3gb switch for exchange

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If I have correctly implemented the /3gb userva 3030 switch in the ini file on exchange 2003 would you expect to see store.exe consuming more than 1gb memory in taskman?

A vbscript that was supposed to confirm the switch said it was running properly but event viewer says settings aren't optimal for exchange. Store.exe is only using 1gb ram.
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JohnDemerjianAsked:
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Sapphire_Commented:
No, the 1gb is all u will see... maybe a little more, uptop about 42 more megs when you use the /3GB and the USERVA=3030 switch..

These switches, take 1gb off the system allocated space, so the user mode, (virtual space) can use up to 3gb, so exchange may take up to 3gb, but it never does, it just likes that 1gb limit.

Plus, in my experience over the past 20 years of computer tech work, once you get into loading more than 1gb for exchange store... the errors start to increase immensely...  

These limits all suck in the world of 32bit, and 2003 exchange, and it maybe time to just move up to SBS-2011, where the fun of limits get real hectic..

Just my thoughts

-sapphire
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Using this switch reduces the memory available in the following system pools:

    Nonpaged Pool
    Paged Pool
    System Page Table Entries (PTEs)

Check this artcile
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/815372
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
It sounds as though I have set the switch correctly. But the event in event viewer still says memeory not optimal for excha,ge.  Does that ever go away?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
/3GB switch with /USERVA

have you got both, and checked with Best Practice Analyzer
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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Sapphire_Commented:
This is the best source I've ever used regarding memory usage in Exchange 2003

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/815372

-sapphire
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
Thanks but can someone answer my last question with certainty?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
if the event is still there after a store restart, switches are not correct.
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
Then how do I confirm other than event viewer that it is set correctly incorrectly? I found a vbscript that said it was coRrect.  I have read many many links and tried many many different ways of making this fully patched new dell hardware optimize its ram with no luck. Dell enterprise support couldn't hekp and neither could my consultant.  The bpa says I have the issue still.  Is there a perfmon or script u know of that can confirm?
Thanks everyone for your help!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
BPA will report the correct settings, what have you got in boot.ini.

and are you having issues, that requires these switches?

We still have 2003 in production, on 4GB Servers, Exchange 2003, with 2,000 mailboxes per server, and we do not have any store issues.
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
Will post info when at desk in morning thank u
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
OK, back at this now...

In my Boot.ini I have ..."Windows Server 2003, Standard" /3GB /userva=3030 /fastdetect  and I have tried every combination of those three switches.  I've eliminated two, eliminated one, moved /fastdetect to first, everything.  I have also tried many different settings on the /userva= like 2900 etc.  I should mention that I am not new to this as I've been at it 20 years as well.  I have also read about as many links as I care too at this point.  I don't think a lack of the fundamentals is the issue here.  The server is a Dell R510 with 4GB RAM.  I've worked with Dell on any potential BIOS issues and they could come up with none.  I've tried several options in the BIOS whose names I don't recall at present.  But you cleared up one important point which is that this error "this servers memory settings in not optimal for exchange" does go away when the switch is set properly.  I have never, in 3 different jobs, in 3 different exchange 2003 deployments, been able to make that setting work as I expected.  My assumption is that this error actually goes away when set properly and I started to think maybe that expectation was wrong.

Here is a point I would like clarification on.  Does this script seem like it should be reliable to you?  It tells me my /3GB settings are CORRECT!  http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/WindowsTips/Windows2003/AdminTips/Admin/Verifyingthe3GBswitch.html

We have 250 HEAVY users on this server with 10, 20, 30GB mailboxes (I know, I know, I don't want to hear it :)  )  The server is connected via (4) isci NICs back to a Cisco 3750 and then a NetApp filer with SAS disks.  I can see the iscsi is barely touched at 2% capacity.  However, perfmon shows me clearly that % disk time, Avg. read queue and Avg. write queue are all slipping into bottlenecks several times an hour.  Where % disk time shouldn't break 50% it frequently does and where Avg. read/write queue shouldn't break 2.0 it frequently does.  Also, I can cause a disk bottleneck by running an advanced find from outlook and looking for a word in both the subject and message body.  I can watch real time and see the perfmon counters skyrocket.  However, I have not yet compared my memory usage to disk usage via perfmon yet and will do that as soon as i am in the office and report back.  My paging file is barely touched at 1.8GB and I have 2GB free in RAM (though if exchange isn't using it optimally - IDK).  I realize you can't accurately judge without both RAM and Disk being measured at the same time, but one thing lead to another and you know how things go sometimes...  Either way, I still have the event viewer message telling my my /3GB setting isn't optimizing memory, which is why being certain that this error will clear when configured properly is so important.

