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  1.    #1  
    I am a relatively new Network Administrator (actually I'm the whole IT department) at my small company.

    We use Outlook/ Exchange for email and I've asked my users to use network shares and NOT email for file sharing inside our LAN. My reasoning is this: if someone sends a 500kb file to 10 people (a daily occurrance) we now have 11 copies (one in his Sent items and 1 in each of the recipients' Inboxes) of that file (taking up over 5 Mb) on the same hard drive (the Exchange server). This is an obvious waste of disk space. Of course disk space is cheap but I don't think that means we should waste it.

    I've gotten lots of resistance to this and I'm wondering what IT people with more experience than I think.
    Mike
    I'd rather be upside down in my kayak than rightside up at my desk.
  2. #2  
    Originally posted by Jupe
    I am a relatively new Network Administrator (actually I'm the whole IT department) at my small company.

    We use Outlook/ Exchange for email and I've asked my users to use network shares and NOT email for file sharing inside our LAN. My reasoning is this: if someone sends a 500kb file to 10 people (a daily occurrance) we now have 11 copies (one in his Sent items and 1 in each of the recipients' Inboxes) of that file (taking up over 5 Mb) on the same hard drive (the Exchange server). This is an obvious waste of disk space. Of course disk space is cheap but I don't think that means we should waste it.

    I've gotten lots of resistance to this and I'm wondering what IT people with more experience than I think.
    I don't think you're being unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary. You're trying to allow the users to accomplish what they want (sharing a file) with the most efficient use of company resources. They can then email a link to the file instead of the actual file and open it just as easily. The only justification that I could see for emailing a separate copy to everyone is to allow for individual revisions to be tracked separate from everyone else, and given an Outlook/Exchange environment, it seems that Office revision tracking would accomplish this without having to resort to that.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  3. #3  
    Originally posted by Jupe
    I am a relatively new Network Administrator (actually I'm the whole IT department) at my small company.

    We use Outlook/ Exchange for email and I've asked my users to use network shares and NOT email for file sharing inside our LAN. My reasoning is this: if someone sends a 500kb file to 10 people (a daily occurrance) we now have 11 copies (one in his Sent items and 1 in each of the recipients' Inboxes) of that file (taking up over 5 Mb) on the same hard drive (the Exchange server). This is an obvious waste of disk space. Of course disk space is cheap but I don't think that means we should waste it.

    I've gotten lots of resistance to this and I'm wondering what IT people with more experience than I think.
    I don't know if you're being reasonable or not, but a possible compromise would be to allow files up to a certain size. I believe Exchange can be configured to reject attachments above a certain size.

    But in general, as far as wasting disk space goes, who cares? I mean, provided the server has enough disk space for an adequate swap file and whatever other storage requirements put on it, what's the difference? In that sense, maybe I find you a bit unreasonable.

    Now, there are other reasons not to restrict the size of email attachments. For instance, if you have users outside the building who have to use dialup or POP to get their mail, large attachments can make those tasks nearly impossible.
    Jeff
  4. #4  
    Originally posted by PDAENVY
    I don't know if you're being reasonable or not, but a possible compromise would be to allow files up to a certain size. I believe Exchange can be configured to reject attachments above a certain size.
    Yes, it can, but I'm not sure that file size was the main concern. Efficiency and establishing a de facto policy seemed to be the heart of the matter.
    But in general, as far as wasting disk space goes, who cares?
    As a network administrator given the responsibility of maintaining a coherent and sensible strategy and set of policies, I care (not necessarily about his specific case, but hopefully you can extrapolate... ).
    I mean, provided the server has enough disk space for an adequate swap file and whatever other storage requirements put on it, what's the difference? In that sense, maybe I find you a bit unreasonable. [...]
    Well, from my perspective, the difference is in allowing it once, you set a de facto precedent and are opening yourself up for conflict at a later date. I can definitely speak to this from experience. When I took over my current position 7 years ago (wow, I could barely believe it'd been that long when I did the mental math), there was far less user 'restriction' then, and they were constantly having stability problems with the network. The problem was that the users were ignoring requests by the admin to clean up their files, and the 'money guy' was ignoring the requests by the admin to upgrade hard drive capacity, so the admin quit. When I started, it took a while to explain the situation, but ultimately you have to do it. The admin's job is basically to give the users what they want from a technical perspective, but it's also to advise them when there are ways that can accomplish the same goal with more efficient utilization of company resources. It should be a cooperative effort. The only way I'd say you should ignore it and let the users have free rein is if the person controlling the purse strings doesn't care (just make sure that you've brought it to the attention of your 'superior''). In that case, I'd watch and see if they show the same lack of care for cost controls in other areas. If so, maybe you should be sure to keep your resume polished.

