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problem with Virtual Server and Exchange 2003

Posted on 2009-02-24
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I have a Virtual Host machine ( Server 2003) and it is running a virtual Exchange 2003 instance.  Yesterday, I found that the log files ( e00.*) went back to July, when I first brought it up.   We do not host our own mail, we simply use Exchange to use the sharing features of Outlook, and I route outgoing email out to a smart host.  POP3 mail is delivered via a 3rd party POP connector.  works like a charm.

However, When I spec'd the virtual server, I specified 100G of HD space to the virtual machine, and my virtual machine is sitting at 72 GB.  I have been on the users to clean up thier mailboxes, which they have been doing, but I found last night that there was 40 GB or so in the log files ( e00*.*).  I do not do any backups of exchange to this point, I have been  simply bringing down the virtual guest, and backing up the virtual server files... this also worked like a charm.  So last night I whacked all of the e00 files that were older than a month old,  I have done a integrity check  ( /g) and a defrag ( /d ) with eseutil, and my mdbdata folder is now 20G which is good....but my .vhd file is still saying 80 GB on the virtual host box....

How can I shrink that back down to a manageable size ?

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Question by:Compuzed
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by:Syedm2
ID: 23723772
Take a fullbackup
run offline defrag
run isinteg thrice.
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by:Compuzed
ID: 23723825
this is exactly what I did......I did integ, did defrag, did backup......then i found the eoo files late last night and deleted a good portion of them.....then I did an integ and defrag of exchange again this am, and did another backup...... The log files are now gone EXCEPT the ones past the backup time, which is what is supposed to happen; but I am not seeing a drop in the vitual machine size ( 80GB)....

hmmm..........
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by:Syedm2
ID: 23723876
But is it the database & log files which is causing the disk space issue or did u notice something else as well??
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by:Compuzed
ID: 23723924
When I go to the virtual machine itself ( C: ----> properties) it is total space of 99.9 GB; of which it reports 84.6 %  free now, after I have done all the maintenance.  However, when i look at the size of the vhd file on the host; it is still reporting 72 GB or thereabouts.....

Maybe I should do a HD defrag on the virtual computer?  
Should I dismount the store before I do that, or leave it running?
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by:za_mkh
ID: 23727536
You can defrag from within the VM i.e. on your Exchange Server, It would be best if Exchange was offline when you did this - it woudl be quicker.
 
The other thing you can do since you backup the full VM everyday is to enable Circular logging on your Information Store (set this using System Manager) .This will ensure that those e00 log files get reused. Exchange will normally then only create about 5-10 of those 5Mb files! You will need to restart the Exchange services for this to take effect.
 
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by:Compuzed
ID: 23741550
OK.  I have gone thru the process twice now; and used both "eraser"; a freeware tool, and also have tried the vhdmount program from microsoft, then did a "precompact" session with their tool, and then gone back to the virtual admin web site, inspected the disk, and told it to compact.  After it spends 8 hours compacting the 80GB vhd file, I look back at the vhd thru explorer, and it is still 80 GB.  
Can somebody help me out here?  I have tried running all the tools everywhich way from sunday, and they seem to work, but it is just the final step that seems to be wonky....

The space in use should only be about 15 GB......  The one thing I have not yet tried is deleting the swap file, but I dont think that is the problem....that would only add a GB or 2 to the total size, I should think.....

Anybody?

I am going to cross post a related question to EXCHANGE 2003 regarding backups and restore, in case this aspect is not solveable.... :(
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by:Compuzed
ID: 23751737
Further to this; I had a brainstorm.  What if I make a second Virtual Drive, then add it as a second drive to the virtual machine.; so that the virtual machine now has a C: ( about 15 GB total) and a E: of say 40GB.  Then, I could boot the virtual machine off of a ghost boot CD, and ghost the C Drive onto the E drive.     Reboot the virtual server, and presto, I should be live off of the new 'reduced' ( 40 Gb vhd) virtual server.....

Does anybody know if this can work ?
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Compuzed earned 0 total points
ID: 23761873
I have figured it out......got my vhd file down from 100Gb to 14 Gb on a 40 GB dynamic disk
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by:za_mkh
ID: 23764028
Mate. Good your solved your problem but remember that even though your new VHD is nice and small. If you continue with with method of backing up the Exchange Server by just backing up the VM itself, and not doing an online backup of the exchange database on a regular basis, the checkpoint files (e00 ) files will continue to grow. So like I said in an earlier post - don't forget to enable circular logging in your exchange server so that the e00 files are kept to a minimum and you can continue with your process of just backing up the VM.
 
Hope this helps.
 
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