How do I reduce my Exchange Server 2003 mail store limit, 75GB exceeded

Our Exchange mail server dismounts. We get the following warning in the event logs:

Event Type:   Warning
Event Source: MSExchangeIS Mailbox Store
Event Category:       General
Event ID:       9685
Date:            22/02/2009
Time:            11:18:38
User:            N/A

Exchange store 'First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (Server)': The current physical size of this database (the .edb file and the .stm file) is 80 GB. This database has exceeded the size limit of 75 GB. However, the logical free space in this database has not yet been evaluated. Therefore, it is possible that this database contains enough free space to bring its logical size below the maximum size limit.

If the logical database size exceeds the maximum size limit, it will be dismounted on a regular basis.

We're already using the registry tweak to se the database limit to 75GB. However, we need to work out a way to reduce the mail store further. The current physical is as follows:

priv1.ebd = 64GB
priv1.stm = 20GB
pub1.ebd = 3.3GB
pub1.stm = 2.6GB

We would really appreciate your help in finding a solution to reduce the space being used up by the database.

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MesthaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
How much white space have you got in the store?
Look for event ID 1221.
You shouldn't need to run an offline defrag because the 75gb limit is logical, not physical. As long as you have white space to keep you below the limit you will be fine.
However the fact that it cannot measure the logical limit would tend to indicate that perhaps the overnight maintenance isn't completing correctly.

The general rule with offline defrag is usually between 1 and 4gb per hour. Microsoft's 9gb limit is always over optimistic.

If you can't afford the downtime then stand up a trial version of Windows and Exchange and move the data to another machine for a short period until you can migrate to Exchange 2007. Standard or Enterprise of Exchange 2007 feature unlimited database store size.

fredbfrugleConnect With a Mentor Commented:
short term fix is to do an offline defrag of the store using ESEUTIL
make sure you have at least twice the store size of free space before performing this
Long term, you will need to set storage limits either on the store or per mailbox, and have the users do some house cleaning.
If 75GB is not enough space for the ORG to operate in, then a move to Enterpirse Version would be next (also a good time to look into Exchange 2007)
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fredbfrugleConnect With a Mentor Commented:
a couple of other notes:
"9 GB per hour is the speed at which the Eseutil utility runs. This number is only for reference. The exact number depends on your hardware and production environment. "
Also make sure that you either temprarily turn off and realtime AV software, or exclude the ESEUTIL process and the temprorary diretories that it will be working in.
mbavisiAuthor Commented:
Thanks for that Jim.

We will be moving to Exchange 2007 Enterprise in a couple of weeks. We current have 184GB spare disk space and we were considering doing an offline defrag as you've suggested. However we've never performed this before and we weren't sure of the best option, e.g.:

By default, the Eseutil /d command defragments a database by creating a new database, copying the old database records to the new one, and discarding any unused database pages. This creates a newly organized compact database file


The /d /p option can also significantly reduce the time that is required to defragment large databases because you do not copy the defragmented database from the temporary location and overwrite the original fragmented file. However, if you want to mount the defragmented database after you use this option, you must manually move the defragmented .edb and .stm files into the database path and rename them to the correct database file names.

As we have not performed this before we were looking for guidence. We may not have enough time to do this as it take 9GB per hours, so a total of about 10hrs.


I have not personally used the /P switch, so, based on what i am seeing, it may help reduce your defrag time, once all is well, and the store mounts again, after a few days you should be able to clean up the temporary EDB files.
the /D process takes a LONG time, good luck, and be patient
mbavisiAuthor Commented:

In your experiance how long would you say it will take for our store? We have a powerful server.

2x Dual Core Xeon
4Gb Mem

Currently the store is mounted and runing ok and as we are a 24/7 organisation I don't fancy taking it offline untill the next weekend when I have made provisions.

fredbfrugleConnect With a Mentor Commented:
if it's up and online, then take a look at some of your biggest mailboxes in the exchange manager, and have them do some house cleaning
you could (depending on your org's archival rules) setup the mailbox manager to do some house cleaning storewide, when we were on 2003 i set up some pretty strick rules
deleted items - 90 days
calendar - 12 months
sent items - 24 months
these are pretty strict, but i had to whip my users into place, do to a lack of budget and disk space.
once you have a little head room, the online defrag that happens every night by default will allow you to schedule this at a more opportune time.
I believe that if you leave the MTA /Routing /SMTP all running while the store is offline, the inbound messages will just knock at the door and flood in when the store comes back online.  (although no users will be able to access the mailbox during this time)
to answer your question, my expericene has been 50gb /6 hours
mbavisiAuthor Commented:

Looking at the logs, it is saying we have 221MB of whitespace on the Mailstore. Which I feel is low, going back few months it was 7Gb.

Do you have any feedback on this?


MesthaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Is that a recent event log (ie last night) ?

If so then it is perfectly possible to have a white space amount of that size. if it was 7gb a few months ago then Exchange has used that space up.
Thing is, that is all you would gain from an offline defrag. You need to look at your deleted item retention time. If that is quite high then you may not be actually gaining much space at all, particularly if the users have only just started removing content.

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