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  • Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

    Hi all, my turn to be asking questions I suppose

    My customer has an Exchange 2003 sp2 running on Windows 2003 ENT sp2.
    The database is rapidly growing in size, and due to the nature of the company I can't restrict the users from storing all their messages in the Exchange DB, can't archive the messages, make them use local PSTs for the large stuff... basically everything has to stay online.

    My question is, is there a way to deal with this situation, except for starting to backup the server as much as possible? (it is already being replicated to a backup site using NeverFail R2, and daily ntbackups are being run - switching to backupexec soon)

    the main issue is, that on every little glitch now, the entire information store goes down, and eseutil and isinteg can do nothing to repair it, and I have to restore from backup.
    ________
    TOYOTA MZ ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS
    Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:53.
    Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

    BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

  • #2
    Re: Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

    If you care for the email you don't want to use PST files. Evil things.

    Are you using Enterprise edition of Exchange? If so, have you split the store up? If you haven't then you might want to consider doing so.

    If you are seeing problems that require a restore from backup to reset, then I would suspect that something is wrong with the database and/or hardware. The Exchange database is very robust, and most problems are caused by issues outside of Exchange - hardware and antivirus software are the usual culprits. I rarely have to to use restores at all to resolve problems, so that would be a concern to me.

    I would be looking to give the server a complete overhaul. If everything needs to stay online then you may want to look at a new machine so that the Exchange databases can be rebuilt, using a more efficient use of the feature set of Enterprise edition.

    Otherwise the server could probably do with some attention from a good quality Exchange consultant who can advise on the best course of action.

    Simon.
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
    More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
    Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
    In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

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    • #3
      Re: Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

      thanks for the reply

      what do you mean by splitting the store up? creating another datastore and moving some of the mailboxes there, on the same server?

      I use 2003ENTsp2 and Exchange2003ENTsp2

      the hardware is a new quadcore Dell PE1950 with 2x 300Gb SAS drives in raid1 on a PERC5i adapter
      ________
      TOYOTA GR ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS
      Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:54.
      Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

      BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

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      • #4
        Re: Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

        You don't have enough hard disks to begin with.
        Without knowing the size of the store and the number of users it is difficult to make recommendations, but two hard disks is not enough to run Exchange. You need at least four, so that you can have arrays.

        To answer your specific question - I do mean creating another store/storage group and moving databases. However that server is under specified for Exchange from a storage point of view. Therefore a new server would be my first recommendation. It doesn't need power - it is always storage with Exchange.

        Simon.
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

          well, currently I have the disks in a raid1, and split into two partitions
          the first partition is for the OS and the second is for the exchange
          under the hood, there are two disks on a good raid controller

          I'm limited to a 1U configuration, and 300Gb is more than enough in the free space sense.

          or maybe you mean Exchange has to run on a raid5 or raid 10, for disk I/O performance?

          the store size is over 70Gb,
          about 30 users, 5 of them have mailboxes around 10Gb each
          ________
          OG KUSH
          Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:54.
          Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

          BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

            It isn't space that is the issue.
            Partitions will not help either.

            Exchange is a high transactional database. It is writing to two places at once.
            1U servers are not enough. I wouldn't dream of putting Exchange on to a 1U server unless it had external storage as well, you simply cannot get it run at any decent speed.

            70gb isn't that large, but the server will be under heavy load because it is thrashing itself.

            Simon.
            --
            Simon Butler
            Exchange MVP

            Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
            More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
            Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
            In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

            Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

              well, 1U is all I have
              and performance wasn't an issue before. but I do seem to experience DB corruption a lot as of late
              ________
              Ford Five Hundred
              Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:54.
              Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

              BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

                If performance wasn't an issue it will be very soon. The fact that you are seeing increasing levels of database corruption should be a concern. On the servers I have built and managed I haven't seen corruption for over three years, so it should not be considered something that naturally happens - despite what some third party software vendors might try and tell you. Corruption means something has gone wrong, or is not being configured correctly. If you are restoring to the same database files then you are not really fixing the corruption problem.

                At a minimum I would be considering creating a new mailbox store and then moving the mailboxes to that store, but anything you do with that server it is simply short term fixes. Long term the server is simply not suitable. I would compare it to taking a Ferrari to do the weekly food shop. It will do the job, but isn't really suitable for it.

                Simon.
                --
                Simon Butler
                Exchange MVP

                Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Dealing with a large message store in Exchange 2003

                  thanks for the input Simon

                  I will advise the customer, but all they have is 2 1U slots for the two servers and I really doubt that will change

                  the windows and exchange server have been running there for over 4 years now, we are considering a full reinstall, just to clear all the possible registry junk and start with a clean system
                  ________
                  Ferrari 312T
                  Last edited by DYasny; 6th March 2011, 18:54.
                  Real stupidity always beats Artificial Intelligence (c) Terry Pratchett

                  BA (BM), RHCE, MCSE, DCSE, Linux+, Network+

                  Comment

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