External Exchange storage for folders and items? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    we have a document management system with files, folders and tasks in it. We would like to show them in Exchange. Is there a way in Exchange to bind an external store? May be an API to implement, so the Exchange server couild hold his items somewhere else and to get them from there on request?

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:12 PM

All replies

  • I'd think Sharepoint would be a better choice than Exchange.
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    Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:15 PM
  • Exchange is installed by customers as e-mail server with Outlook as e-mail client. We only use the existing environment.
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:22 PM
  • Sharepoint will integrated into the Outlook clients. 


     If you're looking for something that you can just add to the Exchange server to make it access content from a generic file system and expose it as folders in Outlook, I don't know of anything that will do that.

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    Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:37 PM
  • May be an exchange extension that we could implement, or a database, or something like that.
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:44 PM
  • Maybe.  If it's out there, it seems a very well kept secret.

    We'll see if anybody here knows about it.

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    Thursday, November 17, 2011 1:40 PM
  • Depends what you really mean by "We would like to show them in Exchange"

    Pretty much all the Exchange API's are designed to allow you to access information in the Exchange Store or Transport pipeline in relation to Transport Agent, Exchange itself is a Information store it is not designed to be an application proxy or Middle-ware server. If you want to display information from a third party system in something like Outlook you can write an Outlook Plugin but all the communication between Outlook and your third party system will be direct not via the Exchange Server (so its not a application proxy solution you will need to use something else if this is what your trying to archive). The best place to start with Outlook Add-ins would be




    Friday, November 18, 2011 5:55 AM
  • Hi Stas,

    It also depends on what functions the API of your document management system exposes to access its files and folders etc. Can you tell us what it's called ? Perhaps if it just stores its data in a SQL database and the schema is documented...

    Anyway, I think the other guys are right, your choices are:

    Use Sharepoint

    A logical choice I think. Sharepoint is good for this sort of thing.

    Customise Outlook

    You could have a custom Outlook COM addin written to expose the data from your document management system as though it were part of Exchange (the files would appear in Outlook to be in folders and sub-folder etc in a mail store but it would be just an illusion). Also to get the effect in Outlook Web Access  (or Outlook Mobile Access for that matter) you'd need Exchange side customisations on top of that.

    It could be a pretty seamless solution but it would be a fair bit of development.

    Use Exchange Public Folders

    You could try to subvert Exchange Public Folders to do the job. They can contain folders, files etc. The trick will be syncing the Exchange store with your document management system (but it can probably be done).

    The advantage to this method is the files also show up under Outlook Web Access for free !

    Drop Exchange and use Domino / Lotus Notes

    It's a document management system and does email - WOW !!!

    Sorry that was a bad joke... don't install Notes, your users will kill you.



    Friday, November 18, 2011 8:33 AM
  • Hi all,

    thank you for replies :)

    What we already have is a sync between our DMS and Exchange over the Exchange Web Service API - we create folders in Exchange, sync items from DMS to those folders and vice versa (for example if you drag'n'drop an e-mail on one of the DMS folders).

    But it means, that a large amount of data can by synced that way to Exchange - it has some disadvantages:

    • data is unnecessary replicated several times
    • large amount of data in Exchange - means also large Outlook profiles
    • security issues and record-keeping period
    • etc.

    Our idea is to show our folders in Exchange and if user expands one of them, Exchange will get its content or will show it direct from our DMS. An addin is not an option, because it must be available on mobile devices too...

    We are the developers of the DMS and can not tell our customers to install Sharepoint or something else. As I already said - we just use the existing environment.

    • Edited by Stas Gisin Thursday, November 24, 2011 1:19 PM
    Thursday, November 24, 2011 1:16 PM
  • Hi Stas,

    Well... that does change things a little  :-)

    So (public) folders with sync are out because you already do a version of that, Sharepoint is out while an Outlook Addon is not strictly out you need a OWA / OMA customisation too (2 x the development / cost) so in all practicality it's out as well.

    So just to confirm a few other things...

    You want this only for Exchange 2007/2010 I take it (you're already using EWS) or do you want to support 2000/2003 also?

    With your document management application does each user have their own private view of their documents and folders (and / or are there any shared folders/documents instead / as well)?I ask this because you say the profiles are large (implying each user gets a copy of the docs).

    Why is security an issue at the moment? How do you see an alternative solution remedying that?

    Does you DMS system do collaboration and / or work flow ? How does that work for you at the moment with Exchange?



    Friday, November 25, 2011 4:48 PM
  • Hi Scott,

    yes, we only support Exchange 2007 SP1 and above for the EWS.

    Each user has access rights to certain folders and certain documents in it. So we have to sync folders for every user in his Outlook/Exchange profile.

    Security was maybe the wrong word. We have a content store with documents encoded there, because it must be guaranteed that they are unchanged. Actually after a user has synced a document in his local profile and copied it from Outlook to desktop you have no chance to control it.

    Collaboration is only planned and Exchange will just get the resulting new documents.

    Monday, November 28, 2011 10:14 AM