Transitioning from public folders to sharepoint

I've taken over a SBS server and I'm trying to organize the data in a better way. They have been using public folders to archive their email and at this point there is about 10GB is email stored there. It's a bit frightening to me. I'd like to transition them to use sharepoint for this task, does anyone have any experience with a set up like this?

It's an insurance company, and everything business (commercial insurance) related has been stored here. I'm thinking of making two email enabled security groups that receive and archive email, one named business or commercial and the other named residential or personal (I'm not sure if they archive these). I think this should work fine going forward, but I'm unsure how to get everything from their public folders into this database. Forward them? Currently there is a public folder for every company they deal with, and I'm guessing they wouldn't mind having a similar structure.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Its been a number of years since I did this, and I didn't do it in a production environment.  The process was fairly complex, but this is a good overview (and the method I followed):

There are also a few 3rd party apps which can perform the migration for you.  Most offer free limited trials so you can see if it will work in your environment.  Most of all, be sure that you have GOOD backups, and you might want to consider using another 3rd party tool for archiving as a backup.  I have used MailStore Server and I really like how easily it works -- especially with SBS and public folders.  See for details -- they include a fully functioning 30-day trial.

One thing to consider, if you are moving these over to SharePoint is to eliminate the "separate folder for every company" structure in favor of making "Client Company Name" a data field instead.  There may be other data fields you might want to add.  This way, messages can be searched, displayed, and reviewed in any number of ways.

drewmunAuthor Commented:
I didn't realize archiving was an intended function of public folders, at least not in the numbers that the server is dealing with. All the same, sharepoint still makes more sense to me.

One thing in that article down worry me though
"One reason to not use a document library for data storage is that SharePoint's document libraries don't perform effective enumeration beyond a thousand entries per folder."

That's definitely the case, there are a ton of emails to archive. I was planning on moving them all under the "business" security group. I really am racking my brain about this. I don't really want to pay for a program if I can help it, but those public folders are a pain to administer.
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
If you are really looking at just an email archiving solution, then consider just using MailStore Server.  It has a great html interface that can be integrated into the company's SharePoint site for easier access.

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drewmunAuthor Commented:
I am looking at it right now actually. It looks like a great product that might save some headache.
drewmunAuthor Commented:
I think the company would appreciate the sharepoint security groups all the same, can mailstore archive email sent there?

On a side note, I feel like I'm missing something. Surely most companies would want to archive email, I don't understand why MS would not make it a core feature of Exchange.
drewmunAuthor Commented:
I'm using the trial of mailstore online right now. If it does the job, then I'm definitely getting it.

I'd like to archive the public folders on a system, then transfer them out and then in again (I'm rebuilding the SBS server in question). Can it do that? Right now I'm experimenting with archiving them as a pst.

Can it archive mail enabled security groups?
drewmunAuthor Commented:
After talking to a sales rep, it does not look like Mailstore is going to work. We would need a separate license for every subfolder in public folders, of which there are about a thousand. And they don't archive security groups, which I would have needed.

How do you guys archive email? I don't know what to do with these public folders.
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Sorry that it took awhile to get back to you.  FYI, archiving IS a feature of Exchange 2010 as well as Office365.  (It's also possible with Exchange 2007, but not well integrated and I don't recommend using it with that version of Exchange).

You would need to either upgrade to SBS 2011 (which includes Exchange 2010 -- but you need to also get Exchange 2010 Enterprise CALs for each user to access the archiving feature) or move your email to Office365 with an Enterprise plan that includes UNLIMITED archiving.  If you aren't able to do either of those, you really should be looking at a 3rd-party app for the solution.

SharePoint is great if you need to integrate a workflow solution with these email messages, but if it is just for archiving, SharePoint wasn't designed to be an email archiving solution and won't offer many of the features of another app.  Take a look at the attached article for more info.

FYI, I use Office365 for archiving.


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