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Jan 022012

When I was an Exchange Administrator one of my bug bears was Public Folders. Sure I could control mailbox quotas and quite easily find out disk space consumption of people in particular departments and so on. But when it came to public folders you created a few and before you knew it you hundreds of thousands of nested subfolders, of enormous size, with all sorts of stuff stored in them, that would never be allowed in mailboxes, and it would be stuff that end users would never dream of having in their mailboxes (movie AVIs for example … Yes seriously).

Managing public folders has gotten a little easier over the versions of Exchange, but it is also the most discussed area by Microsoft-pundits as something that Microsoft want to remove from Exchange, pushing people towards SharePoint for example.

Archiving of public folders is something which Enterprise Vault can do, and gives you a much broader range of reporting options, single instancing, and removing all that dead wood from Exchange Servers.

There is one gotcha to all this that is well worth explaining, in case it is a scenario that you will encounter. It is all related to public folder replication. The problem is best described by the following diagram:

The EV server can be configured with some aggressive age based policies to get data under control, but the issue relies in the restoring of that data by the EV client.As shown in the diagram the end user marks an item for restoring from EV on one replica of the public folder, but, the EV server is attempting restoration by talking to a different one, and then can’t find the marked item. The client just gets the rather annoying pending icon, and does not know why.
Consider the above example when implementing EV public folder archiving.

About the only workaround that I ever thought of was to try (desperately??) to remove replicas, certainly from folders that haven’t been used in a long time. ¬†Alternatively set the mailboxes public folder store for all EV enabled users to the same server that EV is targeting.

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