I'm studying and testing Exchange 2013, and I'm quite happy to see someone at Microsoft finally decided to move away from the old PF database management and replication which has been a full-scale PITA since Exchange 5 (or even before?). But I'm also quite puzzled by how the new PFs are actually supposed to work, because the documentation could really use some improvement.

Let's start here. Ok, Public Folders are now hosted in mailbox databases, and thus can be protected by a DAG. So far so good. So, you have to create a PF hierarchy mailbox. The documentation says that

Public folder mailboxes contain the hierarchy information for a public folder, whereas the public folder contains the actual content. The first public folder mailbox you create will be the master hierarchy mailbox. Any additional public folder mailboxes you create will be secondary mailboxes.

What does this mean? It just doesn't seem to make any sense... "the mailboxes contain the hierarchy information, whereas the public folder contains the actual content". Ok, and then where is the PF (and its content) supposed to be stored? And what about that "primary" and "secondary" stuff?

Where are PFs stored? In those very same mailboxes? Can I place different PFs in different mailboxes (and, thus, in different databases)?

This seems indeed to be the case, as the New-PublicFolder cmdlet has a -Mailbox parameter whose purpose seems to be exactly that; so I think I should be able to create multiple PF mailboxes, and then place PFs inside them. But then, what about that quoted statement above?

Is this only a case of bad documentation (as, sadly, seems lately to be increasingly common with Microsoft)?



I had actually wondered the same thing while attending an online "lunch and learn" a while back and was pointed here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2012/11/08/public-folders-in-the-new-office.aspx

The basic premise from what the guy told me (and the article confirmed) is:

  1. Each public folder mailbox created contains info on the full hierarchy of the PF structure (folders, subfolders, etc.)
  2. A public folder mailbox contains one or more public folder's content.
  3. If the content, let's say "QUOTES" gets too large for the mailbox it is spawned off into a new PF mailbox where it now holds the content and a copy of the hierarchy. The client won't know and doesn't care.

So to answer a few of your questions:

Where is the PF content stored? In one or more PF mailboxes

Can I place different PFs in different mailboxes? Yes

See the link for a better explanation and examples: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2012/11/08/public-folders-in-the-new-office.aspx

  • That's all fine and good, and just like I was guessing, so it really is a case of bad docs. But... what does exactly mean "gets too large" and "it is spawned off into a new PF mailbox"? This is never mentioned anywhere in the official docs... – Massimo Feb 4 '13 at 21:16
  • " IT will have a script to split off a branch of the public folder tree and have its content be moved and stored in a new public folder mailbox (remember: that new mailbox will also host a full copy of the public folder hierarchy)." – mfinni Feb 4 '13 at 21:43
  • @Massimo - My educated guess. Since it is now a mailbox, my guess would be they are managed like mailboxes with storage quotas and if you don't want a giant mailbox, you could take a PFolder that is growing and spawn it into a new mailbox, so that now you have, say, two 2GB PF mailboxes instead of one 4GB PF mailbox. SO the "script" would allow you to extract just that large Pfolder from the PF mailbox, leaving the other PFolders in that orig mbox and moving the large one to a new mbox. It would require a unique PShell command/script to accomplish and that's probably what mfinni is saying. – TheCleaner Feb 4 '13 at 21:59
  • That's probably doable, but the article linked in this answer makes it look a lot more like an automated process... – Massimo Feb 4 '13 at 22:37

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