What effect do large mailboxes have on exchange server performance?

Posted on 2008-11-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-09-27
I'm trying to find some references, whether microsoft or third party, that can explain what effect large mailboxes (500MB+) have on the performance of the exchange server.  Does it only effect that one users performance or will it eventually cause all users to see a delay?  Does anyone have some suggestions on where I can find some information on this?
Question by:piattnd
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Expert Comment

by:Leon Teale
ID: 22878244
well for a starters....think about every time a user logs on and he opens outlook...he is effectivly pullingsdown his entire mailbox from the network...and if for example 100 users all loging on and ff pulling their entire mailbox from the system...just think of the network traffic...

so in other words yes it will effect the user primerily but can start effecting the network the larger it becomes...

my adivce is to archive old emails :)

Expert Comment

by:Leon Teale
ID: 22878259
Larger mailboxes and Microsoft Outlook performance: If not subjected to mailbox quotas, Exchange Server mailboxes can grow to any size. Mailboxes as large as a few GB are not rare, but do not result in performance problems or impact users' Microsoft Outlook experience. What does impact the user experience and causes higher RPC latency is a large number of items in frequently accessed folders like Inbox.

Reference: Microsoft Knowledge Base article 905803, Microsoft Outlook users experience poor performance when they work with a folder that contains many items on a server that is running Exchange Server 2003 or Exchange 2000 Server.
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Author Comment

ID: 22878263
So even if the client is not running in cached exchange mode, does it still pull all email down to the local machine similar to caching the mailbox temporarily, or does it just read from the server similar to what remote desktop protocol does?

Accepted Solution

Leon Teale earned 2000 total points
ID: 22878300
check this out:

Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 users and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 users experience poor performance when they work with a folder that contains many items on a server that is running Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, or Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server. Additionally, Outlook users may receive one of the following messages:
Requesting data from Microsoft Exchange Server
Outlook is retrieving data from the Microsoft Exchange Server ExchangeServerName
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This issue occurs when an Outlook user works with items in a folder that contains many items. Outlook must perform several operations against the Exchange server to retrieve the contents of a folder. Therefore, when there are many items in a folder, additional processing is required to respond to the Outlook requests.
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You can help avoid poor performance in Outlook by carefully managing the number of items in folders, especially the Outlook folders that are heavily used. These folders include the Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, and Sent Items folders and any other heavily used folders.

The recommended number of items in a folder depends on several factors. These factors include the client's proximity to the server, the storage infrastructure, the load on the hard disks, the number of users, and the number of restricted views.

We recommend that you maintain a range of 3,500 to 5,000 items in a folder depending on the capacity of the Exchange Server environment. Additionally, you can create more top-level folders or create sub-folders underneath the Inbox and Sent Items folders. When you do this, the costs that are associated with index creation will be greatly reduced if the number of items in any one folder does not exceed 5,000.
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Author Closing Comment

ID: 31513171
Awesome, thank you so much for the fast response!  Looks like I'll have a bunch of work on my hands.....

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