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Exchange 2003 RAID upgrade

Posted on 2011-02-24
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We have an Exchange 2003 server running on Server 2003 STD SP2. It is running out of disk space on the current RAID array. The array is on an Adaptec 2130S SCSI controller, all drives are 300GB.

Drives 0&1 are mirrored for the OS
Drives 2-5 are in a RAID 10 for the stores (558GB total 33GB free)

What we want to accomplish is build a new array on a new controller (Adaptec 5805Z & Seagate Cheetah 15K.7 SAS-2 drives) and restore the OS and Stores using Acronis. I have done this several time in the past to upgrade RAID configurations with much success. My question is is this process possible with Exchange 2003 since we used the Diskpar utility on the current drives/array? Does anyone know if the disk backup and restore process keeps this disk alignment? We definitly do not want to degrade the performance of our Exchange server by upgrading the RAID controller and drives. Or does anyone know a better way of doing this with Exchange?
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Question by:USGLOBAL
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 34972150
First you check what version you are using as Exchange 2003 Standard can support max 75 GB of DB size
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Author Comment

by:USGLOBAL
ID: 34972183
My appologies, we are using the Enterprise version of Exchange 2003.
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 34972191
Exchange doesn't work line a file level restore, as it is a DB it require different method.

1) Don't touch the current drives.
2) Create new drives in the servers and move the DB that new drives. I prefer SAN for Exchange 2003

http://www.petri.co.il/move_exchange_stores_to_a_different_disk.htm
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 34972241
Where is your DB Stored right now...and how many Storage Groups you have created in the server. In Enterprise you can have

Four storage groups
Five databases per storage group
16 terabyte database limit, limited only by hardware

Create more Storage Groups and DB on new drives and move over the users. This is the simplest method with zero downtime. Downtime will be only for the user whose mailbox is in move process
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 34972291
Once you moved the users to new DB's you can dismount the old db's delete them and this will clear the space for your. If required again recreate new db's and host more mailboxes. MS recommend max 500 mailbox per DB's with thumb rule of 200 MB mailbox size. If it is above or below that you can tweak it.
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Author Comment

by:USGLOBAL
ID: 34972317
amitkulshrestha,
We have 4 storage groups with 4 DBs per group.
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 34972377
Then you might need to move the DB's to other drives and check how much white space you have in DB's. That also takes lot of space. If you want to clear white space. Run Offline Defrag.
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 34972440
And still you have 1 DB left on all SG's
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Author Comment

by:USGLOBAL
ID: 34972444
So what would be the protocol if our Exchange server were to die and we needed to restore form a disk image (Acronis) we have of the OS and data stores?
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Amit earned 500 total points
ID: 34972539
Exhange db's are live and disk imaging tools doesn't work's with them. If possible, get new server and move over the users to new server. I think you must go with Archive solution, if user data is very high.

Now Exchange 2010 came up with online Archive feature.
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Author Closing Comment

by:USGLOBAL
ID: 34998100
Although his answer is correct it did not fit our solution. I was told by a tech from Acronis that the disc imaging process would keep the disk alignment and any other special formatting that the disk has and recreate it on the other array.
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