I’m shortly about to help a colleague sort out her emails. She is storing her entire email history on the servers at it is getting to the stage of causing Apple Mail to crash constantly.
I personally use DevonThink, but I don’t think that is the right software for her. Firstly, it is overkill in terms of what the software can do, and I think she would find the syncing tricky.
The two pieces of software I’m weighing up in my mind are Eagle Filer v Mailsteward.
I have some working knowledge of EF, and I know it can sync directly with DropBox, which will be a big plus for her: no tinkering necessary.
Would anyone put a strong vote in the other way for Mailsteward? I’ve never used it, but I have seen positive comments on here before. Does anyone know if it can be integrated with DropBox or similar? I’ve looked on their website but can’t find an answer to this.
I take the contrary view of email archiving. I don’t like keeping large email stores as it causes problems for data recovery if the store gets corrupted. You might not have the granularity needed to recover individual emails. Why does she need to keep that many emails stored as an email. Are they better stored in some other format? If they are business emails, I suggest discussing document retention policies with her legal advisor.
Is the plan to archive the email in something like EagleFiler or Mailsteward then delete it from the server? Question, has she tried using a different email client?
Around 2005 I experimented with using a second email server as a message archiver for my company. Bottom line, Mail.app was able to handle at least 200,000 messages. It was so slow that it wasn’t practical to use but it didn’t crash. Today’s Mail.app is still nothing to write home about but I’d hate to think it is worse than it was back then.
Is it possible the crashing is due to something other than the amount of email? I would think since her mail isn’t disappearing from the server the problem is almost certainly her software and/or hardware.
Before adding complexity to her email workflow it might be useful to install another client like Thunderbird to see if it has the same problem.
I’ve used MailSteward in the past but ended up loading all my history into Gmail as it was far simpler and the lightning-quick search is a bonus, not to mention it’s anywhere I am.
But sometimes simple may be best. With due consideration to the comments above about avoiding any monolithic stores, there’s the standard mbox format which many email apps can read and write. I always used to use Thunderbird for any such task (usually moving stuff around in my case) but I don’t know its current state.