Managing oversized exchange DBs

I'm looking for solutions to manage an ever-increasing exchange public data store. Right now it's at about 10Gb but it's always going to be getting bigger. The fear is that the larger it is, the more prone to corruption and data loss. We had a consultant that suggested "Email Extender" which is supposed to solve the size problem but it's a $14k solution. I'm wondering if anyone has a better solution.
I thought one way would be to upgrade exchange so I could get multiple data stores. Their data is organized by year and could easily be logically separated into different DBs.

Additional details: Single server running SBS 2003 SP2. 12 clients.

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You can set limits on the store. Right click, properties, limits.

It would be WAY cheaper to just buy a server 2003 box, Exch, and make the 16G limit disappear.
Putting limits, causes the end user to be responsable for deleting.
Do the users actively work with public folder info or is it just archived there? Are you running a CRM that uses public folders for storage? There are archiving products that will allow access to the data. Check out GFI, it might send you in the right direction.

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Multiple Public Folder stores will always be a problem. Even with Exchange Enterprise you can only have a single public folder store per storage Group.

How is your public folder data used?  The use opublic folders is being phased out by microsoft in favour of using Sharepoint.  So,perhaps it's worth you investigating the feasibility of deploying Sharepoint services, whic are free with WIndows 2003 Server.
msatterleeAuthor Commented:
I should have been more clear. The company is an engineering firm and must keep email (which usually contains CAD drawings or photos) for legal reasons. The attachments can't be separated from the email.  

Basically what they have is job folders and they put emails relevant to a job into the specific job folder. They're using it as storage, but they're also referring to it daily in that management can look in a folder and see how that job is progressing.
I would still look at a mail archiving program. When the job is complete it can be move to the archive.
SharePoint 2007 would also be a good alternative.

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Here is more about GFI mail Archiver

GFI MailArchiver  which ships at an unbeatable price and offers unparalleled performance  is an email archiving & email management solution for Exchange (and other mail servers) with auditing functionality that is easy to install and requires very little administrative effort.

It eliminates the pains of PST file management by allowing administrators to automatically archive emails to SQL or directly to NTSF. Users themselves can access past email via a web-based search interface and have the ability to quickly restore emails through a OneClick Restore process, without the administrators assistance.

All email is stored in a central location that is easily accessible using a web browser and the PST migration tool ensures access to emails stored in old PST files on users machines. Using the auditing functionality, management can also access any email that is requested for eDiscovery/compliance purposes and guarantee that these emails have not been tampered with.

GFI MailArchiver provides scalability and reliability at an unbeatable price. A free, fully functional trial version is available for download on our website.
murgroup, your answer is simply wrong!!!!  GFI Mailarchiver works by monitoring an archive mailbox and writing the contents to a SQL or other database.  You can't archive public folder items to a mailbox, so you can't auto archive public folder contents.

Based on the usage you describe Sharepoint 2007 would provide the best alternative and allow you to develop a much improved workflow.
GFi MailArchiver can archive public folder content if you configure delivery options for the public folders you wish to archive. A limitation of this method is that you must be a member of the "Full Access" group to browse or search for archived public folder messages.

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