Public Folders and SharePoint Revisited
I expect most of you have seen the Exchange and SharePoint Team blogs both referring to Exchanges updated details.
The most important detail is this new information from the Exchange team:
1) The Exchange team is going to support PF in the next version
2) Support is now going to be based on the 10 year support for the next version of Exchange
The table that was put together (which is most easily viewed on the SharePoint Team blog) is some decent guidance. What is unfortunate is I see a few comments that say they are no longer planning on migrating their PFs as a result. This is a bit confusing to me. Sure the Exchange team isn’t pushing to kill PFs as fast as it had hoped, but it sure seems clear that the demise is still imminent and that they hope to transition these scenarios to SharePoint as customers can. Notice that the table clearly has all new scenarios being built on SharePoint rather than saying use PFs on certain scenarios. It’s true you really can find some strong reasons to use PFs today, but no one is encouraging you to buy Exchange for the PFs and to build custom solutions on them. I think that’s quite clear.
Migration is tough, I do encourage if you can do it successfully and have the budget, otherwise if you can at least stop the obvious file sharing that happens on PFs and limit the usage to archiving of distribution lists or other such scenarios that limit the scenarios where PFs shine.
If you were to ask me, I’d say the guidance hasn’t really changed, the mercy of the Exchange team has simply been extended to help the large enterprise customers who haven’t been able to map their scenarios to SharePoint. Most of them now do have SharePoint, and whether the migration happens in WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 or in SharePoint 14 is yet to be seen for some customers.
It’s culture and adoption that will drive it, but by having two solutions for the same scenarios can add confusion. Some overlap is understandable, but my guidance would be to limit the scenarios so you can be clear with your users what PFs are for and what the SharePoint platform is for. Today I personally wouldn’t be encouraging more proliferation of PFs, I’d be limiting the scenarios and seriously considering charge back and business justification so I knew how they are being used, so I could track the scenarios with SharePoint 14 and making sure MS knew exactly what my PFs were being used for.