Outlook User Should Not Store PST on a Network

PST files are generated by Microsoft Outlook as its storage repository for personal information management. The application serves as a local medium for communication thus the data file needs to be connected at all times. Therefore, the PST must exist on the same local machine and not on network to avoid the interruption in connectivity.

network stored pst file

The following segment explains consequences of placing Network Stored PST File and why an Outlook user should not do so.

What Makes a PST Unsuitable To Be Stored on Network?

Exchange 4.0 introduced PST files to enable users have access to their mailbox database on their local / client machine. In addition to that, PST files are also the repository meant to store account data for Outlook client working individually / without server connectivity, i.e. POP or IMAP based configurations.

Fact: PST type files are not meant to be network solution for enterprises. Specifying network directory to a PST file is possible, though its usage over network isn't meant for an enterprise's continuous and long termed storage of messages. Moreover, PST files are file-access-driven storage method for messages, i.e. the client machine applies a particular command meant for availing file access that is provided by the OS for reading or writing data to the PST.

Reading or writing of data to the PST file may not be an efficient process on a WAN or LAN network. These links employee not the file-access-driven method but network-access-drive method instead which makes all the difference. The OS provides these commands for sending or receiving data to/from another computer on network.

When Outlook tries reading a remote PST, it uses the file commands for performing read / write operations on it. The OS however, will have to send back the commands over network considering the location of the PST file being remote in this condition. The consequences of this include:

  • Creation of lots of overhead
  • Increase in time consumption for read / write operations
  • In worst scenarios, the failure or degrade of network connection may result in a corrupted PST.

NOTE: PST files are not made for a continuous and long-term purpose of message storage in enterprises.

Other faulty behaviors of a PST file on network include:

  • Any/all operations take evidently longer than usual
  • Write operations in particular take more time as compared to read operations on the Network PST.
  • Outlook performance slows down in comparison to that of Exchange client.

Conditions Where Outlook Functions with Network Stored PST Files

  • Internet bandwidth should be high and network connection latency low.
  • Each file is imposed by only a single client access and not multiple.
  • Outlook should be running remotely either by using Windows Server version 2008 R2 or later RDSH or VDI

Consideration While Storing PST on Network

Network storage of PST file may cause shares to stop responding. This kind of behavior might result in erupting issues on the client side. Such may include Desktops that are client machines being frozen up or Outlook stops responding. This is a temporary condition, which is caused by queuing file in the service work queues of the server. Although the storage of PST Data Files can be done on the network with certain strict guidelines followed, but it is advised not to save PSTs on network at all.

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