Posted by: kurtsh | April 12, 2012

HOWTO: Optimize your server-side Outlook rules (a.k.a. What do I do if I run out of space in my Exchange account for my Outlook rules?)

imageWe’ve all been there.  You have a ton of carefully crafted, exhaustively complete Outlook rules configured and stored server-side in Exchange.  Then one day… you attempt to add one more rule and… you’re out of rules storage.  You might even be unlucky enough to have some of your Outlook rules deactivated.

What happened?
It turns out that there is a limited amount of memory that is allocated for each mailbox’s server-side rules.  The default for most Exchange implementations is 32k.  This can be adjusted up to 256k but it also multiplies the amount of memory requires on the server to operate.  If your IT organization isn’t interested in buying more memory for their Exchange Servers to accommodate greater rules capacity in-memory… and you’re not interested in reducing your rules list size… you’re kinda hosed. 

Or are you?
Today, I learned a trick that will allow you to fit a lot more rules into your mailbox while accomplishing the same thing.  Instead of using the condition sent to people or public group, if you use the condition with specific words in the message header, and match to a short mail alias manually, you can fit a LOT more rules into your allocated server-side rule space.

For example, instead of:

Apply this rule after the message arrives
sent to
Windows Rights Management Champs
move it to the Windows Rights Management Champs folder

…you would create:

Apply this rule after the message arrives
with wrmchamps in the message header
move it to the Windows Rights Management Champs folder

The result would be a rule that accomplishes the same thing but individually takes up a lot less space.  Apparently it has to do with the fact that when you use the “sent to” condition, it uses an X.500 address for the target condition instead of just a small string and the difference in memory usage is dramatic.

Anyway, just thought I’d pass that along.


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