If you work in an administrative role with SharePoint or Exchange Server, you know how quickly these systems can become burdened by excess file storage. This leads organizations to enact retention and archiving policies, sometimes to a fairly restrictive extent that can hinder worker efficiency. (With Outlook search, you can find just about anything. That is, until those emails get eaten up by the retention policy.) But what if there was an easier way to reduce the bloat?

There is a product from balesio that could help. About a year back, I wrote a review about FILEminimizer, balesio's file optimization tool for individuals and small businesses. Essentially, it's a product that takes Microsoft Office files (especially Word and PowerPoint) and makes them measurably smaller. The product does not compress the files—it just looks for inefficiencies (unnecessarily large image files, for instance) and automatically corrects them. (The company also offers an enterprise version of this product, but I did not review it.)

Well, now balesio is bringing that same file optimization technology to Outlook and SharePoint. Here's how they work:

  • With Outlook/Exchange: Set policies for what types of Office files you would like to be targeted by FILEminimizer. Then, whenever these files are uploaded into an attachment, the product will automatically shrink them via its file optimization technology. Because it's not compression, the recipient of the email doesn't have to have the same product, which is nice. Read a case study on using FILEminimizer with Outlook
  • With SharePoint: Similarly, the SharePoint administrator sets policies for what files to optimize (based on the individuals uploading them, the pages they're being uploaded to, the file types and sizes, or whatever), and then FILEminimizer goes to work reducing the size of these files as they are uploaded to SharePoint. For enterprises or organizations with a large amount of files, a more efficient method is to have the file optimization work run on a separate server, so there is no strain on the SharePoint server. Read a case study on using FILEminimizer with SharePoint.

One issue that FILEminimizer does not address is e-discovery—organizations don't want to store files or emails for too long because the more files you have to sift through in an e-discovery case, the more nightmarish the prospect. So you'll still need archiving and retention tools, but FILEminizer should reduce the need to base these policies around storage space, letting your organization focus more on best practices to reduce e-discovery risk while still granting employees the access to older files that they need to stay efficient. (Learn more about Exchange Server archiving or SharePoint archiving.)

As a final note, balesio has just recently announced FILEminimizer SDK, a software development kit that lets organizations embed balesio’s native format optimization technology into corporate storage systems and applications. To find out more, visit the company's website.

Is storage bloat on your Exchange and SharePoint servers a serious problem? Let me know via email or Twitter.

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