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Exchange mailbox database 6.5gb but edb file 10gb, increasing rapidly

Posted on 2006-07-19
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I currently have Exchange 2003 setup on a server and all has been well for quite some time.  Recently we moved premises and since then things seem to have started to go wrong.

We had to change our MX records for our emails which in turn stopped our IPAQ working as the OMA cert needed changing, I dont know if mentioning this will be of some use later.

I have monitoring software that alerts me to the size of both the priv1.ebd and priv1.stm database files.  3 days ago it reached 14gb combined so I quickly checked the mailboxes for each user.  The total for all the mailboxes only came to around 8gb and I couldnt work out why the edb file was growing at such an alarming rate when the mailboxes wasnt.

I have now archived around 2gb of emails from various users mailboxes but the edb file still shows 10gb+.  Reading a few articles told me to run a customised backup using system manager which writes an event and backs up the database.  No events were logged and the database stayed the same.

So investigating further seems I have to do an offline defrag using eseutil which I will perform tonight.

My questions are:

1) Will this reduce the size of the edb file?
2) Why is the edb file a lot larger in size than the total of the mainboxes and public folders?
3) Why is the edb file growing at such an alarming rate


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Question by:MaherLimited
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Expert Comment

by:arshana
ID: 17137837
1. Yes defrag will reduce the size.
2. Please check for users who are not active or have left the organization.
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Author Comment

by:MaherLimited
ID: 17137851
With regards to old users, I have purged 3 that were inactive but would like an explination as to why they exist when there profiles are deleted from AD.

Thanks fro the quick reply.
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Author Comment

by:MaherLimited
ID: 17138111
My main concern is the rate at which the edb file is growing.
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17141316
As for the offline defrag... what does event ID 1221 say? That will show you how much data you will get back from the offline defrag. If it says something like 5mb, then there is little point in doing it.

There can be any number of reasons for database growth.
The database could be corrupt. There could be an email loop in one of the mailboxes etc.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:MaherLimited
ID: 17144163
How can you determine if the database is corrupt?  If there was a loop with an email in the mailbox, wouldnt this reflect on the size?
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by:MaherLimited
ID: 17165855
The .edb file hasnt grown for the past week now so the ckleanup seems to have done the trick.  The problem is that its nearly 10.5gb in size and the .stm file is still growing and is now 4.1gb.

I believe that the stm is the html email side of exchange, how can I reduce what is in this to stop us having problems with teh 15gb limit exchange puts on the database?
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17167244
The limit WAS 16gb.
However you have put in to your original question that you are using Exchange 2003. SP2 for Exchange 2003 increased the limit to 18gb by default, which can be increased up to 75gb via a registry change which is in the help file.

What does event ID 1221 say? As the database growth has stopped, Exchange is probably using the white space. If one of the two databases continutes to grow, then that database probably doesn't have any white space in it.

Simon.
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by:MaherLimited
ID: 17167398
Event Type:      Information
Event Source:      MSExchangeIS Mailbox Store
Event Category:      General
Event ID:      1216
Date:            19/07/2006
Time:            12:20:32
User:            N/A
Computer:      EXCHANGESERVER
Description:
The Exchange store 'First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (EXCHANGESERVER)' is limited to 18 GB. The current physical size of this database (the .edb file and the .stm file) is 12 GB. If the physical size of this database minus its logical free space exceeds the limit of 18 GB, the database will be dismounted on a regular basis.

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

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
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Author Comment

by:MaherLimited
ID: 17167405
Event Type:      Information
Event Source:      MSExchangeIS Public Store
Event Category:      General
Event ID:      1221
Date:            24/07/2006
Time:            04:00:00
User:            N/A
Computer:      EXCHANGESERVER
Description:
The database "First Storage Group\Public Folder Store (EXCHANGESERVER)" has 77 megabytes of free space after online defragmentation has terminated.

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

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17167436
That is the event ID for public folder store. You should have another one for your private store.

The first error means that the default setting of 18gb is in place. You need to make the registry change to get a higher database limit.

