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  • PST's on network share

    Hi, folks

    I will be moving a small charity's workgroup over to a domain environment in the coming weeks.

    One of the things that I am unsure of is the location and backup of PST files. I want to move their PST files from their local machines to a new server that I will be installing.

    According to MS this is an unsupported configuration and is documented here.

    Now, the domain will only have about 5 user accounts, of which three access email. Their PST's range in size from a few 100MB to 1GB. Will I see network traffic degredation caused by this? Their domain name email account is limited to 400MB online, and they have only just reached this limit after having it for several years with no maintenance, so I don't expect the size of the PST files to increase dramatically.

    Anyone else experienced network traffic/server behaviour issues with a small number of staff accessing PST's across a LAN?

    Thanks
    A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

  • #2
    Re: PST's on network share

    I have had PST files hosted on a file share before and have not had any major issues. You should be ok. If the network location is ever unavailable, they of course will not be able to access it and occassionally, an issue may cause it to disconnect, so worth doing a little user education.

    Another issue was just the PST limit itself depending on the version.

    It won't be the most reliable method but based on experience with a network of 60 users with most having a network hosted PST, you'll be fine.

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    • #3
      Re: PST's on network share

      That's great. Thanks very much.
      A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: PST's on network share

        Well in larger environments, I've seen issues with it in an environment with hundreds or even thousands of PST files. Especially server degradation is the core problem due to the PST files. Network issues won't really arise, although it might take a little while before the files are opened.
        When using PST files over a network share, instead of locking the file for read/write it will lock the volume. So when using a lot of PST files you can get issues with it.

        Personally if they have Exchange, use Exchange. You can easily create multiple datastores (or whatever it is called) with plenty of space for most environments.

        Also when you going to need support from Microsoft, they will say that it is unsupported and one of the first steps is to remove the PST files from the outlook clients. It is something I noticed when working with Microsoft. And of course they do this, just like every other vendor would do.

        But, in such a small environment I don't think you will get a lot of issues with it.
        Marcel
        Technical Consultant
        Netherlands
        http://www.phetios.com
        http://blog.nessus.nl

        MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
        "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

        "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
        "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

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        • #5
          Re: PST's on network share

          I've seen bad performance issues on networks of 8-12 users, never had PSTs on a network with that few users.

          If the PSTs are largely static make sure you back them up and don't let them get too close to the 2gb limit, cos I have known network PSTs to spontaneously corrupt.
          BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
          sigpic
          Cruachan's Blog

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          • #6
            Re: PST's on network share

            My experience has been the same as discussed by others in this thread. You should be fine with such a small number of users.
            JM @ IT Training & Consulting
            http://www.itgeared.com

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            • #7
              Re: PST's on network share

              Thanks, folks. That's very useful.

              Although I am reassured by your comments I may look into an alternative email client.

              The intention is to install Mercury/32 and and configure Outlook to connect to that.

              Their email needs sorting out. All of the staff use the same email account so there is no privacy and they have multiple copies of the entire account on their computers. This is going to be the most difficult part of the migration for them as it will require a change in the way they use their email - i.e. using dedicated accounts. Although it will benefit them in the long run, these people are not computer savvy and tend to resist change. I have to be very careful as the person who commissioned this does not want to lose any staff because the way they access data, use email etc becomes too different. All the staff are unpaid volunteers, and some of them have been working with the charity for 20 years or more.

              However, they are all reasonable people, so I intend to literally hold their hands for the first couple of days after the new system goes live. I don't expect any major problems to arise, but I'm trying to cover all the bases here.

              If server performance would have been affected, colouring their perception of how the domain works (or not in their view), by storing the PST files on the server then I would have left them on the client PC's. But, of course, that would complicate backing them up. I want all their data on the server so that backup (which does not happen at the moment) is uncomplicated.

              If anyone would like to offer any other help then I'm all ears

              Thanks.
              A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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              • #8
                Re: PST's on network share

                A PST file is just for one user. I suggest to use an email server, eg Exchange or maybe Zimbra.
                Then simply share their mailboxes across and basically you are done
                Marcel
                Technical Consultant
                Netherlands
                http://www.phetios.com
                http://blog.nessus.nl

                MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: PST's on network share

                  Thanks, but Exchange is too expensive. Mercury/32 is free for charities and is easy to set up, back up and restore (it does not use the Windows Registry). All mail boxes will be on the server just as you describe, it's keeping them there that is the issue

                  As there are only three staff who use email, I was simply going to set the path to each pst so that it points to a share on the server.

                  The staff are going to have to accept that they will be using dedicated accounts rather than one global account. This requirement is part of the brief.
                  A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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                  • #10
                    Re: PST's on network share

                    I know it's not free, but Microsoft's charity licensing pricing is pretty good as I recall. SBS 2011 comes with enough CALs bundled as well for the number of users you have. I don't know how much more SBS is over Windows Server though.
                    BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
                    sigpic
                    Cruachan's Blog

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                    • #11
                      Re: PST's on network share

                      Thanks, but I've already ordered the server with the standard edition of w2k8 r2.

                      As you probably realise, a lot of the groundwork has already been covered during meetings with these people and proposals and recommendations have been hashed and thrashed Also, I have no experience of Exchange yet, and did not want to use this organisation as a training ground - email is the most important part of their communications and I did not want anything going wrong due to my inexperience.
                      A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

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