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Exchange 2003 on Windows 2003 DC

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  • Exchange 2003 on Windows 2003 DC

    I know it's not recommended to have the /3GB switch in the boot.ini file when Exchange is running on a DC, however, I want to get some advice on the following situation.

    Windows Server 2003 32-bit with 4 GB of RAM, 3.2GHz Xeon Quad Core, and lots of disk space on a RAID 5 and RAID 1 SAS volumes.

    The setup of the drives is a little screwed up.... OS and Exchange are on the RAID 5 volume. File shares are on the RAID1 volume. (the RAID1 I hear was added at a later point)

    It is experiencing slowness from time to time and of course the users are noticing. The memory usage peaks around 1.5 GB. During the times of slowness the processor usually around 0% - 5% but spikes sometimes to 20% or so. But the disk activity is through the roof. Disk transfers and queue length are high and the disk idle time drops to zero. But this is only on the RAID 5 volume.

    I moved the IS and transaction logs to the RAID1 volume. Still experience the slowness but looking at the disk activity both volumes have a lot of activity but the one with the store is worse. It seems to be performing slightly better but I'll still get complaints about the server being slow and I notice it too.

    So the question is, would using the /3GB and /USERVA switches improve the performance? Should I use them even though it's not recommended? Having 2.5 GB of unused RAM seems like a waste. There is another DC/GC on the network.
    Regards,
    Jeremy

    Network Consultant/Engineer
    Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
    www.gma-cpa.com

  • #2
    Re: Exchange 2003 on Windows 2003 DC

    Take out some RAM.

    I am serious. Cut it down to 2gb of RAM and you should find the machine is a lot happier.
    Run the Exchange best practises tool to see if that recommends anything else.

    However I would be looking to swing the data to another machine sooner rather than later, so that the original chassis can be rebuilt correctly. That will remove most of the performance issues from the Exchange side.

    Ultimately the server has been badly configured - what you are doing at the moment is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. You will never get decent performance out of that hardware configuration.

    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: Exchange 2003 on Windows 2003 DC

      Thanks Simon. I'll see if I can get into the client early some day to take out the RAM.

      We did quote them a new server that would be just for Exchange a month or so ago but so far they haven't said yes. If they're not going to get a dedicated Exchange box anytime soon I'm gonna see if they'll let me rebuild the current one.
      Regards,
      Jeremy

      Network Consultant/Engineer
      Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
      www.gma-cpa.com

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