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Exchange 2003: This database has exceeded the size limit of 75 GB

Posted on 2011-02-19
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
My mail server stopped working this morning and found out the information store dismounted. It's a standard version and we already changed the limit to max 75 gb. I also found this in the event viewer:

Exchange store 'First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (FAIR001)': The current physical size of this database (the .edb file and the .stm file) is 76 GB. This database has exceeded the size limit of 75 GB. However, the logical free space in this database has not yet been evaluated. Therefore, it is possible that this database contains enough free space to bring its logical size below the maximum size limit.

If the logical database size exceeds the maximum size limit, it will be dismounted on a regular basis.
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Question by:okamon
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Expert Comment

by:Viral Rathod
ID: 34933581
Check the Event Id 1221 on the Mailbox Store and Public Folder store to make sure sufficient white space is avilable on the database

White Space (Recyclable Space) indiactes how much space could be recovered by an offline defragmentation

If you have sufficient white space then go for offline defrag ,if you do not have sufficient white space then generate more white space by informing end users to download any old Data to Personal folder (PST) and then check white space and run offline defrag

For Offline Defarg :
------------------------
1) Make sure you have taken the complete Backup of Both the Exchange Database

2) Exchange offline Defrage Require 110% of Free Space to Defrage Exchange Store ,
If Mailbox Store Database size is 60 GB then you need atleast 70 GB of free disk space on the server
(Check Event Id 1216 for Database Size)

3) Make sure you have taken sufficient Down time to run offline defrag on exchange database
(4GB of Database Defrage Require 1 Hour to Complete (60 GB of Database Require Approx 15 Hours)

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Expert Comment

by:Speedfox6
ID: 34933588
Have you check the size of the database files? If so how big are they?
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34933617
You either need to get your users to delete some mail, lower the store retention period and defragment the database or start thinking seriously about upgrading to Exchange 2010.
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34933781
Than you. The white space already has 10 mb which means it will not help if I just run the offline defrag.
I will have to archive some mailbox to pst as viralrathod mentioned right? and then do off-line defrag?

but I remember there shouldn't be back pressure as exchange 2007... did I misunderstand something?
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34933793
Also I don't understand what this mean in the event viewer:
>>However, the logical free space in this database has not yet been evaluated. Therefore, it is possible that this database contains enough free space to bring its logical size below the maximum size limit.

What's the difference between physical and logical size?  my physical size now is 76GB... and how can I find out the logical size? if the logical size below 75 GB... does that mean i don't need offline-defrag?
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Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 400 total points
ID: 34934224
Physical is the size of the .edb and .stm file.  Logical is the .edb file plus the .stm file minus the White space identified in event ID 1221.

The database could be 100gb in size but have 30gb in White space thus the physical size would be 100gb but the logical size would be 70gb.

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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34934407
So right now my exchange 2003 standard has 75 GB databsse limit, so I can just archive some mailbox in pst without having to do offline defrag right?

For example: if after archiving mailboxes, the white space should be increased and if I got 10 gb of white space. Then 76 GB - 10 GB = 66 GB, so it will be still under the limit right?  So i don't need to do offline defrag correct? and when will be the time I need to do offline defrag?
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LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 400 total points
ID: 34934429
If you archive, the data you have archived does not become whitespace until the period of time set on the database as Deleted Item Retention has passed.  This is usually 30 days.

If you archive to .pst files, then change the retention period to 0 days, then the space will immediately become whitespace and your virtual store size will be reduced.

Once you have reduced the retention period, set it back to something like 14 days the following day do that the users can recover some data if they delete mail and then empty their deleted items.
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34934435
To change the retention period, please refer to the following article:

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/MF022.html
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34934592
thank you so much. So are you saying my what I say in my last post is correct? and I don't need to do offline defrag in this case right?  when is the case i need to run offline defrag? is it only when the physical hard disk running out of space?

If I don't do offline defrag and I got 10 gb of white space after archiving.
76 GB (physical size) - 10 GB (white space)  = 66 GB
So it's still under 75 GB limit -> ok ?

If I do a offline defrag after, then the physical size will be 66GB and white space = 0 GB right?


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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34934622
Offline defrag is useful to reclaim disk space only.

Your last post is 99% there, but without reducing the mailstore retention, you would have to wait 30 days (default), until the mail you archived becomes whitespace.

If you archive and reduce the retention period, your store size (virtual) will be under the 75gb limit and will stop dismounting daily.
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34934648
Thank you for your great help. I got your idea. And can you tell me that if I do a offline defrag, will the white space become 0? And if I do offline defrag after archiving, do I still need to change the detention setting?
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Accepted Solution

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Alan Hardisty earned 400 total points
ID: 34934674
Yes - an offline defrag will mean you have 0 whitespace left in the database.

If you archive 10gb of mail from the store and the mailstore retention period is set to 30 days, then run a defrag, you won't reclaim the 10gb of space.

If you archive 10gb of mail from the store, change the mailstore retention to 0 days, then don't run an offline defrag, you will have a mailstore that is 65gb but occupies 75gb of disk space and the store will stop dismounting.

If you archive 10gb of mail from the store, change the mailstore retention to 0 days, then run an offline defrag, you will reclaim 10gb of whitespace from the store and 10th of disk space and your store won't dismount daily, but the physical store size will immediately start to grow as more mail arrives.

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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34934818
>>>If you archive 10gb of mail from the store and the mailstore retention period is set to 30 days, then run a defrag, you won't reclaim the 10gb of space.

Really?!! I always though that after I did archiving and run offline defrag, the physical database would gain 10 GB free space right away......  I was totally wrong!

Is there a way I can setup alert so i will know it before the disaster?  
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34934860
even I archive those emails to a pst file, I will still need to manually delete emails in the mailbox right? I remember exporting pst file will not delete any emails
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34936167
I am not aware of a way to set up alerts.

When you archive, you are moving mail from the mailstore to a .pst file which will remove the mail from the server, so deleting is not necessary.
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34940347
Hi Alan, I haven't started doing archiving but I tried to set the retention to 0 for both deleted items and mailboxes. But it seems it didn't happen right away..... As I still can see in exchange ESE, the "deleted items under each user's account still not became 0. is there any way to force it happen?

So in this case, will same thing happen even after I archive emails?
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34940351
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34940985
Worst case - restart the Information Store service.
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34943917
tried that already didn't help... I also tried to restart other exchange service. I am wondering if this will only happen when online defrag schedule kick in
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34944364
What does the latest event id 1221 show in the Application Event Log?
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34947026
I checked that and it seems after the maintenance run it took effect, now I can see all the deleted items under all user accounts became "0"
I thought it should take effect after we put retention to 0 though..... any idea?
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34949332
That was my understanding too!
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34969442
Hi Alan, I just archive a user's mailbox which has around 7 GB. after that changed the schedule and let online maintenance to run right away. But this morning, I found it only got 2gb white space.... any reason why?
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34974149
Are the mailbox / mailstore retention settings still set at 0?
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Author Comment

by:okamon
ID: 34982851
yes, it's still set to 0
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34983344
It could be down to Single Instance Storage!

An explanation extracted from here:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/175481

Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server, and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 maintain single-instance storage of messages.

If a message is sent to one recipient, and if the message is copied to 20 other recipients who reside in the same mailbox store, Exchange Server maintains only one copy of the message in its database. Exchange Server then creates pointers.
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