Splitting Exchange Message Store

I currently have a 26Gb exchange message store. This is holding the data for 210 user accounts across 8 different departments in the company. I need to split this into 8 different message stores, that being one message store per department. The reson for this is to limit the time spent restoring data, data loss, and downtime in the case of databse corruption or any other problems which may occur.

What is the best way of doing this? I beleive there are programs which can be used for splitting the database. Which of these is the best to use, and do I need to copy the database to another location and then split it, stop the exchange service and do it, or can I do it while the service is running, having it copy out the sections required?

Further to this, how many databases can Exchange 2003 run at one time. Will I be ok to run 8 seperate database files for exchange, and kwill this slow the server down?


Thanks
Chris
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unitedmpAsked:
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munichpostmanCommented:
Simply create four more storage groups (you can have a maximum of five) then create databases in each of the groups. You can then use the move mailbox command to move the mailboxes to the different databases/storage groups. You can even schedule the move mailbox command to take place late at night or over the weekend. My advice though is to monitor the mailbox moves as my personal experience with maibox moves has shown that Exchange seems to have trouble movin mailboxes of 1gig size or more. (Yes I know that we shouldn't have mailboxes that large)
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thomyeCommented:
haha, peanuts.  i had a 80GB Store which i put into 4 groups 4 stores in each.  i didn't have any issues with large mailboxes (2GB was the biggest) but remember one thing, moving the mailboses won't shrink your IS.  it will still be 26GB's plus the size of all the messages you move out.  Poor planning can result in doubleing your disk space usage.  In order to shrink it, you have to DEFRAG it.  

Also, depending on your free space, remember that transaction logs will be created moving data.  Example, if you have a 20GB store and 20GB of free space, you can only initially molve 9 to 10 GB.  there will be transaction logs created equal to or greater than the size of the mailboxes you are moving.  Hopefully, your logs are on a different drive.  You proabably already know this but to get rid of the logs, you have to do a full backup of the storage group.  This will commit them.

My recommendation if free space is an issue, creaet your groups, create maybe 2 stores in each.  move deparments to all other groups first.  Do not move any mailboxes to a second IS into your orginal group (the one where the 26GB IS sits).  Reason, when you commit the logs, you'll be waiting on the backups, takes too long.  With an 80GB store like mine, it hours.  :(  Good luck.  
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thomyeCommented:
by the way, if there is actually a tool that can just split an IS without the headaches, i'd definately want to know about them.  I've been out of the loop a bit.  my exchange admin quit and bascially left me with thqat 80GB store.  
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munichpostmanCommented:
nonte that I am aware of.
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unitedmpAuthor Commented:
I'm not overly worried about space issues at this stage as there is plenty of free space on the disk.

I have not had a great deal of exposure to exchange previously.

Where would I be bable to find documentation on the proccess of seperating the database into groups and stores?


Thanks
Chris
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