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Exchange Server Using all System Memory

Posted on 2011-03-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have Exchange server 2007 running on windows ser ver 2008. It is a single instance, no back end server etc. It is running on a single domain with around 250 user accounts. My users are mainly connected to the Exchange server using http as we have a lot of people in many different location.

It has been running normal for some time but recently I have noticed Outlook takes time to respond to a lot of request. After looking at the server the System memory is being used up by Exchange services leaving less half a GB for system resources.

Has anyone had this problem and resolved it. Thanks for your suggestions.
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Question by:carloc
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11 Comments
 
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by:Scovndrel
ID: 35079968
Exchange is a notorious memory hog, and there're really nothing for it but to increase the memory on the server. Rebooting will bring it back down to a manageable level for a while, but it will creep up again.

Here's a forum thread that discusses the issue in more detail:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/exchangesvradmin/thread/81334e30-6ff9-4d84-a8e2-3c833c9e999b
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Glen Knight earned 250 total points
ID: 35079969
First thing to check is that you have the latest service packs installed (SP3) followed by any available updates.  There was an issue that was fixed in the latest service pack with Outlook latency and resource hogging on CAS servers.

It's also quite normal for exchange to use all available memory, it will release memory as requested by other applications.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35079976
Sorry but rebooting your production exchange server is not something that should be suggested as a "fix" for something that is normal and by design.
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by:connectex
connectex earned 250 total points
ID: 35080007
This is by design. Exchange information store (store.exe) will take all the memory for database caching. It will only return memory if the system start experiencing a low memory situation. See this post: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2008/08/06/449484.aspx

But this section explains most of it (under Why we learned to love the 64-bit Platform):

Now, one of the results of being able to address more memory is the capability to cache more memory for each application. To allow this to happen for Exchange, the ESE Database Cache Size limit was removed to allow Exchange the ability cache more pages in memory. Accessing pages in memory is extremely fast, so the more data we cache in memory, the less we actually have to read andwrite from the disk. When following our best practice guidance around storage group deployment and memory sizing, Exchange 2007 reduces the amount of I/O required overall. This gave us rather huge performance gains.  For more information regarding I/O improvements on the 64-bit platform for Exchange, see the following blog post http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2006/09/08/428860.aspx.
With no limitation in Database Cache for Exchange 2007, the memory usage for the store process will naturally be much higher compared to what Exchange 2003 used due to the many benefits discussed earlier. Memory allocation for the ESE cache is dynamic, so Jet will use all available memory on a system and return it as needed.  For example, if a server had, let's say, 16GB of physical RAM installed, the database cache could consume approximately 14GB of memory, roughly 2GB less than the total amount of physical RAM in the server, leaving enough memory for the system cache or other applications running on the server.

But if you really want to restrict the memory of the information store process here's how: http://mostlyexchange.blogspot.com/2007/08/restricting-ram-usage-in-exchange-2007.html. Just know by restricting it you may be killing Exchange servers performance.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35080016
DO NOT restrict the memory usage it WILL have a detrimental effect on performance!
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by:connectex
ID: 35080021
Demazter, I clearly mentioned that. But you know some people may have to learn the "hard way".
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35080026
You said MAY, there is no MAY about it.  It WILL!

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by:Scovndrel
ID: 35080126
My comment about rebooting was actually meant to cover the possible "but I rebooted and it got better for a while" statement that might come up in discussion. I was indicating that even if a reboot makes it better for a while, the problem will return. It was not intended as a fix. The fix I suggested is to add more RAM. Period.

Your suggestion of making sure the latest hotfixes are applied to avoid the Outlook latency is also good. If it were my server, I'd have already done the hotfixes before posting the question (so I made an invalid assumption about that), and I'd add more RAM.
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35080225
Adding more RAM will not actually help, exchange will just consume more of it.

You would be surprised how many people don't apply service packs/hotfixes which is why it's the first suggestion I always make.
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by:Scovndrel
ID: 35080333
I've always been able to get to the point where Exchange doesn't consume all of the available memory (just most of it). But, re-reading the original post, he doesn't say it's using all of it. Just most of it. So you're probably right.
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Author Closing Comment

by:carloc
ID: 35316315
Thanks, your suggestions helped understand how this works in more detail.

Appreciate your help and apologize about the delay in responding.
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