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Exchange 2000 mdbdata is large and growing

Posted on 2007-04-11
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I'm picking up from trying to research this and it's probably somewhat similar to Q_20496976.

I am responsible for a few Exchange servers. I don't have a lot of experience behind me, but I'm working on the education. Two of these Exchange servers (one of them I set up, an Ex2003) that is, two of them do not have this problem where the MDBDATA builds up, however there is one, an Exchange 2000 that has this issue. It was set up a couple years ago, so I haven't been looking for the problem, until it became a big problem... MDBDATA is 55 GBs!  The server stopped. I cleared some space and got it started again, but this needs to be solved.
-  I know how to set up exceptions for the Antivirus, so it's not that it's scanning the Exchange folders. I actually set that up.
-  it's not relaying, because I've tested it... unless there's some authorized account being used for relaying. I don't think it's likely.

    We don't make a daily backup of this server. It doesn't actually have the performance for that. We just have everything archive (from the Outlook clients) to an archive folder on a server that is powerful enough to back it up. (Weird, but it works for us. There are so many ways to backup Exchange. The other ones are done differently. But whatever.)  Anyway, I'm wondering about the comments made by other people in this other question i mentioned above, in this case.
Here's where I need more education, I guess...

If there is no daily backup, does this cause the MDBDATA to grow? (There is a daily backup on the other Ex2k server, and MDBDATA does not grow, however, the Ex2k3 server also does not have a daily backup, and it's MDBDATA does not grow. So, I don't see the correlation.) So, I'm trying to nail down why this Ex2k server's MDBDATA is growing so fast.

So, the other options that they mentioned were:
- zero out database pages/ enabling circular logging - I don't understand this well, but we're not doing backups the traditional way anyway. Can anyone comment on that? Is this just because e-mail tracking is on?
Anyway, in the end, I need a way to control these growing files and I would appreciate help in understanding this. I'm certainly not going to head in there and start deleting things. What I really need to understand is if I turn off this mail tracking or solve some other issue, can I delete the text-based files in the MDBDATA, or can the system do that for me?
I need some answer soon as we're approaching 1 GB left, so I'd sure appreciate it. Thanks for helping a guy out whose trying to be successful at this.
Let me know if you need more info.
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Question by:gs-rho
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by:rakeshmiglani
rakeshmiglani earned 400 total points
ID: 18888578
what is in that MDBDATA folder? just the databases or exchange logs as well?

if the logs are also present then check the size of exchange databases. when the database is backed up it purges the log files
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by:amaheshwari
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by:gs-rho
ID: 18888651
In the MDBDATA folder are database and logs.
priv1.edb  5.5 GB, priv1.stm   1 GB
There rest is 50 GBs of .log files.
But we don't do backups on this server, because it can't handle anymore than it's doing. The Ex2k3 server is not doing backups, and it's not building up logs like this. I understand Exch2k3 better than 2000. I'm not sure what the difference is here. Any comments? Do you think if we just did an Exchange-integrated ntbackup, it would take care of this? Any other way?

Although I appreciate the suggestion, I am skeptical that I just need to do a defrag because the other 2 exchange servers have not seen offline defrags in the same amount of time, I believe, and they are not having this problem. We don't have the disk space left for this anyway.

I do need to understand better the difference between the 2 systems.
Thanks so far, people.
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redseatechnologies earned 1600 total points
ID: 18888663
You do NOT need to defrag the databases.

Those 50GBs of log files are the transaction logs - they are normally flushed when a full backup is done.

Do a one time full backup of the exchange informations store to a network drive using ntbackup, and that 50gb should be deleted automatically - DONT delete it yourself.

-red
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by:rakeshmiglani
ID: 18888670
a defrag is not required here as the databases are only 6.5 Gb in size.
if you have mailboxes on this server then the databases should be backed up
you can use ntbackup to backup exchange to a file or a tape
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by:rakeshmiglani
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by:gs-rho
ID: 18889849
Thanks. With our other Exchange server, we back up, by using Exmerge to create pst files, and then they go to tape. (It's been great for retrieving mail, this way.) I don't even know why this EX2k server doesn't have the same problem. Any guesses? Perhaps a former administrator set it not to track logs in the same way? What should I look for there, so perhaps I can do the same thing here?

