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Exchange 2003 going offline over the weekend

I have an SBS 2003 Server that at some point over the weekend, every weekend, loses email functionality. Specifically, the information store (IS) isn't accessible. If I attempt to cycle the IS service, it hangs in "stopping" mode. All other services on the server are fully functional (file, print, vpn...). The event log yields no clues as to what is happening.

I have re-applied SP2 for Exchange 2003. I have also done an offline integrity check and defrag of the IS.

A reboot resolves the issue until next weekend.
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nmaxwell-ks
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nmaxwell-ks
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1 Solution
 
R--RCommented:
Please check if any specific thing is happening at that point. For eg AV scanning, backup.
Exclude exchange folders from AV scanning.

Any schedule task is configured at that point.
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nmaxwell-ksAuthor Commented:
Agreed, suggestions on how to pinpoint failure time. Outside of a script that sends an email every 3 mins, I can't think of an efficient way to do it. I think there must be an easy way, just not thinking of it.
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Sid_FCommented:
Does the store dismount, I would recheck the logs and also space on the server, You have probably checked this but might be worth mentioning, what size is the store set in the registry
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/912375
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sunnyc7Commented:
a) What is the exchange database size (in GB) and the size limit in registry?
b) Did you make the registry change to increase the Ex2003 size limit to 75GB

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/explaining-database-size-limit-changes-exchange-2003-service-pack-2.html
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nmaxwell-ksAuthor Commented:
If I'm hitting my IS limit, it will shut off every morning around 2:00 am with an even log. I'm pretty sure that's not it.

Database Size Limit in GB -- 50

Tons of free space on both volumes (45 and 300 gig respectively)

priv1.edb - 25 gig
priv1.stm - 11 gig

Don't think store dismounts, I'd tell that from inside Exchange Admin tool right?
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sunnyc7Commented:
that at some point over the weekend, every weekend, loses email functionality. Specifically, the information store (IS) isn't accessible. If I attempt to cycle the IS service, it hangs in "stopping" mode.

>> I will go with R--R
Do you run a full backup on weekend or any other activity.

You can try to configure diagnostic logging on Exchange.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/821910
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nmaxwell-ksAuthor Commented:
Nothing special backup wise. All backups run overnight, M-F. It's possible it's dropping Friday night, but not sure. I set this box up years ago and have admin'd it since. I'll triple check but I don't think anything special happens from an AV scan, scheduled job....

Suggestions on how to tell officially when it goes down/offline?
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nmaxwell-ksAuthor Commented:
Just checked and found that an av scan was happening Sunday morning at 5:00. Somehow missed that earlier. It's disabled, I'll monitor this weekend.
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sunnyc7Commented:
Did you runthe BPA ?
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=5334

How to tell officially when it goes down > Enable Diagnostic logs, when the service is unresponsive, it will alert something.

If you want to be notified "when" it goes down, you can use any of the server monitoring tools.
I use GFI MAX
http://www.gfi.com/app/max/max-dashboard/

You can set monitors for all Exchange Services to report back on a dashboard every 5 mins. If it misses a report, you can configure a SMS alert. Works like a charm for Phones in US
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nmaxwell-ksAuthor Commented:
Sunnyc7 - thanks. I'm getting pricing on GFI Max.

Users are telling me it goes offline between noon and 2:00 on Saturday. AV scan was Sunday at 5:00 am, so likely unrelated.
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sunnyc7Commented:
$13 per server per month
You can sign up for a free 30 day trial and test your SMS etc
Basic Setup is agent based, but the beauty about GFI is, I can configure a script from the web-interface, to run on the server at a particular time, and it works. PowerShell / VB / batch --
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R--RCommented:
To check  you can keep the ping running from any workstation from friday to sunday and check the report.
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nmaxwell-ksAuthor Commented:
R-R - Issue with ping is that the server stays up, it's exchange that goes down.

Update to all:
Exchange would normally drop Saturday afternoon. The AV stan was Sunday morning. I disabled the AV scan, so it didn't run last Sunday, the 16th. This weekend, the 22nd and 23rd, the server didn't have any issues.

I will monitor for another week before closing this out. While odd, I'm happy to feel like a bit of progress has been made.

Thanks guys.
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nmaxwell-ksAuthor Commented:
Final verdict -- after two or three weeks, Exchange has not gone offline. The only change I made was to disable the AV scan. Even though the scan was sun morning, and the IS went offline mid sat -- somehow the scan was affecting things. I will award points to the first person that asked about automated AV scans.
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