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Exchange 2003 - Store disk activity

Posted on 2004-04-06
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I have a Server 2003 (Enterprise) running Exchange 2003 (Standard) that is having disk utilization issues, basically my drives containg the stores are running 100% utilization.  This server has been up and running for 4 months without issue, the utilization problem began last week, no changes have been made to the server prior to the problem.

Logical Drive 0 is a mirrored set with 2 partions:
C: OS - Only
D: Applications, Exchange and Log files

Logical Drive 1 is a Raid 5 set with 3 active and 1 spare drive:
E: Exchange Store's - currently only two, private and public (less then 8gb total)

Exchange has been configured to run RPC over http.  Server is running, IIS (OWA), Exchange, DNS, AD.  Since I am running RPC over HTTP, the server has also been configured as a GC, it is not the only GC in my domain.  I have roughly 75 users on the exchange box, the majority of these user are using POP, maybe 10 of them are exchange clients with 3 running the RPC over HTTP using Outlook 2003.

The server did have GFI Mail Security running on it - this was removed in troubleshooting this problem.
The server was running Symantec Anti-Virus - this was removed in troubleshooting this problem.
Nothing else is running on the server.
Hardware wise it a Compaq ML350, Dual 2.2ghz with hyperthreading, 2gb ram, hardware based Raid.

Since the problem has occured, I have removed Symantec, Defraged the store, removed GFI - none of this has helped.  My queues do not appear to be backing up.  I am having issues with POP clients timing out, exchange clients receiving messages that the server is unavailable, my RPC Averaged Latency appears to be high (currently 62), my disk queue is outragious.

I'm sure I am missing the obvious however I'm at a loss - any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:DavidOrr36
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Author Comment

by:DavidOrr36
ID: 10771459
Ran a repair on the DB this evening using eseutil /p option, no change in behaviour.  One thing I did not mention earlier CPU utilization is less then 25% while the disk utilization is 100%
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Expert Comment

by:What90
ID: 10772336
The log files aren't running in cirular mode are they?

The other thought is may be a hardware problem - have you checked that your RAID card/drives are okay - look at insight manager console for details or the event log of the compaq system events.
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Expert Comment

by:netoptech
ID: 10808993
Couple of things to look at,
 you need to determine what service is causing your utilization problem, try the following
stopping pausing SMTP, WWW, and FTP to see if that makes any difference, if you get nowhere there
try shutting down the system attendant (This will shutdown MS Exchange so plan your downtime)to see if the runaway process is Not MS Exchange related.
Also where is the pagefile located on your system? MS recommends the pagefile on the RAID 5 partition in this type of setup.
Since you indicated that the problem has recently started, i would look to see if there were any updates applied when the problem started. (This is why I hate automatic Windows Updates on production servers)
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Author Comment

by:DavidOrr36
ID: 10810044
What90, no the Log files are not running in circular mode.  Checked all the hardware, even flashed the bios and Firmware on the RAID controller, everything checks out okay.

Netoptech,  previously went through your recommendation of shutting down all process, the Store was the culprit, disk ran at 100% until store was shutdown.  Pagefile is sitting on the mirrored set, i.e. not on the RAID 5 set.  I also do not believe in Automatic Updates on Servers, therefore this was not a factor.

After running the DB Repair the other night the system still ran with 100% disk usage, however after the backup ran later that evening the Disk usage returned to normal, less than 5% average.  Not sure what the problem ended up being, however at the moment it appears to have resolved itself.

Thanks for your help.
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Expert Comment

by:What90
ID: 10810110
Last though - was anyone running performance monitor on the phyiscal disk disks (The old -Y switch) that used to cause a lot of thrashing.

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Author Comment

by:DavidOrr36
ID: 10810186
I believe, could be wrong, that it is enabled by default on Win2003 Server.  With that said the answer would be yes it is enabled, however the only time performance monitor is running on the box is when we are physically logged into it troubleshooting.
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Expert Comment

by:netoptech
ID: 10810371
Glad to hear that your issue has resolved itself, I've been running Exchange 03 for the last few months, I like the feature sets available such as RPC over Http, and Exchange 03 also has better features to support PDA's and the like, but I suspect the next "Service Pack" will address issues such as yours. Out of curiousity what backup solution are you using?
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Author Comment

by:DavidOrr36
ID: 10810401
Was using Veritas Backup Exec, until continual hardware problems in three different locations using the same autoloader has forced us to re-evaulate our backup solution.  The current solution on the excahnge server is NT Backup writing to a file.
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