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My exchange 2003 database store (.edb) is taking forever to offline defrag.

Posted on 2009-04-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
, (hours and hours) to defrag and not moving past 10%. Anyone have any ideas? Its been heck trying to plan maintenace windows. The database is 199GB.
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Question by:Cogentco
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by:coolsport00
ID: 24068291
"Cogentco"...your DB is 200GB...it is most certainly going to take quite a while to Defrag; hours and hours sounds right. :)

According to here: http://www.petri.co.il/defragment_exchange_2000_2003_server_databases.htm, defrag goes at about 5-7GB/hr, thus you're looking at a day's worth of defrag time.

(MS article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/192185)

Regards.
~coolsport00
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by:tigermatt
ID: 24068394

Hours and hours is not unusual - in fact, it's normal, and one of the reasons why Offline Defrags are not recommended, except in extreme cases.

If necessary, you can stop the defrag process at any time but when it hits the very end. All it does is simply copy one database to another, then delete the old and rename the new. If you stop the process, Exchange can simply remount the old database, which will not have been modified.

The question is whether you actually need to perform an offline defrag. How much free space is reported as being in the database, and are you running Standard or Enterprise Edition of Exchange 2003?

-Matt
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by:Cogentco
ID: 24068488
Gentlemen, thank you for the great info. One more variable I want to throw in here is that it has been running at around 10 hours now and it hasnt moved passed 10% for the last 3 hours of it. Does that mean something is wrong? or just that its really slow? I have no problem with calling an outage and just letting it run until it needs to, I just don't want it to run for three days, and then still be stuck at 10%.

I did see that while it was at 10% the temp db was being updated as well as the stream file, it was getting bigger... just not moving past 10%.

Its really hard to gauge if its doing its thing... or hanging. Ideas?
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by:Cogentco
ID: 24068549
Sorry, I meant it was at 10% for the last 8 hours... Thanks!

Cogentco
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Too many email signature updates to deal with?

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by:Cogentco
ID: 24068571
Update: Ok, I heard from my backup guys that the backup was running during part of the time, but we turned it off during the defrag. Would the defrag been affected if we stopped the backup during? or would we have needed to restart the defrag with nothing running?
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tigermatt earned 250 total points
ID: 24068705

Backup of what? The Exchange backup wouldn't have run (at least, not for that store) as the database is dismounted. However, if the backup was also doing the hard disks, I'd suspect the defrag operation has got upset when the backup attempted to open the new, in-use database file.

Sticking at 10% for 8 hours is unusual; I'd expect it to move slowly, but not THAT slowly. Is the size of the new EDB file on disk changing at all? If not, I'd suspect the operation has hung up and needs to be cancelled and started again. If it is, though, it's probably OK and safe to let it just carry on running.

What you don't want to do is let the operation run for more than 2 days. If you do, inbound email will have queued for too long and will be bounced as undeliverable. If it runs for 18 hours for more, I'd stop, remount your database and then sort the problem out then.

Finally, if you're running Enterprise Edition of Exchange, the best approach rather than doing an Offline Defrag is to create a new mail store, and move mailboxes across. This will eliminate white space, but keep all mail flow and user access to their mailboxes running throughout the operation.

-Matt
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by:coolsport00
ID: 24069090
I agree with Matt; if it's hanging and staying on a certain %, you would just need to stop it and retry. 200GB is quite huge, although it also depends on the size of your org. If possible, you could create another SG to 'separate' the DBs, which also provides a bit more granularity if needing to do email msg  size limitations, etc.

Regards.
~coolsport00
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by:Mestha
ID: 24069566
This is a Microsoft progress bar, so cannot be relied upon. 199gb store, that is going to take some time. The estimate above is 5/7gb per hour, that is rather optimistic. I work on the 1-4gb per hour.

However I wouldn't have even contemplated an offline defrag of a 200gb store. You have to be running Enterprise edition, so I would have moved all the content to another database and dropped the original. Zero risk, zero downtime. No loss of hair worrying about it.

I hope you are working on a copy. If not then you are going to be testing your backup that you took immediately before starting the job.

Simon.
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by:tigermatt
ID: 24070689

Simon,

Good catch. 200GB store means the user must be running Enterprise Edition, and as both Simon and I have said now, you'd have been much better simply recreating the store, moving mailboxes, and dropping the old one.

-Matt
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