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New Exchange 2003 install keeps creating free (fragmented) space

Posted on 2004-09-13
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
We have recently moved away from POP3 mail to our own Echange 2003 Sever. I built the server about 3 weeks ago. It is using 2 80 gig disks on a Promise IDE controller in a mirrored array. The install went well. I then installed Outlook 2003 on all PC's

To roll this out slowly, I setup Outlook on all PC's to use the respective mailboxes on the exchange server and also added a POP3 account to their profiles to continue to download their mail from our ISP's POP3 server. So the situation was this: my MX record still pointed to our ISP's mail server, and my users PC's were downloading their mail to their Exchange mailboxs by using Outlook.
One other note, I installed Trend Client/Server/Messaging Suite for SMB on the Exchange Server. This includes eManager Spam filtering.

Everything was running well, my edb file was about 12gig and my nightly online defrags were reporting about 2 Meg of free space.

Then, last weekend I changed my MX record to point ot my Exchange server and I started receiving mail right away. All was good, and it seemd t work well. The users came in Tuesday morning, and things were working.

I then noticed that the nightly online defrags were reportin huge amonts of free space (about 2 gig) in the priv1.edb file. So, I did an offline defrag and saw the EDB file shrink by about 2 gig! This was good. I then noticed the next day that the free space was back to 1800 MB of free space????

The only things that changed since the 2 meg of free space reports are that my Exchange server is handling SPAM and it is managing the incoming mail.

Any body have any idea's

Thanks,

KB
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Question by:kbartlett
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by:ChrisDent
ID: 12044734

The shrinking and regrowth of the file following offline defragmentation is normal.

The only time you'd notice a real difference (in my experience) is directly following moving a large number of users onto the Exchange system.
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by:kbartlett
ID: 12045012
I imported almost all of the PST's a week before changing my MX record. The nightly online defags were fine until about 2 days after I pointed the MX record to the Exchange server, then all of a sudden, lots of "free" space. I did an offline defag but the free space was back 2 days later.
As I said before, for about a week, my users were on the server, using their mailboxes, but the mail was being downloaded from my ISP's POP3 server by my users Outlook.  When I moved away from this proces, the problems started.
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by:ChrisDent
ID: 12045358

What problems are you getting with the system (aside from changing information store sizes)?

It's normal that, after heavy use, the online defrag will clear up quite a bit of space.
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Author Comment

by:kbartlett
ID: 12045387
There are no other problems at the moment. I am just concerned about the amount of free space, how it got there, how to get rid of it and how it may affect performance.

Thanks very much for your help by the way. :-)
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by:ChrisDent
ID: 12045512

It's worth keeping a close eye on it, but due to the nature of the extensible databases they do fluctuate in size rather a lot with heavy use.

Just so long as your disks don't run out of space :)
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Author Comment

by:kbartlett
ID: 12046202
I understand, but I would not say that this database is seeing heavy use. There are only 40 users and just not alot of mail moving arorund.
I have never seen that much free space survive an offline defrag.
Incidently, when I did the offline defrag the other night, the next online defrag stopped with an error:
Event Source:      ESE
Event Category:      Online Defragmentation
Event ID:      705
Date:            9/10/2004
Time:            1:51:09 AM
User:            N/A
Computer:      EXSVR1
Description:
Information Store (4176) First Storage Group: Online defragmentation of database 'C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb' terminated prematurely after encountering unexpected error -1014. The next time online defragmentation is started on this database, it will resume from the point of interruption.

For more information, click http://www.microsoft.com/contentredirect.asp.

The next night the online defrag worked fine and reported 1787MB of free space.

Now,,,,,,, I've noticed that there were 2 times when a "cleanup of items past retention" happened on the same nights that therewas a lot of free space reported.

This is the event that I saw the night that Exchange reported 1787MB free:

  Event Type:      Information
Event Source:      MSExchangeIS Mailbox Store
Event Category:      General
Event ID:      1207
Date:            9/10/2004
Time:            1:02:02 AM
User:            N/A
Computer:      EXSVR1
Description:
Cleanup of items past retention date for Item Recovery is complete for database "First Storage Group\XXXPOINT (EXSVR1)".
 Start: 27415 items; 2226340 Kbytes
End: 18620 items; 658750 Kbytes

For more information, click http://www.microsoft.com/contentredirect.asp.

Do you think that the difference in Kbytes could be the free space that was created?

Thanks,

KB
         
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Accepted Solution

by:
Sembee earned 400 total points
ID: 12047101
Did you import a lot of deleted items?
Have the users deleted lots of things from the db?
What time limit have you got "Deleted Items Retension" set to.

Two things I think it could be.

1. Lots of mailbox activity going on.
2. Lots of email activity going on.

You might have to turn up logging to see which it is.

Simon.
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