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Explaining-Database-size-limit-changes-Exchange-2003-Service-Pack-2.html

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:MaherLimited
ID: 17167882
Event Type:      Information
Event Source:      MSExchangeIS Mailbox Store
Event Category:      General
Event ID:      1221
Date:            24/07/2006
Time:            01:47:15
User:            N/A
Computer:      EXCHANGESERVER
Description:
The database "First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (EXCHANGESERVER)" has 192 megabytes of free space after online defragmentation has terminated.

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

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17177659
192mb is peanuts. If you had 1000mb (ie 1gb) then I would recommend further action. You will use that space very quickly.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:MaherLimited
ID: 17182084
Is 192mb the amount of freespace within the edb file?  The edb file is 10.5gb in size but due to us removing over 2gb worth of users emails from their mailboxes I was wondering if this is now free space within the edb?

I am still wanting to know what can be done to reduce the size of the stm file though as this is still increasing in size.  At the rate it is increasing I can foresee us hitting the 18gb limit within a few weeks.

If someone can give me a definitive answer as to how to reduce the stm & the edb files they will be awarded the points if it works.
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 17183249
192mb is the amount of whitespace in the database. Unfortunately you cannot tell which file it is in.
That is also the amount of space that you would gain if you carried out an offline defrag.
Offline defrags have been covered many many times, but unless you are going to gain significant amounts of space, then I don't see the point.

Offline defrags are not recommended by Microsoft as regular maintenance and I only do them for two reasons...

1. The Exchange server has hit the limit (75gb on Exchange 2003, 16gb on older versions).
2. I am going to gain at least 50% of the space back and there is no possibility of that space ever being used. Usual scenario for that is when a large number of staff have been laid off, or poor management of the Exchange server means that there are more ex-staff mailboxes than live ones.

Otherwise I cannot justify the downtime.
An offline defrag means exactly that - it is offline. Depending on the speed of the drives and the hardware, an offline defrag will go along at between 1 and 4gb an hour. So if you are defragging a 16gb database it could take anything from 4 to 16 hours - during which the Exchange server is not available.

If you remove 2gb of email from the mailboxes, then you should see the amount of freespace (whitespace) increase next time the online defrag process completes and writes the error to event ID 1221.

Even if you hit the 18gb limit, just make the change to the registry to increase the database limit to a higher number. You can go up to 75gb on Exchange 2003 Sp2.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:MaherLimited
ID: 17184663
Sorry, we dont have sp2, so the 16gb limit applies.

The thing I can not understand is how, when users have deleted over 6gb of data, is there only 192mb of whitespace?? The edb file currently weighs in at 10.5gb, if I export the mailboxes and add them up they come to around 3.8gb, so whats happened to the 6.7gb of whitespace?

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Accepted Solution

by:
Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 17185542
The message that you have posted above is an Exchange 2003 SP2 message. There was nothing like that in previous versions. With previous versions of exchange you were had a 16gb limit or a hack to get 17gb. No 18gb limit.

If you don't have Service Pack 2 for Exchange installed, then I would strongly suggest that you install it at the first opportunity. It has been released for almost 12 months and is considered rock solid. Unless you have a vendor who will not support that service pack there is no reason not to have it installed on the machine. Remember to update any machines with the System Tools installed as well.

Database mismatch between mailbox count and the size of the store isn't uncommon. The question is posted on this site at least once or twice a month.

You could be looking at a corrupt database. That will require some downtime to fix as you have to look at the database when Exchange isn't running.
This article at Microsoft covers the main points with checking the database, including the command to test the database.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=313184

Make sure that you have a copy of the files before you start work on them. So shutdown the Exchange services, copy the files to another server DO NOT START EXCHANGE, do the work then see if the database will mount. If they fail, then revert to the backup copies.

If you aren't sure, then do not do it. Instead call Microsoft and get them to sit you through it. The fee you need to pay Microsoft is nothing compared to the potential downtime of the server.

Simon.
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