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Is it okay to store pst files on a network server that is dedicated just for the pst files?

Posted on 2009-05-13
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
We are running MS-Exchange 03 on a WIndows 03 SE SP2 server. We have approx. 140 users, some have large archive pst files. We are currently storing some of the pst files on a network "file" server that has other shared drives..  I have found out that this is a bad practice and have sometimes experienced the server freezing. We need to have the pst files backed up however. Leaving the pst files on the workstation is not a practical option. Would it be advisable to use a server dedicated just for the pst access??  (Workstations use Outlook 2003).
Any thoughts on this issue would be appreciated...  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:Pentegra
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by:Mestha
Mestha earned 50 total points
ID: 24376893
Microsoft do not support PST files on a network server - at all.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=297019

More on the same subject:
http://blogs.technet.com/askperf/archive/2007/01/21/network-stored-pst-files-don-t-do-it.aspx

It isn't just problems with the server, but also with the files getting corrupt.

The best option would be to either invest in archiving software and import the PST files to that, or switch to Exchange 2007 (new hardware required) which has effectively unlimited stores and import the PST files.

There is no good solution to PST files other than their complete removal.

Simon.
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by:sublifer
sublifer earned 450 total points
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Using pst files defeats one of the main ideas behind using exchange, centralized storage and control.

That said, yes, you can put all of your pst files on a separate server.

Are you running anything else on your Exchange server?  Is it an older server? Do you have at least 4GB of ram on the Exchange server?
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by:Pentegra
ID: 24377068
Initially, the reason for the pst files was to keep the size of the information store down. I have experience (in the past) where the information store has been corrupted and had to run the ESE utils which had caused downtime..
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by:Pentegra
ID: 24377151
Exhange Server --- Intel Xeon 3.4g proc with 4gb ram. Nothing else is running on it..  The information store is 85 gig on a drive partitioned 265 gig drive.
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by:sublifer
sublifer earned 450 total points
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Sounds like your machine, though definitely older, should be able to handle the load.

The real problem with storing the pst files elsewhere is that you would likely have to visit each client to set it up. (I'm not an exchange guru so I don't know if that can be configured from the server...)

I've got one client with about 100 users and although they aren't using exchange they do run Outlook pst files on their file share server.
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by:Mestha
ID: 24377409
If you are having to run the database tools on the database then something is wrong. I have been working with Exchange for many years (I am an Exchange MVP) and on all the servers I manage, it has never been required.

Storing content in Exchange is the best place for it. If you have 100mb of email in Exchange it can use 300mb of space in a PST file. And if you are concerned about database corruption, then you haven't seen anything with PST files. They get corrupted very easily. I simply say that if you have value the data you do not store it in PST files.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:Pentegra
ID: 24378151
I had run the database repair utilities years ago and with the server speeds being slower as well, the utilities took hours to run. At that time, the databases were smaller as well...  At that time archiving to a pst file was the choice to alleviate the space on the databases (making the repair time quicker, in case of corruption).. I see that times have changed and it looks like the pst file option is not the way to go.. being that the databases are more stable....  Since the pst files are already on a file server, do you think it would be okay to move them to a "dedicated" server (i know i'll have to configure each client) and then import them into the databases when we go to 2007,,,?
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sublifer earned 450 total points
ID: 24383643
Yes, it will work.  Its just not the preferred or supported option.  Remember that the server you put this on will be tasked heavily so I wouldn't have anything else important on it.  If possible, build/buy a server with a good raid card and don't use raid5 as it will make the writes much slower.

Good luck!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Pentegra
ID: 31581060
We will store the pst's on a dedicated server and then intergrate them back in to the information store when we upgrade our exchange server.
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