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Store.exe memory usage

Posted on 2003-03-27
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
We are running Exchange Server 2000 (SP3) on Windows 2000 server.
After boot, store.exe uses about 15 MB of memory, after a while, this amount is increased to aboot 200MB, even though this server is NOT heavily loaded: 1 storage group, about 25 mailboxes with 10-15 users logged on.

Do we have a memory leakage or configuration problem, or is this behaviour normal?

Does anyone have any idea?

Thanks in advance,
Frank
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Question by:Frankvk
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by:David Wilhoit
ID: 8218861
Nope, completely normal. Exchange eats memory like a hog at a trough :) Unless you get down to less than about 20 MBs of physical memory, it'll run, albeit slow. You should be fine. Is anything breaking?

D
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by:dansoto
ID: 8219323
Yep normal....

As I recall from a TechNet event, with the advent of Exchange 5.5, Exchange uses Dynamic Buffer Allocation to manage memory usage.  Basically what this does is allow Exchange to balance the memory usage between it and other applications (or processes).  It will attempt to use (or reserve for it's own use) as much memory as possible unless needed by other applications.  When needed by a more important process, it will free up what's needed.

So yes, it is a hog, but one that gives back :-)

- dan -
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Author Comment

by:Frankvk
ID: 8220694
Thanks for your response guys. Is there nothing we can do about it, cause it sure slows down other processes on the server. We have 512 MB RAM and the server is almost continuously running at something like 700 MB.

Frank
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by:dansoto
ID: 8220949
Add more RAM.  Cheap and easy.
I, personally, wouldn't set up an Exchange server with anything lest than 1GB.
Keep in mind that because of DBA it may use even more RAM than before but there will be more left over for other processes.

- dan -
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by:David Wilhoit
ID: 8222134
What other services or software reside on this box? I have a Dc/GC at home, on a P3 533, with 512Mb RAM. It runs at about 410MB with no users logged on. Running W2K3 and E2K3.

D
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by:markmedici
ID: 8222351
There are reports of memory leaks with STORE.EXE (search microsoft's knowledgebase for details), but all of the published leaks are resolved by Exchange Service Pack 3.

It is normal for Exchange to allocate seemingly excessive amounts of memory.  According to Microsoft, STORE.EXE will attempt to allocate available memory up to a hard limit of 900MB for the store database cache.  There shouldn't be any reason to limit this process, unless you're doing other things with the server (such as with Small Business Server, for example, but SBS has different rules for memory allocation).  You can change the hard limit by editing the registry, (see http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;266768) but I wouldn't worry about it unless you're having a problem.
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by:Frankvk
ID: 8223445
The problem is that we're indeed running SBS2000 on this server. So Mark, could you elaborate a little bit on the 'different' memory allocation rules?

Thanks, Frank
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markmedici earned 300 total points
ID: 8227977
I really can't from personal experience, because I've never worked on SBS.  I read it somewhere, but darn if I can find it now.  

This link is indirectly referenced by Microsoft's SBS2000 FAQ in regards to Exchange STORE.EXE memory utilization:

http://www.smallbizserver.net/Exchange/Why_does_store.exe_takes_all_available_RAM.htm

Essentially, the article agrees with our comments: This is behavior by design.

Here is a link to a Microsoft Technet article on tuning Exchange Server 2000 (link may be wrapped):

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/exchange2000/maintain/optimize/exchtune.asp

I think the most important advice in the article is:

  "Finally, if your server is not exhibiting performance problems, be cautious in making performance-tuning adjustments."

In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

If you ARE having problems, I'd evaluate whether your server hardware is sufficient for the environment.  In particular, you say that STORE.EXE memory utilization grows to 200MB.  To me this implies that you have 384MB RAM in the server.  This is NOT enough RAM for SBS.  512MB is what I cosider the minimum for Exchange 2000, and Microsoft says about SBS2000:

  "People who have posted on the newsgroup have had good experiences running servers with approximately 1 GB of RAM."

(See http://www.microsoft.com/sbserver/community/sbs_faq.asp.)

Disk technology, configuration, and distribution of files can make huge differences in performance.  SCSI is better than IDE, RAID-1 is better than RAID-5, two disk channels are better than 1, four disks are better than two, separating logs and infostores on separate physical disks is better than combining them onto one.  All of these factors are cumulative.

So, IMHO, the concern shouldn't be that Exchange is consuming all available RAM, but rather do you have enough RAM in general.  Try sticking another 512MB RAM in the server and see if performance improves.
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