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Exchange sever 2003, Large mailbox users have slow outlook access

Posted on 2009-03-31
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Hi,

Have an interesting one for you.  I have a client that has approximately 135 users on one Exchange 2003 SP2 server running on Windows Server 2003 fully patched.  The server is an HP ML570 with Dual 3GHZ xeons and 4GB of RAM.  We've already added 1 Terabyte of email storage to house the information stores and have about 500GB of free space on that partition.  There are two RAID 5 arrays set up with one dedicated to OS the other the information stores.  
Performance monitor not showing abnormal loads for MTA queue or RPC's.  I have run the exchange Best Practices Analyzer and diagnostic and all it came up with was unusually high RPC's.
My problem is that my users with mailboxes over 3GB in size........I'll wait till you stop laughing.....
using outlook 2003 or outlook 2007 tend to have slow access regardless of whether we enabled cached exchange mode or just download headers in the send/receive.

These are very touchy users and won't accept mailbox limits.  Many of them have actually made subfolders in their deleted items folder.  I've run offline defrags and integrity checks on all 4 stores which right now total about 120GB.  It was up to 150GB before I finally had to demand they get acquainted with "archive."

So I'm looking at archive solutions like GFI mail archiver and the Barracuda archiver.  They may not go for it yet they still want their quick performance back.

Should also mention that I have about 35 BlackBerry users that are tied into exchange via a BES 4.0 SP7 server.  We also have a voicemail system that can forward to email boxes.

So other than shrinking the mailboxes what can I do to speed up their outlook performance.

I know everything I've said breaks all kinds of best practices rules but I'm just the consultant here.  The network admin is unwilling to ruffle feathers so I need a solution that doesn't involve too much pain for the affected outlook users.

As an addendum, users with mailboxes under 3GB seem to have no performance issues.

Thanks!
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Question by:jwalk6
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Expert Comment

by:ZENandEmailguy
ID: 24035665
I'd suggest you look at Messaging Architects M+Archive as you can archive everything old out to other storage and retro-stub all messages back into Outlook 2003 so they messages look like they are still directly in Exchange but aren't really.  The solution is a two-server one with M+Archive running on a 32-bit server and the Exelead Indexing engine running on 64-bit.

www.messagingarchitects.com


They keep all of their mail, you improve performance dramatically, and no feathers are ruffled.

Ok, I'll stop laughing now <g>.

Scott
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Author Comment

by:jwalk6
ID: 24035730
Ok, I'll look into it.  I should also mention that they've shot down two other archiving solutions in the past 2 years.  One was 150K and the other was about 15K.  This is almost a no-win and I'm about ready to dump the client because they really don't seem to be acting reasonable about this.

So is it really a problem with the mailbox size?  I know it seems obvious but I'm curious as to
what mechanism is actually making it slow for the big mailbox users.  

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Accepted Solution

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ZENandEmailguy earned 350 total points
ID: 24035754
I believe it is size of mailbox.  Will they let you archive to .PST?...or multiple .PST and then open them so they are available but not in the live information store?

Depending upon how many users you want to run through M+Archive, it will cost roughly $30/user plus hardware and OS licenses.  You don't have to archive everyone.

Does the client fall under any kind of laws requiring archiving of email and data?  Just about everyone does these days.

Scott
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Author Comment

by:jwalk6
ID: 24035805
Thanks for the response by the way..
It's a law firm and I've brought up the Saox to them but they seem to think they're not.
The only way I'm going to get an archival solution in there is to give them some kind
of definitive proof that it's the mailbox size causing the problem.  



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Author Comment

by:jwalk6
ID: 24035826
...and..
Yes they do "try" to archive to pst files but there seems to be an issue when you get past 2GB.
I have some mailboxes that are 6 and 7GB in size.  I had one user that until today was 15GB.

I'm all for archiving especially if it lives off the stores but can still be accessible through their outlook clients.

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Assisted Solution

by:Kaffiend
Kaffiend earned 150 total points
ID: 24036074
Try this for "proof":

Have the users with the large mailboxes connect to webmail.  If the server is healthy (and you seem to have ensured that it is), then it will be as fast as any other user's access.

The problem is most likely with Outlook, not your email server.  If they connect to webmail and can see a difference, it should be very clear to them where the problem lies - with Outlook.  And there's nothing they can do about that, except to reduce the size of their mailboxes !
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