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  • Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

    Hey All,

    we have an Exchange 2003 information store that is >200Gb (216Gb to be exact). After moving mailboxes over to a newly created IS, we found that Exchange didn't reclaim the space and effectively shrink the IS.

    From looking around at various sites/posts, we're going to have to do an offline defrag but this is going to take us down for ~36 hours.

    As we're a financial institution we can't have no mail coming in for that amount of time...

    does anybody have any suggestions as to how we could get this done while keeping the mailflow going?

    I was playing around with the idea of setting up a secondary exchange server and letting all the mail route there in the interim but then I'd have to get that new mail back on the main exchange server and merge it with the (hopefully) shrunken mailstore.

    I'm at a bit of a loss...ideas?

    TIA

  • #2
    Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

    How much reclaimed space are you expecting, Unless you really need the extra space I would not worry about it.
    If you insist you can check out Exchange Dial Tone.

    Some of the Exchange MVP surely will have more insight.
    "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

      Don't even bother with an offline defrag.
      36 hours? I doubt it. More like 40 at the quickest, possibly as high as 8 days. Offline defrag is hardware dependant and takes between 1 and 4gb per hour.

      As you have a 200gb store you must have Enterprise edition.
      Therefore I would suggest that you simply create a new storage group, move everything to that new storage group. Then drop the original store and restart the server. That forces the system mailboxes to recreate in the new store. The original database files can then be deleted.

      Zero downtime, zero risk.

      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


      • #4
        Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

        Lior_S: we have about 80Gb we would reclaim...the main objective would be to shrink the Exchange volume on the SAN to a more manageable size. once we get this all shrunk down, we can implement mailbox limits again to get our mailboxes under control.

        Sembee: That is a helluva good idea. I wasn't aware that this was an option for us. So once I move all the mailboxes into the new IS, dismount the old store and reboot the exchange box, I could effectively start with a fresh, optimized IS.

        would this work with the public folders as well? I would imagine that it would be the same process?

        George

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        • #5
          Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

          Public Folders is a lot more complicated, due to the fact that you can only have one public folder store per Storage group. Before looking at doing anything with public folders I would look to see how much white space you will gain. If it is less than 50% then I wouldn't bother.

          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


          • #6
            Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

            Originally posted by mostcuriousgeorge View Post
            Lior_S: we have about 80Gb we would reclaim...the main objective would be to shrink the Exchange volume on the SAN to a more manageable size. once we get this all shrunk down, we can implement mailbox limits again to get our mailboxes under control.
            Just to point out that Mailbox limits/sizes are not related at all to the physical size of the IS.
            "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

              Exchange never reclaims empty space automatically while the database is online (unless you move the IS as said).

              Just as a possible helpfull hint:

              You could spread your mailboxes over more than 1 store and then run an offline defrag by a scheduled job. Obviously you could run a defrag like on a saturday or sunday evening for just one store, next week the next... etc...

              We are doing this for many years now, in the past because space was a big issue. Seeing a 200GB store I could imagine it is an issue for you again.

              And as for performance... we take an hour and a half per 12 Gig store

              Hope this helps

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

                Originally posted by Hieron View Post

                We are doing this for many years now, in the past because space was a big issue. Seeing a 200GB store I could imagine it is an issue for you again.

                And as for performance... we take an hour and a half per 12 Gig store

                Hope this helps
                If you are still doing this you should buy bigger/more Hard Drives. Offline defrag is not part of normal maintenance....and makes backups an absolute nightmare if you do it that often.

                The OP did have a legit reason to consider an offline defrag, however Sembee () showed him a better way
                "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

                  Originally posted by Sembee View Post
                  Don't even bother with an offline defrag.

                  As you have a 200gb store you must have Enterprise edition.
                  Therefore I would suggest that you simply create a new storage group, move everything to that new storage group. Then drop the original store and restart the server. That forces the system mailboxes to recreate in the new store. The original database files can then be deleted.

                  Zero downtime, zero risk.

                  Simon.
                  Very helpful information. I have mutliple exchange servers and need to basically do what has been suggested in the quote. However, What happens when I have to create the store on Server2 and am moving the mailboxes from a store on Server1.? Thanks

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Offline Defrag on >200Gb IS

                    Originally posted by Acolyte View Post
                    Very helpful information. I have mutliple exchange servers and need to basically do what has been suggested in the quote. However, What happens when I have to create the store on Server2 and am moving the mailboxes from a store on Server1.? Thanks

                    What are you not clear on?
                    If you are going between servers then you are basically doing a swing migration. As long as the original server is still running when the users connect for the first time, then Outlook will redirect automatically.

                    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

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