Case Study: Migration from Roaming Profiles to Redirected folders

Background:

A Windows Server 2008 environment, using roaming profiles. Workstations running a combination of Win7 and XP. Server configured with RAID 0. Outlook used for desktop email client.


 

Problem Being Addressed:

A single HDD on server failed resulting in a total data loss. The current backup solution had not been modified in several years and no current data was being backed up. Difficulties encountered: Migrating locally cached profiles and reconfiguring Outlook to work with redirected folders.


 

The Approach Taken:

New HDD’s installed and configured as RAID 1. Fresh install of WinServ2008.

With roaming profiles a user’s profile is stored on a network location and then copied over to the the local system at login and back on logout. Since roaming profiles can consume a large amount of bandwidth, resulting in a slow network and when users have large profiles they can experience long login and logoff times. It was decided to migrate to redirected folders. Initially, we had difficulties locating and extracting the locally cached profiles. We were then able to migrate them over to the new domain profiles using ProfWiz(by Forensit) a profile migration wizard.

Then Outlook needed to be reconfigured to work with redirected folders.

“A .pst file is a file-access-driven method of message storage. File-access-driven means that the computer uses special file access commands that the operating system provides to read and write data to the file.

This is not efficient on WAN or LAN links because WAN and LAN links use network-access-driven methods. These are commands that the operating system provides to send data to, or receive from, another networked computer. If there is a remote .pst file (over a network link), Outlook tries to use the file commands to read from the file or write to the file. However, the operating system must then send those commands over the network because the file is not located on the local computer. This creates lots of overhead and increases the time that is required to read and write to the file. Additionally, the use of a .pst file over a network connection may result in a corrupted .pst file if the connection degrades or fails.”

Outlook was then reconfigured to store the .pst files on a local system location.


 

Problems Experienced:

After redirecting Outlook to store the files on a local system location, we then had to address the issue that they would no longer be backed up on the server. To resolve this problem we will  write a logoff script to copy the local copies to a network location upon logoff.


 

Things We Would Do Differently:

Never configure a server RAID 0. Always have a current backup solution. (Things that in this case were not handled by Deus Machine LLC, they were setup by the PBX provider)


 

References:

Limits to using personal folders (.pst) files over LAN and WAN links 

 User Profile Wizard 3.7 User Guide

 Outlook PST backup. A Batch script in the File Manipulation category 


Inactive since January, 2014