Planning to Eliminate PST Files with Exchange 2010

Last month I attended Microsoft’s Tech-Ed event in Atlanta where Sherpa was invited to host two Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) sessions. With over 7500 paid attendees the conference represented an impressive cross section of IT professionals who work with Microsoft technology on a daily basis. Given that diverse audience, I was quite surprised to see my BOF session on Exchange 2010 and PST files filled to capacity! It was clear that PST migration is still a top-of mind topic with Exchange administrators.
If you are not familiar with the BOF format, it is basically a moderated discussion group where individuals with a common technology interest can share their thoughts and experiences with peers.  My session on Exchange 2010 and PST files sparked a lively discourse between the IT Pros in attendance, here is a recap of some key themes that emerged from the session.

Management Buy-In
Prior to undertaking a PST migration to the Exchange 2010 Online Archive it is important to secure management buy-in for the process.  Many email users perceive their PST data as business critical so convincing them to relinquish this information can be a challenge.  Your project stands a much higher chance of success if the migration is mandated by corporate management.

Define a Process for Establishing Ownership
Define a process for establishing ownership as part of your PST migration project plan.  This process could be manual, for example asking users copy their PST files to a network file share that is assigned to them.  If you prefer a more automated solution, tools such as Sherpa’s Mail Attender can scan PST file content and attempt to identify who owns the data based upon message information.

Importing many years worth of historical data will have a dramatic impact on email data storage requirements.  A migration project is a great opportunity to cull the data as you examine the PST – maybe you only need messages from the last 3-5 years and older messages can be destroyed. This will help minimize the storage impact on your Exchange database and may provide the added benefit of reducing the amount of data subject to an e-Discovery order.

End-User Training
End-user training can be an important factor in the success of your migration project.  If you take time to educate your users on the advantages of having their messages in the Exchange Online Archive they are much more likely to embrace the migration.

Cost-Effective Solutions
If you plan to embark on a PST migration consider evaluating Sherpa’s Mail Attender product.  Mail Attender can provide great statistics on your email environment.  It can also automatically locate PST data on user desktops and allow you to build bulk migration rules that will make the process much easier (both in terms of time and resources). For a quick tutorial showing how Mail Attender handles PST migration take a look at this video:


Editors Note:

If you are interested in viewing the BOF session referenced in this post, it was available a the time of publication at this link:  www.microsoft.com/events/series/teched2011.aspx

Feel free to comment below or contact a Sherpa representative for more information.

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