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Exchange 2003

My Exchange 2003 Server has 3 physical partition
C: OS  30G Capacity with 5G free space
D: Exchange store 245G capacity with 10.3G free space
E: Exchange logs 65G capacity with 62G free space

I just started with this company and i am on clean up frenzy.  I am running out of space on the D: drive.  There are about 20G of space occupied by terminated employees.  in a year and a half from now, we are looking into upgrading to Exchange 2010.  i need to make do with what i currently have till then.  I dont want to delete the terminated employees mailbox as of yet and would like to put it seperate from our production partition to make room.  Previous Admin deleted a few mailbox to make room but at this point i cannot reclaim the white spaces for i dont have room  to run the tool.  I only have 1 store.  I wanted to create another store and put all the terminated employees there.  

Option 1.  Working with what i have, i was thinking, would it be a good idea to create a terminated employee store and put it in the E: drive and put its logfiles on D: (the reverse of the first store) since i have 60 G of free space in E.  I only have 20G of data for my terminated employees.
Option 2.  I connect an external USB Drive and create a terminated employee store there as well as its logfiles.  Take the termnated employee store offline and unplug the USB.  would it hurt the performance of the server?  What if i dont unplug the external USB Drive?
Option 3.  could i share some space with another server, map to that space and put the terminated employees there?  Since no one will be accessing these store anyways?  maybe our backup software only.  
Option 4.  Virtualize our Exchange 2003 server.  How long would it take to virtualize a server with 300g total space?  Is exchange 2003 server a good Virtual Server Candidate?

Please put in order from best to worst option.  please explain why its best and why its worse.  If you would do it differently beside the options i put, please feel free to add more options.
1 Solution
Cant write much atm (mobile access), but i would export all unneeded mailboxes into pst files and move to another storage (dvd/external drive/tape), till the migration (and hopefully new hardware) to 2010 will come.

Also i would check peoples mailboxsize and talk with them.. maybe they can export unneeded data too.
Robert3rdAuthor Commented:
That's how it was being done.  good idea but lenghty process.  
Robert3rdAuthor Commented:
any comment on Option 1 and 2?
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Marc DekeyserSr Premier Field EngineerCommented:
Your ideas are solid if you have an exchange version other than the standard edition. If not your ideas are done for as you are limited in number of databases. You could put your database on a mirror USB storage device but this would be horrible performance wise.

Are you taking full backups every day so the logs are committed? Alternatively you could take the server offline for a weekend and more the database files to an external disk where you could run the offline defragmentation. That should reclaim the whitespace.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Here i go again with some more time now..

First of all i wont use any datastores on external harddrives/networkdrives or something.
There are many reasons why, one of them should be:
The exchange server isnt the owner of that drive/no exclusive access.
An additional point is the daily backup job. You have to quote the offline-store out of it,
but what happend if the external drive will crash... ubbs dataloss. Backup? No Sorry..

Lets start with the worst option:

(4) Virtualize the exchange server.
Easy to say: Better to start a new (virtual) exchange server (2010) and migrate all data from the old environment,
than p2v the old one. If you have the capacity for a new server... start a new one asap.

(3) Just review the first part of this hole comment

(2) Same as (3)

(1) This could maybe work. The problem is the following:
If you start to migrate to your new environment (in future) you need (afaik) huge diskspace for logfiles.
At the moment you will say you need 20gb for unused data.. whats the situation next week/month?
Maybe 25 or 30? Who knows?.. If you do the export once, you will do it again. Trust me..
So you have 65- 5gb temp space for logfiles -30gb 2nd datastore = 30gb for migration logfiles.
You want to migrate 250gb via 30gb space for logfiles? I dont think so! :-)

If i would have to fix that issue, i would buy 2 or 3 or maybe 4 external usb drives (100.. 200gb) and export all
unneeded mailboxes into pst files stored on one usb drive and clone them after im done.
No problem if one drive will crash.. i can repeat this many times.. also if the amount of data will raise..
Its a very cheap and doable solution.
You should give it a try..

Additional for your new environment (2010):
MS recommend a maximum databasesize of 200GB each.
If you migrate.. try to split from the beginning.
Robert3rdAuthor Commented:

(4) budget for echange 2010 is not doable till 2013.  I know this is the best solution but the company doesnt have the money till then.  I can P to V my current and give it more space.  My question is how long would it take (approx) to P to V a 2003 exchange server with C:\ OS capacity 27.9G with 2.12G free, E:\DataDrive Capacity 245G with 10.3G free F:\LogDrive with 68g and 65g free.  and is 2003 a good candidate to VM.  I need to let my company know the window i will need to shut Email services down to virtualize.  I can always turn on the virtual version without any network connection to see if all is well.  if not, i can always turn the physical back on.  

(3) I dont like the idea of external or mapped drives either.  Performance wise i'm sure its going to be slow.  My thought is because I will be putting Mailboxes of terminated employees there.  since no one should be accessing these mailbox, would it really matter?  I havent checked if my backup can backup a mapped drive yet.  Once i have moved the terminated employees mailbox to either a mapped drive or USB drive, it wil free up some space on my production store until 2013.  I have 20G of terminated employee data.  If I am able to free up 20G, I think that would last till 2013 then i can buy my exchange 2013.  I could even dismount the store after i have moved the terminated employees mailbox to this store after backup.  

(2) same as (3)

(1)  Not sure i understand this one.  If i migrated 20G of terminated employee mailboxes, it will create 20G's of log files?

the way it was done by the previous admin is similare to your idea.  PST all terminated employees.  This is a long process.  Its very doable but i was hoping there is a better option.    

(2) same as 3

Robert3rdAuthor Commented:

I think i have enterprise, how do i tell again?  i did the help about but it only says exchange 2003, doesnt say standard or enterprise.  I only have one store and can add up to 5 if memory serves me correctly.  I only want to make 1 more for terminated employees.
Robert3rdAuthor Commented:
Since i havent gotten a definitive answer yet, i went ahead and did my option 1.  to recap, the main database is on drive e: and the mail logfiles are on drive f:.  I created a TerminatedEmployee storage group and put its database on F and its logfiles on E.  E has a total of 245G with 9.8G free.  F has a total of 65G with 63G free.  I mounted the terminated employee store and moved 1 terminated employee into this store.  But I saw the E drive space go down a bit from 9.8G to 9.7G.  the mailbox i moved was actually only like 2M big but the logfiles i think are about 5M big.  The log files shoud disappear after a backup yes?    
Robert3rdAuthor Commented:
i decided not to experiment on it all.  i removed terminated employees off the storage
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