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Monday, August 4, 2008

Don't stub your (toe) mailbox

A recent Technet article Understanding the Performance Impact of High Item Counts renews the debate whether your archive solution should "stub" the archived item in the original folder. The only reason to stub the archived item is to appease end users desire not to have to learn to look in another place for their old messages. I'm not minimizing the desire to make end users happy - at the end of the day the end user is a customer for the IT department as well as all the vendors the IT department invites to the party. But stubbing comes at a huge cost, and the above Technet article highlights the issue clearly: the count of items, as well as the storage size of a mailbox, all matter for email server performance. Stubbing does nothing to help get the item count lower.

IT Departments continuously make difficult decisions balancing the impact of "ease of use" for the non-tech folks against the cost to maintain systems that may only marginally make their daily email usage easier. Maybe IT doesn't have to bear this burden anymore. I think it's time to step away from the "stubbed" mailbox.

Update: In another Technet article Microsoft recommends that third-party email archiving solutions be configured to move email content completely out of the mailbox without retaining stub files in the mailbox.

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