Is there an alternate solution (other than a 3rd party app like Mimosa)?
    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

  • #2
    Re: Network PSTs - Good / Bad?

    :-O

    It never ceases to amaze me what organisations will authorise in the face of ALL the internet information regarding this issue, and Microsoft's own instructions.

    You were very, VERY lucky. I don't know of an alternative that is compatible with Outlook; but I do know that unless your PST files are VERY small, holding them on a network is a big no-no; especially over a VPN or when the network connection is prone to drop-outs or poor latency. (With VPN, poor latency or drop-outs, the size of the file is immaterial - DON'T DO IT).

    Outlook opens these files permanently for Write with low timeouts. They are a database file - but I can find no information regarding the details of how Outlook handles them. I can also find no evidence of proper database transaction control or phase points; which would mean that an interrupted write, or even a disconnection when idle, can be completely fatal to the file.

    The ONLY sensible way to use these files is locally on a physical hard disk. When you have closed Outlook, it is of course sensible to arrange for the file to be copied to a network drive for backup. I would also recommend, if they are used as online storage rather than an Archive solution alone, splitting the file into smaller files (for instance, save one subject folder in one file, another subject in another file etc). This keeps the size of constantly expanding files down. Also, ensure they're regularly compacted (idiotically, this is a MANUAL process).


    Tom
    For my own and your protection, I do not provide support by private message under any circumstances. All such messages will be deleted and ignored.

    Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you

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    • #3
      Re: Network PSTs - Good / Bad?

      Originally posted by Stonelaughter View Post
      especially over a VPN or when the network connection is prone to drop-outs or poor latency
      Fortunately, we did neither of those things. Archives if on a file server were always local to the computer (that is, in the same branch, or office), with one setup exception (but it was a dedicated connection between the offices, and physically only 4 miles apart).
      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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      • #4
        Re: Network PSTs - Good / Bad?

        I have mentioned Enterprise KVault in the other thread; it is not analogous to PST files but it IS a great archiving solution.


        Tom
        For my own and your protection, I do not provide support by private message under any circumstances. All such messages will be deleted and ignored.

        Anything you say will be misquoted and used against you

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Network PSTs - Good / Bad?

          If you have a very good connection between the client and network and keep the PST size small corruption is uncommon.

          If you have users who work from a VPN and try to move a 10 MB attachment to their PST and then end up forcing Outlook to close because "it froze" you'll soon hate PSTs.

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          • #6
            Re: Network PSTs - Good / Bad?

            If you enable offline folders you will find that PST files are not synchronised. I don't care what size the PST files are, big or small, corruption will occur, it is just a matter of when. As already outlined you were very lucky.

            Simon.
            --
            Simon Butler
            Exchange MVP

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