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Microsoft Exchange 2003 IS grew 70GB in three months after defrag

Posted on 2011-02-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi all.  I have a bit of a situation with one client who's Exchange IS has grown over 50GB in three months.  Here's the situation: The clients IS was originally hovering around 80GB.  The client was having all sorts of issues with connecting to Exchange including poor performance, adding attachments, etc...  To streamline their IS, I divided it into four storage groups, moved the mailboxes into the different storage groups to try and split the size load evenly.  There are a number of users with 15+GB mailboxes.  After I moved the mailboxes I defraged the storage groups and brought the entire Exchange IS size down to around 50GB.  Fast forward three months and now their IS is 120GB.  The system is clean as I've run several virus scans.  Backups have been completing and logs are being truncated.  Any ideas?  Thanks
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Question by:szagoria
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11 Comments
 
LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:rawinnlnx9
ID: 34908673
I bet you have tons of badmail. If you go into the exchange root and find the badmail folder right-click it and see how large it is. I'll bet you just need to delete badmail/spam from that folder and your store will come down to a reasonable size. This is just a guess but it's something I ran into about 5 years ago.
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by:rawinnlnx9
ID: 34908684
If badmail is huge navigate into that folder with a command prompt and then just issue a del *.* and hit enter. Please please, backup first if possible.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:rawinnlnx9
ID: 34908733
I wish you could edit posts. So here is this from Microsoft for managing badmail: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=782AAF0F-6239-40AD-ADDA-97863D852FF7&displaylang=en

If you are running Exchange SP1 it no longer uses the badmail folder so it won't be that if you are on SP1 already. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/884068

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Author Comment

by:szagoria
ID: 34908796
Thanks for your replies.  We are running SP1, so that didn't work.  It's odd, if I add up the size of the mailboxes they don't equal 120GB, but if I add up the size of the EDB and STM files, it does.
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Expert Comment

by:Chewe Chileshe
ID: 34908974
The mailboxes do not usually add up to the edb and stm.  Just the edb. You could have some large emails that keep being sent back and forth within you org thereby creating the sent email copy as well as the new item in the recipients mailbox.
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Author Comment

by:szagoria
ID: 34909118
@netcon2011: I thought that might be a possibility, but it seems odd that the average growth would be abotu 5-6GB a year, and now 70GB in a matter of months.  Just seems like a lot.  My boss also sold them a SonicWALL CDP with offsite vaulting, but now that the IS has grown so large there isn't enough offsite storage.  He doesn't want to go back and tell them they need to spend more money on offsite storage immediately after they just bought what they have.
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 34926097
1. Are you running any iPhones or Smart Phones with ActiveSync? http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2010/06/30/455342.aspx

2. You can use this to possible help track down an offending device that may be causing issues http://blogs.msdn.com/b/scottos/archive/2007/07/12/rough-and-tough-guide-to-identifying-patterns-in-ese-transaction-log-files.aspx

3. Check this out as well http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff477617.aspx

4. Lastly you can use ExMon to monitor Mailbox activity http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=9A49C22E-E0C7-4B7C-ACEF-729D48AF7BC9&displaylang=en
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:szagoria
ID: 35073150
Barracuda Message archiver has stubbed attachments in the IS, but for some reason didn't actually remove the attachments.  We're still having problems with the large IS, but we're thinking about defragging to clean it up.
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

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lucid8 earned 2000 total points
ID: 35075143
Well the stubbing will do nothing in terms of controlling disk space i.e. if you have a 50MB attachment within the EDB and then the archiving product comes along and moves to the attachment to the archive the EDB by default will not get smaller.  

Now in theory that 50MB in the attachments table is freed for additional attachments until the archiver comes along and repeats the process but it doesn't always work perfectly and of course you must first ensure that the nightly online maintenance is running to completion (and not being interrupted) otherwise it wont have a chance to free up the space of the stubbed attachments.

Online Database Maintenance helps keeping mailbox and public stores in good health by performing three major tasks to eliminate and rearrange objects to get a much more efficient database.

* Checks Active Directory for any deleted mailboxes.
* Permanently deletes messages and mailboxes older than the configured retention period.
* Performs online database defragmentation.

POTENTIAL ISSUES
* Out of the box online database maintenance is scheduled to run between 01:00AM and 05:00AM.

* *  Ensure your Exchange backups don’t conflict with your scheduled maintenance interval for any databases in the same storage group because if they do then the backup will take precedence, i.e. the online nightly maintenance will never finish and your database will continue to grow...

*** Never disable online maintenance.

**** Look for event 700 designating that garbage collection has begun, event 701 marks the end of that process and event 1221 signifies a minimum amount of disk space to be reclaimed.

*****  if your maintenance has not been completing and you want to speed up this process temporarily set it to run 24/7 until you receive a 1221, however, this will put a load on your system until done so its only short term but an effective way to force maintenance to complete.

****** If the issue was that the nightly maintenance was not completing you will need to do the above first to free up the items marked for deletion and then will then make that space available for new items, i.e. your database should stop growing, but it wont shrink without an offline defragmentation.
If you want to know more about IS Maintenance, check out Jeremy's’s Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/jeremyk/archive/2004/06/12/154283.aspx.

If you want to reach me for more info you can check my profile
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LVL 1

Author Closing Comment

by:szagoria
ID: 35150622
Database is no longer growing, and we are going to schedule an offline defrag to shrink what we currently have.
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 35150636
Thanks for the update and the points!!
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