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Microsoft Exchange Getting Expanded Public Folder Support Next Month

Microsoft announced today that it plans to expand the current public folder limit for organizations subscribing to Exchange Online or using Exchange 2013 on premises.

Currently, Exchange Online and Exchange 2013 support a maximum of 10,000 public folders. The existence of that limit was somewhat obscure, but it apparently can be a problem for some larger organizations, especially for organizations trying to migrate from earlier versions of Exchange. That issue was highlighted by Microsoft MVP Tony Redmond back in March. He had suggested that IT pros should question Microsoft about the limit at the Microsoft Exchange Conference happening later that month.

It appears that's exactly what they did. In a Monday blog post, Microsoft indicated that Exchange public folder support will expand from 10,000 folders to 100,000 folders. That increase will start to take effect for Office 365 Exchange Online customers in "early July."

For Exchange 2013 users, Microsoft plans to expand public folder support when it releases Cumulative Update 6 (CU6). Microsoft was less definitive about how many public folders would be supported with the Exchange 2013 CU6 release, though.

"As we get closer to the CU6 date we will publish an update on how far we were able to push the limit for on premises customers," the blog post explained.

Public folder support eventually will expand to "at least 1 million folders" over time as improvements to Exchange Online and premises-based Exchange get released, Microsoft indicated. The storage capacity of public folder mailboxes also may get expanded.

Microsoft had originally set the 10,000 public folders limit because of a need to synchronize folder hierarchies. However, that technology since has been improved such that public folders can now "scale linearly as [the] folder count grows within the environment."

Microsoft also received requests at the Microsoft Exchange Conference to improve support for contacts and calendar features in its Outlook Web App. Those improvements are in the works, but exact release plans weren't disclosed. Possibly those Outlook Web App improvement will arrive at the same time as the early July improvements to Exchange.

Lastly, Microsoft is planning to release some new tools that may help IT pros manage the proliferation of public folders in Exchange. Those tools likely would arrive sometime after the July Exchange update release, according to the announcement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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