I've seen this backup method before, but never really used it. Is there KB that anyone knows of that advises how to use ntbackup to do this backup that will clear the transaction logs?
I sure appreciate your time, everyone.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18889878
That is not a backup, or at least Exchange does not consider that a backup.

If you have a machine that is not exhibiting this, I would assume that it is either backing up properly, not receiving a lot of mail, or more likely, has circular logging enabled.

As for a backup, just open ntbackup, choose the exchange information store (it is as the bottom, easy to see) and then choose a place to save the backup file.

-red
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by:gs-rho
ID: 18890035
I know that it's not really a backup, but it works very well for us. (Exchange has so many choices in this area.)

I would have to take the choice of it not having circular logging... unless I haven't noticed that ntbackup is being activated nightly, in the way we are discussing now. I am taking on new responsibility here, so I will be looking into these things.

I am familiar with that. Thanks for the confirmation.
Is this going to backup up  the priv.* databases or the logs, though? I'm trying to get an idea of time and disk space. 6 GB or 50 GB, that makes quite a difference. Sorry I'm so green, but I gotta ask.

Rakeshmiglani, looks like good info in that KB. And it talks about circular logging too. That's great. Thanks.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18894181
Backing up the information store doesn't actually backup the .edb files per-se, it backs up the whole database as it is running.

As we are talking about Exchange 2000, the way you are doing backups is something I would be doing in addition to a full backup of the information store.

-red
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by:gs-rho
ID: 18895477
Ran an Exchange ntbackup... and ran into a problem. I am backing up to a new drive that has 80 GB of space. But after ntbackup ran for a little while it stopped... and reported:

"The fixed media is full. You cannot back up all the specified data to this disk device. The backup operation will stop."

I looked at the location where the backup was pointed to and the .bks file is exacty 4 GB. Has it hit some kind of 4 GB limit?  Help is so appreciated right now ;-)

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by:gs-rho
ID: 18895498
A couple other important matters here...
After this backup is complete, will it delete the log files in MDBDATA or do I have to enable zero out deleted database files?
If I enable circular logging and zero out database files will I be able to run this kind of backup again or does it turn this backup into an incremental thing. I would just like to run normal backups each time and replace the old backup.
Should i only enable circular logging and zero out the database AFTER I've run this first backup?

Thanks a ton in advance.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18895532
>>After this backup is complete, will it delete the log files in MDBDATA or do I have to enable zero out deleted database files?

Yes.

>>If I enable circular logging and zero out database files will I be able to run this kind of backup again or does it turn this backup into an incremental thing.

Yes, you will be able to run this backup again - but circular logging is not recommended, nor are incremental backups.

>>Should i only enable circular logging and zero out the database AFTER I've run this first backup?

That is the catch though, once you run this backup you should not need to enable circular logging.

-red
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18895539
Oh, and as to the first Q - is that 80GB drive FAT32 perhaps?

that would explain the 4GB file limit.
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by:gs-rho
ID: 18895566
Yeah, Gosh!!  I shoulda had that one! It is FAT32. It's a storage drive out of the box and it's still FAT32.
I can of course reformat it as NTFS.
Ya' know I'm still sitting here with the "fixed media is full error". I would appreciate your experience on this... will I be okay just to stop that backup and run the Exchange backup again? Or is it gonna be in the process of deleting log files and such?
(Hopefully, this is the last question... almost there.)  thanks!
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by:gs-rho
ID: 18895568
And thanks for your time on the circular logging question.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18895582
No worries, yes, you can just cancel that backup and try it again once you format the drive - no logs are deleted until the end.

-red
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by:gs-rho
ID: 18895598
Cool. Already doing it. :-)   Figured I had no choice anway.
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by:gs-rho
ID: 18896239
It's alll good!  50GB free space - nuff said!
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 18896295
Excellent, glad it is working for you.
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