    edit:fixed a spelling error: match/math
    Last edited by Toby; 02/14/2002 at 04:42 PM.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  5. #5  
    oops...hit quote instead of edit
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  6. #6  
    I think you are being perfectly reasonable. But rather than setting a ferm policy on them, maybe there are some ways you can ease them into the switch. For example, provide instructions on how best to use My Network Places. You can also give them a grace period then, say after 3 months, set a firm file size limit on attachments on in-house email.

    Just a thought from someone whose network administrator changed a policy without notice or warning and was without email for 3 days.

    Jason
    Did you just go near a burning hot river of lava or are you just happy to see me?
  7. #7  
    At my office, we have a Public directory with folders named after specific departments or workgroups. All users have a shortcut to this directory in their My Documents folder. When someone wants to share a file, they store it in Public and email links to the file.

    I'm not sure of the details, but once a week or once a month, a search for duplicate files is done. Users are given one week to clean them up or else they're cleaned up automatically (after the weekly backup). When somebody screams, they're given another copy of the email and a very loud "you were warned". Usually, it doesn't happen a second time. Care to guess who gets the most duplicate notices?... it's the IT guy himself!
    .
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    MarkEagle
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  8. #8  
    In my company we use Lotus Notes. There is no limit on the attachment size, however there is a limit on the mailfile size.

    Also all unarchived email older than 180 days get automatically deleted...

    This works pretty good, you can still send big attachments if needed and diskspace on the mailserver is controlled...

    Before there were no limits and some people had mailfiles over a Gb big....
    <IMG WIDTH="200" HEIGHT="50" SRC=http://www.visorcentral.com/images/visorcentral.gif> (ex)VisorCentral Discussion Moderator
    Do files get embarrassed when they get unzipped?
  9. #9  
    Our IT dept. has a similar policy. With our 300+ users and everyone so 'CC' happy, it is not unusual for there to be hundreds of copies of some 'inspirational piece', revided document, etc. making the rounds. Add the codes for formatting, enclosed documents, etc. and it begins to take some serious room on the server and the back-up. Our back-ups already come far too close to taking the entire day to run!

    Our staff gave the policy about the same response yours seems to have- ho hum and keep it up!

    I think this is a training and awareness issue. Too many of our staff were set in front of a computer with far too little training, and they don't know squat about where to save files, sharing files intelligently, etc.

    Good luck- I think the policy is OK, but the implimentation part is what is really going ot make it or break it!
    Do what you can, with what you have, where you are at!
  10. #10  
    Originally posted by ToolkiT
    In my company we use Lotus Notes. There is no limit on the attachment size, however there is a limit on the mailfile size.

    Also all unarchived email older than 180 days get automatically deleted...

    This works pretty good, you can still send big attachments if needed and diskspace on the mailserver is controlled...

    Before there were no limits and some people had mailfiles over a Gb big....
    Duh...I can't believe I neglected to mention that simple option. Get the 'money man' to agree to a set amount per user, and then leave the users to decide what they think is important to keep. I'll wager they're far more likely to keep their CYA memos rather than their 50 copies of BADDAY.MPG.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  11. #11  
    Well, in an ideal situation, you're absolutely right! Network shares are the way to go, now, i would argue that 500k in relation to today's disk capacities (or even 5MB) isn't such a big concern.

    I'm a DBA for a HUGE Ins company...we're talking terabytes of information on a sysplex IBM z-series boxes. So from my perspective 5MB is small potatoes...again is relative.

    However, we use Outlook as well, and I can tell you that both network shars are use, and also not used. Multiple copies of attachments fly by with edits, comments, etc, etc. I'm sure that this frustrates our Exchange/Outlook team.

    However, I'd argue this...as a Network Admin, (and in my case a DBA), our jobs are to support & provide an infrastructure for our users to accomplish their goals in the best, fastest, and most effective way possible so they can maximize their time & energy on generating income for the company.

