PFDAVAdmin Content Report - First step to explore the ‘jungle’ of your public folders

Did you ever want to know how many items each public folder contains? Or do you want to know when the newest item was created in a public folder? These are common questions for Exchange admins who manage public folders. When you have a small number of public folders, these may not be so difficult to answer. But if you have hundreds of thousands of public folders and owner permissions are possibly delegated to multiple teams, it is really hard to catch up to find out what folders are active and what folders are stale.

The Content Report menu in PFDAVAdmin (From ‘Tools’ menu -> Choose ‘Content Report’) should help you as the first step to answer these questions for more effective management of your public folders. You can create a report for all the public folders or any single folder (and its subfolders) with information such as the following:

·           Folder Path - The path of the folder.

·           PR_DISPLAY_NAME - The display name of the folder.

·           PR_CONTENT_COUNT - The item count as shown on the folder properties.

·           PR_MESSAGE_SIZE - The size of the folder as shown on folder properties.

·           Total Number Of Items - The number of objects that PFDAVAdmin found in the folder.

·           Oldest Creation Date - The oldest creation date of any item in the folder.

·           Oldest Modification Date - The oldest modification date of any item in the folder.

·           Newest Creation Date - The most recent creation date of any item in the folder.

·           Newest Modification Date - The most recent modification date of any item in the folder.

·           Largest Item Size - The largest item size in the folder.

·           Total Calculated Size Of Items - The total of all individual item sizes added together.

For example, by looking at the Newest Creation Date and Newest Modification Date, you can probably get an idea how actively the folder is used. If the report is showing dates many years ago, well, the folder may not be really used anymore by anyone. You may want to consider adding age limits to folders to delete contents that have not been used for years while giving them a deadline to deal with the contents. Or, you may want to delete the contents or archive them to different storage if you are really sure that nobody needs them anymore.

You may also want to look at the PR_MESSAGE_SIZE and Total Calculated Size as well to see what folders are taking the space of your hard disks to get the biggest bang for the buck. By using Export Permissions (From ‘Tools’ menu -> Choose ‘Export Permissions’), you can know who has the owner permissions of those folders. Then, you probably know who you should contact to confirm if you can go ahead and delete those folders.

The report created by Content Report is a tab delimited text format. You can import it to Excel easily and manipulate the report to your own preferred format.

Keep in mind though that, like every other function in PFDAVAdmin, Content Report runs only against the server you’re pointing it to. That is, folders that don’t have replicas on the target server will basically just have a blank line in the report. If you have multiple replicas of a folder that are out of sync with each other, you may see different information for a folder depending on what server you point it at. In other words, if you suspect that your replicas are out of sync, you can easily check to see if that is the case by running Content Report against those servers and comparing the results. Well, to get your replicas back in sync, you know ESM has “Synchronize Hierarchy” available with Exchange Server 2003 SP2. Or, you can even add a replica with PFDAVAdmin! 

Please also note that PFDAVAdmin does not report Last Access Time, because that data is not available through DAV. In fact, the act of using PFDAVAdmin to analyze the folder content will cause the Last Access Time (visible in ESM under the public store for each server) on that folder to update on that target store. So if you’re planning on correlating the Last Access Time with the data from the Content Report, you need to gather the Last Access Time first. Also, keep in mind that Last Access Time is specific to each store, so if you plan to use that data you need to go around to each individual public store and grab it. Another possibility that the Last Access Time can be updated “unintentionally” is file level virus scanning (which was more of a problem on Exchange 2000 servers with exposed M: drive). When folders are scanned in that way – the Last Access time is updated at every virus scan so the Last Access Time is probably not a good indication whether if real users accessed the contents at that time.

- Haruya Shida