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Exchange 2007 Space issue on ESXi

Posted on 2011-09-30
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
We've run into a situation where our Exchange database has consumed almost all of the disk it is on. Our Exchange 2007 is in an SBS 2008 environment and hosted on an ESXi server. We have additional available disk space to provision to create an additional virtual disk but we are limited to 256GB per disk. The current database is 180GB with about 10GB of space free. There is one mailbox that we plan on removing shortly that is taking up nearly 50GB (too much, I know).

Since ESXi does not support USB passthrough storage, we are limited in our options. Ideally, we would prefer to leave mailboxes in the current Exchange DB and somehow defrag it to remove the whitespace after removing the one offending mailbox. What's the best way to reclaim space in this situation?

We've considered moving mailboxes to an additional mail store (still not sure how to shrink the original)
Possibly spanning to another virtual disk to increase space for a defrag (not sure if this will work without harming the exiting data on this volume).
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Question by:kfarhang
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
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Personally, I'm not a fan of Defraging the Exchange Database, often corruption is found, and mailboxes disappear.

Why not add a new Virtual Disks to ESX, and Create a new mailbox store?
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by:kfarhang
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I would be happy with that, but after moving mailboxes to this store, how would I reclaim disk space from the previous store?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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It is a lot of effort for not a lot of  gain.

Offline Defrag is the only way. (but be warned, this can take hours to complete, you will also need at least as much space to complete the defrag, as a new db is created, as a tmp file before the old is deleted).

I would migrate ALL mailbxoes to a new store, and delete the old.
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by:kfarhang
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I would be happy to delete the old store once mailboxes have been moved. Will this cause any issues? Particularly in an SBS 2008 environment?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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No, just move mailboxes slowly, carefully, have a plan. TEST yours first etc
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by:kfarhang
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Okay, I'll try and hunt down something off technet for the specifics.
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by:kfarhang
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We ended up restoring the entire server to a new VM. Our ESXi server took a hit and we had to restore from backup. When we did, we allocated a larger disk for the Exchange partition and it worked like a charm.
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