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Best Practice for PST files

Posted on 2010-11-08
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We have the same problem that many companies do: We use Exchange, but we also use PST's for archiving. We're a small site, and don't currently want a full Exchange archiving solution, so using Outlook's archival abilities is great.

However, we now need to worry about backing up those PSTs. We don't backup desktops however, so this presents a problem.

How is this generally handled?

Should we setup a GPO that replicates this data to a network share?

One problem with this approach is that you need a local cache version, and copying a huge PST every logon/logoff could present a problem.

Thoughts?
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Question by:puryear-it
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Expert Comment

by:marine7275
ID: 34088868
In my opinion you have 1 of 2 options:

1) Backup to a network share by creating an ntbackup job, or your GPO option

2) Put it on the client to backup thier own to an external drive, etc.
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Expert Comment

by:WESTcoast707
ID: 34088908
A network store sounds like the perfect solution for your needs.  Since it will be local for everyone to use, map it on user computer so that programs such as outlook can read it as just another drive.  Once the inital setup is done, you can start making copies of the pst's and putting them into this network drive into respected folders (bob's pst would be under bob folder)  too keep organized.  Have outlook look for the pst to save to and boom your done!  Depending on size of you nas you can have use it as a place to store files and what not or for a shared section for your users (possibilities are endless ).  This is the way WE have our network storage for pst's set up and we have no problems with it.
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Author Comment

by:puryear-it
ID: 34088925
WESTcoast707: Are you supporting laptop/mobile users using this method? That's going to be the real trick.
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morganmce earned 200 total points
ID: 34089105
If your requirements are straight forward (not too many users), you could use this utility from Microsoft
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=8b081f3a-b7d0-4b16-b8af-5a6322f4fd01&displaylang=en

We had a small group of remote users in the past using this to backup their PST files to the file server in the office and to be fair it did work well for the environment at the time.

Another option which may help is to have a script run at an agreed interval (once a week perhaps) that copies the PST file(s) to a temp location on the users PC at logon, and then while the user works away during the day, it transfers in the background to the file server. The script would take a little but of thought, but should be pretty effective.

If finances can stretch, I would think the best option would be a product such as Mozy which is able to do incremental backups of PSTs - also the fact that the files are kept off-site can be very useful from a DR perspective.
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Expert Comment

by:GillesT
ID: 34090188
As WESTcoast707 says, if you have a good network, small PST files, an no laptop, you can put PST files on the network
But as when your are using a backup engine (like ntbackup or other) or a script, this will (often) failed for PST files when they are opened by Outlook, and when the backup can be done the whole PST file is backed up (like the backup utility from Microcosft)
You can also have a look to BackupMyFolder! or PSTSTation Corporate   (http://www.addonmail.com)
All these products are able to scheduled the backup, do incrementals backup, and are able to backup while Outlook is opened and they manage laptop.
BackupMyFolder! is a freeware that do scheduled incremental backup of PST files, and is manages by the user
PSTStation Corporate is a product that allows an administrator to discover PST files/Users/Hosts on the network and then do job on these PST files like backup. The backup can be done while Outlook is running throw an agent deployed on client side.
Laptop are managed throw a special feature that allows to backup according to the boot of the laptop (the agent notify PSTStation Corporate for his availability).
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