    You'd probably argue that disk space will cost the company money, and it will...but disk space is relatively cheap. I could see you saying that anything over 1MB should be on a share, but that really is a decision that your users need to decide on a case by case basis...what's the most effective solution for this attachement...network share, or e-mail attachment. I know we don't have any limit here, we're asked to use our brains and figure out what makes the most sense.

    I do know that our friendly Exchange server team will give us a call if something falls on their radar screens.

    Also, this is somewhat managed by only allowing us like 300MB of storage per user on the server...so we can't store everything forever. And we can ask them to burn a CD for us if were about to lose something we desperately need...but that's when they'll say, "Well, how about moving it to a network share?".

    A real world example for you...we currently have in our Database 3 separate copies of a 20+ Million row table. Why? It doesn't make sense on the surface, its takes up a lot of disk space, drove the Storage Admin guys crazy. Until we showed them the Business case as to why its needed. We needed it for 3 reasons..its a tremendously important table to our company contanining vital customer info. It was getting hammered by all the people needing access to it, to the point that its performance was making it unusable for all.

    We discovered that not everyone needed the up-to-date information, so we created a copy, added a nightly update process to it, and then migrated a bunch of data off to a history table, even though its still contained in the 'current' table.

    The data's all over the place, but the desire for a nice clean 3rd Normal Form database is completely overridden by the business's need to accomplish its work/goals/etc, in the most timely and efficient manner possible. Is my life more difficult managing the database, absolutely...but that a small price for the user's gratitude in finding a solution that makes them happy, and got the system response time back to a useable state.

    In other words, you're there to support & guide their efforts, not hinder them...if they want attachments flying all over the place, show them the cost of all the dasd they'll be buying...put it into $$$ and then they can decide what's right for them....
  12.    #12  
    Originally posted by Toby
    Duh...I can't believe I neglected to mention that simple option. Get the 'money man' to agree to a set amount per user, and then leave the users to decide what they think is important to keep....
    Thanks for all the responses! I think I'll take that approach (as far as the network goes, I am the money man). Then I'll explain to them some ways they can keep their mailbox size down: don't use email for filesharing, do use autoarchive, turn off journaling, etc.

    Madkins007, you're right, it is a training issue which I have to take responsibility for. However being the entire IT department training always seems to get back burnered in favor of more immediate priorities. The lack of computer literacy of virtually all my users is staggering.

    Do you guys think 20Mb is a reasonable maximum mailbox size. Most of my users are well below that but there are a few who do a lot of filesharing via email who are above 60Mb.
    Mike
    I'd rather be upside down in my kayak than rightside up at my desk.
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by Jupe
    Do you guys think 20Mb is a reasonable maximum mailbox size. Most of my users are well below that but there are a few who do a lot of filesharing via email who are above 60Mb.
    I think 20 MB in general is probably on the small side (unless they are being really cheap on disk space). How many users are you talking about on what speed system? I've got about 150 users on my system, and even some of the most diligent users are still pushing ~30MB (I do have a few problem children that are hovering at the 600MB+ level, though ).
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  14. #14  
    One thing to keep in mind is cost of time. It might be slight but a user emailing a file that's right on their desktop takes a matter of seconds. With some users, however, placing that file in the proper location, copying and pasting the link and then emailing it can take up to 5 minutes (from experience).

    Just a thought, many people tend to value money but don't value time.
  15. #15  
    Originally posted by Jupe
    it is a training issue which I have to take responsibility for. However being the entire IT department training always seems to get back burnered in favor of more immediate priorities.
    A phrase comes to mind: "Pick your battles."

    Since, by your statement, you have such illiterate users, maybe instead of focusing on user education that might save you 5-100 MB on your server, you might want to start with a user education that creates more benefit and live with inefficient disk usage for a little while.

    It also sounds like you need an assistant. Maybe a precocious high-schooler could come in during the summer to help out.
    Jeff
  16.    #16  
    Originally posted by PDAENVY
    It also sounds like you need an assistant. Maybe a precocious high-schooler could come in during the summer to help out.
    That's a great idea. One which I might try this summer. I need to learn to delegate though. - that hasn't been easy for me in the past.
    Mike
    I'd rather be upside down in my kayak than rightside up at my desk.

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