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Using Exchange 2007 with a NAS connecting via iSCSI

Hey guys,

I have an IBM server with a 300gb hard drive, and apparently that's as large as it'll go (SAS). IBM have said they don't make a bigger hard drive for this server (x3200) and won't support anything we try and squeeze in there.
We have an Exchange database on our SBS 2008 server that is 269gb, leaving about 10gb of free space and it's being eaten rapidly. I've read that you CAN use a NAS for the databases if it's connected via iSCSI, i'm just a little concerned about corruption / speed issues.
Everyone is connecting with cached mode, so the reads / writes to the database shouldn't be as intense as online mode, but having the database connected via the same connection that the rest of the network is running on freaks me out a bit. Can anyone confirm it's AOK ?
Appreciate the help.
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optimus_nz
Asked:
optimus_nz
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2 Solutions
 
Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
What is the White space .... 1221

What i would say is get a NAS create another Database move all Mailboxes and once done remove the Default database and once again re-create and move some Huge or very IMP mailbox to this new Mailbox database.

- Rancy
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optimus_nzAuthor Commented:
SBS - so I can only have 1x DB. Whitespace is 132mb.
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
In SBS 2008 i guess you have Exchange 2007 Standard and ... Exchange 2007 can have upto 5 Databases.

- Rancy
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
I personally wouldn't do it given the facts you've prevented as well as some basic assumptions I can make.

Don't get me wrong, Exchange *can* run over iSCSI just fine. But Outlook could connect to Exchange theoretically run over a WAN link just fine too, given the WAN link is fast and reliable. Most links aren't fast or stable, hence we have RPC over HTTP to accommodate Outlook over WAN.

To run Exchange over iSCSI, I wouldn't use a NAS. They just aren't built for it. They'll do fine for file-based access, but I would never run SQL or Exchange data on them. A full-blown SAN makes more sense here. And, given that, I'd have a dedicated iSCSI HBA on the server end, and a dedicated iSCSI switch, and 10Gbps.

iSCSI is, by definition, still disk commands (block level reads and writes) that just so happens to be occurring over IP. It doesn't change the rules of disk reads and writes. There is a reason SCSI (and SAS and SATA) cables have maximum length requirements. And there is a reason why SAS exists and SATA hasn't taken over the world. Performance matters and Exchange will barf if you try to do iSCSI in a suboptimal environment. Exchange doesn't know or care that it is iSCSI. It just expects reasonable disk-like performance, and you won't get there given the environment you propose and hint at.

-Cliff
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optimus_nzAuthor Commented:
Thanks Cliff, that was my thought as well. Without the cash to spend on a SAN, we have a long creek and short paddle!
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Indeed, SANs are expensive, but there are less expensive alternatives.

For example, a server that only takes 300GB hard drives makes me think this is an older server...likely out of warranty. A new server would be relatively inexpensive (compared to a SAN) and you can get the storage you need. If you have the budget, even use it as a springboard to SBS 2011.

If that is unreasonable, you could still buy a second 300GB hard drive. I've not seen a chassis that only takes one drive. Adding a drive (preferably to your RAID pool, I hope you are running RAID) would still increase your storage by a good chunk. You could create a new partition and offload the exchange database to its own dedicated partition. That'd give you more space for Exchange AND the system partition (which while not stated, seems implied that this is where the database currently resides) ...for the cost of a disk, that is a pretty reasonable upgrade.

Upgrades are inherently "long creeks" ...but the paddle is only as short as you decide to make it. I don't think you are without options.
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optimus_nzAuthor Commented:
at the moment it takes a max 4 disks, RAID 1 for C and RAID 1 for D. D is entirely exchange, C is entirely OS. C is 146gb, but that still doesn't get me around needing a bigger store.
Agree re new server, but that's apparently not on the cards at the moment due to internal upheaval... but to be expected in some shape or another in the next year. not useful now!
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optimus_nzAuthor Commented:
What if I create a secondary database on the iSCSI and put low impact users on that until the server upgrade can be pushed over the line? or is it simply too risky for the iSCSI solution even in that scenario
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
I wouldn't do it.
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optimus_nzAuthor Commented:
Ok. Thanks guys.
Rancy - can I create another database on another drive (C drive this time) and host some users on that, freeing up space from the original database?
Can I just shift users to a new database?
Have you got a good link for how to setup the new database and move the users across? Will this create white space or release the space back to the system?

ta.
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
Rancy - can I create another database on another drive (C drive this time) and host some users on that, freeing up space from the original database? - Yes you can but few things to be sure is where would be the Logs location and DB and how much space do we currently have ?

Can I just shift users to a new database? - Yes you can Move mailboxes to another DB.

Have you got a good link for how to setup the new database and move the users across? - Will share in few minutes :)

Will this create white space or release the space back to the system? - This will create White space but can only be retained after Offline Defrag (will share some details about this as well).

- Rancy
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Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
So you will have to create new Storage Group and then Mailbox Database under it .... this will mean new set of logs and DB .... or else you can create a Database under the same SG and it will use the same locationa nd goup of Log used now.

How to Create a New Mailbox Database
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb201716(v=EXCHG.80).aspx

With some screenshots
http://www.linhadecodigo.com.br/artigo/1727/criando-um-novo-mailbox-database-no-exchange-2007.aspx

Moving Mailboxes in Exchange 2007, Part 1
http://www.msexchange.org/articles_tutorials/exchange-server-2007/management-administration/moving-mailboxes-exchange-2007-part1.html


- Rancy
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optimus_nzAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the comments guys. Dodged the NAS and cleaned up enough space until the new drives arrive.
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