How Microsoft just doesn’t get the PST problem

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So, Microsoft are a great company, and I love them, but sometimes they just don’t get….

The Exchange Team have done a great job with that product in recent years. Exchange 2003 was pretty cool and stable, but the problem was around storage costs, to keep a massive database like Exchange running well you needed tons of high cost primary storage, which drove Email Admins to set (low) mailbox quota limits, which caused users to create PST files – and we all know that PST files are evil – right ?

This high cost primary storage issue was something that they did a great job of addressing, partially in Exchange 2007 and more so in Exchange 2010. So fantastic, they have addressed the route cause by allowing much larger mailboxes (at a reasonable cost), but what they haven’t done, at all, is given Admins any real tools to eliminate those PST files that already exist.

Okay, an end user can drag and drop a PST into their mailbox / archive mailbox – but seriously, you’re going to rely on end users to do this. Maybe in your, 50 user, small business where you can visit every desktop, but for a heavily regulated 50,000 user organization ? I hope you’ve staffed up the helpdesk accordingly, and the infrastructure team, and probably best to forget about that storage thin provisioning strategy you had because when they all log in on a Monday morning and follow your simple, detailed, well-crafted instructions then your network, servers and storage are going to take a hit. My advice is to make sure your VoIP system is on a separate VLAN so that at least people will still be able to make calls…

Yes, I know there is a capability to import via PowerShell and you want to flex you’re PowerShell muscles and could schedule / manage it by groups and the like, but that is predicated on the fact that all your PST files are on a file share / server somewhere and how many people actually have that – some, yes, most, no.

So thanks Microsoft, for leaving on opening for someone to build an enterprise PST solution that can find all PSTs regardless of where they are stored (servers, workstations, laptops), bring them under control, migrate in a scheduled and controlled manner all in a way which is completely transparent to the end user. I give you PST Enterprise…

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