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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
also, i will re-run the BPA today.  I have not done this since installation a few months ago.  I will report back.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Script looks correct.
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
So this is an email I just fired off to the author of that script.  let me know you thoughts on it if you care to.

Mitch

Thank you for writing the /3GB vbscript for Exchange 2003.  I am in search of an answer as to why my Exchange server is reporting memory settings are not optimal for Exchange.  I am guessing that the /3GB switch is set correctly on my server, but MS throws the error mistakenly.   Your script indicates my server has the following:

MaxProcessMemorySize: 3102592

As a sanity check, I ran it on another Exchange 2003 server of mine that does not use either switch and the output was exactly as expect:

MaxProcessMemorySize: 2097024

The reason I am contacting you is to ask why, on your post, you say the expected output when both switches are working is 3104640, but my server reports 3102592.   I do have userva=3030.  I am guessing the discrepency is due to the way the Dell BIOS on my R510 is handling memory and it is using a certain block for some other function.  If this is the root of the discrepency, would you guess that Microsoft is looking for exacly the memory output you suggest and because that is not the result, the system keeps generating the:

Event Type: Warning
Event Source: MSExchangeIS
Event Category: General
Event ID: 9665
Date: 12/15/2011
Time: 6:44:03 PM
User: N/A
Computer: SWBST700
Description:
The memory settings for this server are not optimal for Exchange.
Lastly, if this is all true, would you think I could just ignore the errors and assume my Exchange server is optimized.  I greatly appreciate your time in answering this very perplexing question!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
9665 is probably being generated because it looks at various settings when store starts up, these registry settings were needed in 2000, but not 2003, if BPA states everything is okay, you can set a registry entry to stop these information warnings.
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
This is the output from my BPA.  Let's please ignore any issue that doesn't pertain direclty to the /3GB problem.  Based on this output, am I correct in assuming that I do not have the /3GB problem that the Event Viewer tells me I do?  Are any of these directly related to the /3GB issue?

1.  Server <mail server>l has 1 GB or more of memory, accommodates 453 mailboxes, and the 'HeapDeCommitFreeBlockThreshold' parameter has not been set to 262144. Virtual memory may become quickly fragmented and system instability may occur

Free page table entries (PTE) on server <mail server> is at the critical threshold. System instability may occur. Current free PTE count: 4642
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
Yeah, so after reading about these it seems that:

/3GB is fine and working

MS reads for PTE and HeapDeCommitFreeBlockThreshold and sees it isn't set properly and throws the 9665.

So my ROOT concern about excessive disk usage will likely not be corrected by the PTE and HeapDeCommitFreeBlockThreshold parameter, though it may help a little.

Does that sound about right?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Okay, for a healthy Exchange Server should have at ;east 5,000 system PTEs available at all times. If the figure is below 5000 and above 3001, the message is displayed as above.

If you are using at least Exchange 2003 SP1, you can correct this issue, by changing SystemPages to 0 in the registry.

Now, this is also interested, because the Store.exe on startup also checks SystemPages registry key on servers with more than 3GB, and will issue the 9665 message, if SystemPages is not configured for Optimal performance.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
To correct this warning on Windows Server 2003

    Open a registry editor, such as Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe.

    Navigate to:
    HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

    In the right pane, double-click SystemPages.

    In the Value data field, type 0, and then click OK.

    Close the registry editor and restart the computer for the change to take effect.

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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
I think it is safe to conclude that the 9665 is referring to the two messages above and not the /3GB switch.  

I will award points in a bit.  Thank you everyone who contributed!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Event ID 9665, is a Store based message, which is generated by inspecting registry values.
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JohnDemerjianAuthor Commented:
Thanks very much
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