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Exchange Database Size Limit Reached

Posted on 2009-04-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
My company is running Exchange 2003 standard.

About a year ago I saw a warning that we had reach our database size limit to I followed the instructions in this article ( http://tr.im/je9K ) to increase the limit to 75GB, the maximum for Exchange 2003 standard. The warning came back over the weekend, stating we had reached the 75GB limit.

I have no problem setting up policies to purge old messages but when I look at the mailboxes in the storage group (System Manager > Server > Storage Group > Mailbox Store > Mailboxes) and do a rough sum of all of them (can't figure out how to export) it doesn't add up to 75GB, not even close.

We are using GFI Mail Archiver, could this have anything to do with it? When setting up GFI I tested some things with journaling, etc, any change I could have left something turned on during this time?

What else comprises this 75GB total?

If there isn't something wrong and I do have to start purging old messages, any suggestions on doing it only for some users? (I don't want to do it for any high up, just sales people and clerical staff basically) For instance, everyone except members of a certain OU or group?
Question by:penningtonj

Expert Comment

ID: 24184426
We had something similar with GFI; it kept on dumping mails in the deleted items folder rather then permanently deleting them. Mailbox DB was growing like hell...
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 24184438
You can delete messages for some users, but you won't get the space back (which means the size won't decrease) until you do OFFLINE defrag. So I would suggest schedule a down time and do an offline defrag.

Author Comment

ID: 24184585
Any suggestions on finding where the lost space is going? I will do the offline defrag but we haven't deleted that many users, so I don't think it is that alone.
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Expert Comment

ID: 24184651
If a rough sum off all your boxes is not even close to the 75 Gigs you will need ot do an offline defrag like flyingsky suggests. There might have been a point in time where it did get to 75 Gigs. Exchange databases will grow automatically but they don't shrink. Exchange just marks the space within the database file as 'free for use' but won't change the size of the file. a

Author Comment

ID: 24184696
I will try that tonight and report back.

Expert Comment

ID: 24184755
Be aware that an offline defrag can take a very VERY long time and requires 150 Gig off free space in your case... (I would be surprised if it finishes before the next working day - you might want to try this first on a workstation to familiarize yourself)
LVL 65

Accepted Solution

Mestha earned 2000 total points
ID: 24186914
Adding up the list of mailboxes will never equal the size of the store. There are various reasons for that, the main one being that ESM doesn't show you everything.

"When you view the space that a mailbox uses in Exchange System Manager, the amount only includes the space that is used by the Priv.edb file. The amount does not include the space that the Priv.stm file uses. "


Due to the way that the database size limit is imposed, an offline defrag is a waste of time. The limit is imposed by taking the physical size minus the amount of white space. You can see the amount of white space in event ID 1221.
As such, doing an offline defrag doesn't gain you anything because you are gaining space that is already available to you.

However if you have been deleting data then it may well be stored in deleted item retention. You would need to reduce the DIR time to release that space quicker.


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