Exchange 2010 mailbox databases growiing

We are running Exchange 2010 SP 2.  We have 4 mailbox databases on a single drive that is 709 GB.  We only have 60 GB of freespace.  Mailboxes do not have any limitations and some are 10 GB.  Users have been asked to clean up the mailboxes to reduce the size and many have.  Cleanup includes empty the trash and delete recoverable items.  But I don't see the free space increasing.  Is there something else that needs to be done?
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Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Free space does not just Apear. Deleting Items is not deleting data. Data retention policies within your exchange server will dictate when items are removed from storage. Even then the actual database will not shrink, just release space internally for reuse.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
The best way to reduce database size if you have "Freed up" a lot of space is to create a new database and then to move mailboxes to the new database and delete the old one when no more databases exist in it. Your problem is you dont have much room to start with.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
You can run the following powershell command to find out how much Free Space you have in each of your databases.

C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | ft name,databasesize,availablenewmailboxspace -auto
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Sigurdur HaraldssonSystem AdministratorCommented:
Since you have such little space left, you cannot create another mail database. Therefore, if you want to reclaim your space, you'll have to perform offline defragmentation of the database in question.

You say your users have performed a house cleaning. Therefore, you'll have lots of "white space", i.e. free space inside your database. The size of the database does not shrink accordingly, however, it just stays the same size.

Offline defrag means offline time so this is not preferred. But you can do it.

Refer to Demazter's blog on how to do it and a more detailed explanation. His blog entry is here:
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
To say he has no room when he has 60GB free is not true. We do not know how big each mailbox is now.  Having 4 mailbox databases may well easy have on or two that now contain, after user tidyup etc, less than say, 50GB.

Creating a new database and moving users is ALWAYS preferable to ANYKIND of maintenance. It is 100% safe.

You also dont state if you have additional drives OR could add a new drive? All you state is you that you have Four databases on a single drive at present.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Personaly ANYONE who suguests doing an OFFLINE defrag like sighar has, even after saying you have very little space available, obviously does NOT KNOW what they are saying.

An offline defrag requires AT THE VERY LEAST 110% of the size of your database in FREE disk space. So if you want to do an offline defrag of a 200GB database then you will require AT LEAST another 220GB of free disk space.

IF you had this free disk space then you should create the new datbase and migrate users as stated in the first place.
Sigurdur HaraldssonSystem AdministratorCommented:
mvitdept, what Neilsr says is correct.

Neilsr, thanks for correcting my in such a nice and polite manner.
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
Your welcome. I just don't like to see people offered bad advice, it can lead to them being in more trouble than they already are, sorry If i sounded harsh.
mvitdeptAuthor Commented:
thank you for all the replies.

If deleting items does not shrink the database, but gives more space internally.  Is that internal space used by existing mailboxes.  So that the database will stop increasing?

Can I move the mailboxes out of DB1 into the other 3 DBs then delete DB1?  or do I have to create a new DB and move mailboxes from DB1 to the new DB?  

running this command: C:\>Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | ft name,databasesize,availablenewmailboxspace -auto

Name DatabaseSize                     AvailableNewMailboxSpace
---- ------------                     ------------------------
DB1  156.7 GB (168,260,337,664 bytes) 705.3 MB (739,606,528 bytes)
DB2  130.8 GB (140,468,879,360 bytes) 1.767 GB (1,897,299,968 bytes)
DB3  160.7 GB (172,555,304,960 bytes) 52.75 MB (55,312,384 bytes)
DB4  169.5 GB (182,000,353,280 bytes) 1.165 GB (1,251,016,704 bytes)

Does this show that moving DB1 mailboxes and then deleting DB1 I will only gain 705 MB of space?
mvitdeptAuthor Commented:
Can the catalogData folder content be shrunk in anyway?  Exploring the folder shows some very old CI and DIR files.

Do these old files need to re retained?  some are from 2010 and 2011?

thank you
Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
As it stands you have very little recoverable space. without going into changes to retention etc, you would have to wait for 20/60/90 days for the additions space to be freed.

Would be 100% easier just to add an aditional drive to the server, move 2 databases to one drive and leave two on the existing. And a hell of a lot quicker.

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mvitdeptAuthor Commented:
I agree about adding additional space.

The $$$ is the issue.

thanks for all the input
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