How to reduce the size of an Exchange 2007 Information Store

Hi,

I have a client who has called me to advise that their Exchange 2007 SP1 Server has about 100MB of free space left on the disk that is dedicated to the Exchange Information Store - it is 100GB, and in the last 2 - 3 months it has gone from 60GB to almost the whole 100GB.  If I check the logs event id 1221 shows that there should be 4969MB of white space in the database, however I am hopful that there is a lot more than that - fingers crossed.

Other than adding more storage, creating a new store, moving the mailboxes, deleting the original store and moving the mailboxes back to a newly created store on the original disk is there another way to reduce the size of the database file on disk?

obviously with only 100MB free we don' have a lot of free space to do much with, and any ideas would be appreciated.  The server runs on a VMWare virtual infrastructure and I am not too sure how easily or quickly we can just add extra storage to it.  From what I can gather most available space on the VM environment has ben allocated.

Exchange 2007 SP1 is running on Windows 2008 Server.

Thanks,

Dave
biggles70Asked:
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B HCommented:
for starters, go look at the properties of the users and make sure one guy doesnt have 80gb himself... if he does, he probably has a looping rule that's creating the same object over and over and over
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B HCommented:
just to get a handle on things, you might want to enable circular logging...

if things are not perfect, you'll have thousands and thousands of 5mb files wherever the store lives.

it's not great practice to just delete those, but in a pinch you could delete the oldest ones if they go back years (or whatever is long enough for you)... good backups are a great idea first though
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Sailboat38Commented:
I would pursue the route of adding more storage.  Super easy to provision storage to VM guests in VMWare either through Virtual Center.  You can then extend the partition right in Win2008 using DIsk Mgmt.  Once that crisis is averted you can start splitting off mailboxes into different storage groups as needed.

Much better option than trying to do an offline defrag, which for that size would take many hours.

If he truly is completely out of storage, see about adding some into the VMWare infrastructure.  Unless he has a planned exchange maintenance cycle of quite some time to accomplish a defrag, this is your best bet.  Not to mention that 4GB is not a lot.

A few other things to check.  Make sure his Keep Deleted items setting is where the policy says it needs to be and not over.  If the exchange logs are on the same partition, make sure the backups are running correctly and the logs are being zapped.
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biggles70Author Commented:
Full back has just completed in preparation for some maintenance to be carried out.  Server transition from Exchange 2000 -> Exchange 2007 only happened 9 or 10 months ago, so I wouldn't imagine that the files would go back to far, although we have been doing some log file rearranging.

Thanks for the feedback so far.
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hutnorCommented:
Run a full backup so it will remove all logs & can free up a lot of space.
Add limit to how big people can let there mailbox get.
Get users to remove some old emails they no longer need.
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Sailboat38Commented:
Haha, I like the 80GB mailbox idea.  Mailbox limits are another thing to make sure are in place, or at the very very least, warnings.
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biggles70Author Commented:
Yeah I liked the 80GB mailbox idea as well - checked that though and there are a few around 5GB but nothing larger than that.  I mentioned mailbox limits, but not sure if he has put this in place - not really going to help us out of this one at the moment though.  

Like Sailboat38 - I too like the idea of the extra storage as the moving of mailboxes is usually quite good especially when compared to a defrag.

The next thing we are looking at is to reduce the deleted items retension times and having already completed a full backup uncheck the don’t delete until a full backup is completed check box on the limits tab.  We think there might be something in the deleted items not being removed during the maintenance schedule.  Once these changes are made we are also looking at the following Registry key setting
------------------------------------
To solve this particular problem, Microsoft made the checksumming process available during online maintenance in Exchange 2007 SP1.  In case you didn’t know, online maintenance performs a series of important tasks to make sure that your databases are operating correctly and efficiently.  These tasks include areas such as clearing items from the deleted items dumpster, cleaning up deleted mailboxes and performing an online defragmentation.  We’ll cover changing the online maintenance time window in just a moment.

Enabling Database Checksumming

First, though, you need to know what to do to enable the online database checksumming process because it’s not enabled by default; Microsoft has made this an opt-in feature.  To enable the process requires a change to the registry.  The registry sub-key listed below will not exist by default so you must create it.  The change to make is:

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\ParametersSystem
Name: Online Maintenance Checksum
Type: DWORD
Value: 1

Once you’ve made the registry change, you will need to restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service for the change to become effective.
------------------------------------------------

Then we are going to look at doing an online defrag and see if that makes a difference.  It doesn't seem right that the information store keeps growing at that rate considering it was only 16GB when they transitioned from exchange 2000 9 to 10 months ago.

Any further ideas would be appreciated and we'll update what happens after doing this.

Thanks
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hutnorCommented:
I would add a limit/warning to let people know there mailbox is over a set size & they need to delete emails. You can sent this to alert them once a day or every 15mins. You may also get it to stop them from sending emails so it will force them to remove older emails.
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Sailboat38Commented:
The online maint. opt-in should help for sure.  Although it is a bit OT, here is an interesting article about SIS and why your DB sizes grow so much after moving from older Exchange versions: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2010/02/22/454051.aspx

Once you make these changes to the Keep Deleted items, online maintenance, and verifying the backups are working and removing the log files, adding more storage and moving mailboxes is the next logical step unless you want to do an offline defrag.
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biggles70Author Commented:
To be able to perform an offline defrag on Exchange 2007 doesn't it require the same amount of disk space again?  
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biggles70Author Commented:
Hi All,

We we are still going on this one, and I have asked the client to ask their VMWare Infrastructure supplier to advise if there is in fact a way to add additional storage - even if only temporarily.  They are replacing the equipment in a couple of months and as such don't want to have to add another disk draw.

I guess i'll have to wait on that one, but I have another idea that I thought I would ask.  I was thinking about a cheapish NAS unit to create an infor store and database on so I can move the mailboxes off of the exchange server and be able to delete the original info store before returning the mailboxes to a cleanly created info store on the exchange server.  

The NAS unit I am thinking about is as follows:

RND4210(STORAGE)  READYNAS NV+ 2TB GIGABIT DESKTOP NETWORK STORAGE (2X1000GB)

This unit includes ADS/Domain security mode, which I think means that we will be able to get the associated rights assigned to create an info store/database and also to start the store whilst it is on the NAS unit.  We are a bit limited based on what we can do with the availbale storage options so if some could advise if this will work or not it would be appreciated.

Thanks,
   
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hutnorCommented:
defrag will need extra disk space to run
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hutnorCommented:
You can make a new exchange store anywhere you want. Just make sure the storeage device/path is always connected. Once you have that mounted & running you will be able to move mailbox from one store to the other. This will let you free up some space on your currently full disk.

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biggles70Author Commented:
Thanks for the feedback thus far.. We tried this with a ReadyNAS Duo which doesn't have ADS/Domain security mode, and as such we could move the database but not mount it in that location.  I guess we are hoping that by getting the READYNAS NV+ with ADS/Domain security mode we will be able to utilise Windows security and effectively manage to move and mount storage groups on that drive - fingers crossed as we didn't want to buy the more expensive NAS unit if we didn't need to.
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hutnorCommented:
I mean you can put it on anywhere on a local drive connected to server running exchange.
Do not know how it will go with NAS. Let me know how it goes.

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biggles70Author Commented:
It is VMWare and from what i was told there was no more space left on the disk draw and no other way to attach "internally recognised storage".  Anyway to cut a long story short the client found 160GB from somewhere.  we did find this earlier though, so I guess it may not have worked no matter what:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/Q_24530807.html

Thanks to all for their comments.
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