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Exchange 2003 log files

Posted on 2013-02-01
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Last Modified: 2013-02-16
Hello,

I have an Exchange 2003 server and I noticed that the folder that contains the EDB and logs was over 226GB. I checked it out and discovered log files that dated back several years.

I am in the process of moving to an online backup solution so I decided to try to backup Exchange prior to setting up the new backup system. The old backup has been failing for a while now and we need to get something stable.

Once I started the backup (to disk with NTBACKUP) it hung up and eventually failed. I cancelled what was left but the server was busy at 100% so I let it sit for a while. When I came back, I noticed the server was running faster, but I also noticed all but today's logs were gone. Can someone please explain to me if I lost anything? Is it possible for the store to contain the messages in the logs even though the logs still existed or did the log files contain messages that were not "commited" for years? I have trouble believing the latter. From what I've read, the log files sit there until they are commited. Do they get commited with a full backup or just purged? I checked my folders in Outlook and I still have mail dating back to when I started almost a year ago.

Thank you in advance!

Joe
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Question by:JoeBarbone
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8 Comments
 
LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38846221
What is the last time you had a good backup ....

So much Logs could mean that there could be some sequence break or corrupted logs ..... so best could be to move with "Circular logging" and revert and then take good Online backup

How many DB's do you have and what is the DB size ?

- Rancy
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 38846243
no you didn't lose anything, the way exchange works is to keep all logs files for recovery reason until a good full backup is taken

probably you didn't have any good full backup of exchange since the date of the log files and, today, when you finally had a successful backup exchange flushed all the logs

I wouldn't advise anyone to use circular logging on a live system unless absolutely needed.

here is a good read for you http://support.microsoft.com/kb/240145
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Author Comment

by:JoeBarbone
ID: 38846624
I would be happier if I knew the backup was successful, however, it hung up and I had to kill it. Does Exchange purge only when it KNOWS the backup was successful? Maybe it WAS successful and the "hanging up" was the purging of the logs? The problem is the backup file was only a fraction of the size of the folder, but I have a feeling that after all the logs were purged, it was correct and I should have kept it to be safe.

The system seems to be running properly and all mail, even old mail seems to still be available, for me anyways, but the fact that I don't actually have a "good" backup to go back to is concerning. Although, prior to now, I didn't have a good backup anyway, but I had the log files. If something happened without a good backup, but the log files were still there, could I perform a restore from the log files?

Rancy: from what I can see, it's been a very very LONG time since it actually completed a full backup successfully. The previous admin wasn't very "hands on" and most of the environment has questionable backups. Regarding the number of DBs, are you referring to Exchange, or in general? Exchange, not sure how many DBs and the environment has about six or so, all SQL.

Thank you both for your input!

Joe
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LVL 52

Assisted Solution

by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
Manpreet SIngh Khatra earned 400 total points
ID: 38846757
Does Exchange purge only when it KNOWS the backup was successful? - Yes logs would only purge after the complete backup

If something happened without a good backup, but the log files were still there, could I perform a restore from the log files? - Only logs maybe with that use some 3rd party or MS

Is the issue with SQP or Exchange ?
How many DB's per SG and total Storage Groups ?

- Rancy
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Akhater
ID: 38846764
if the logs were flushed by exchange then a backup was successful you can simply run another backup if you don't feel comfy about the situation,
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Author Comment

by:JoeBarbone
ID: 38847263
I just want to make sure all the log information was actually safely written into Exchange and there isn't a bunch of log files with messages/transactions waiting to write but got flushed instead. Makes sense?

Got another backup today, so as long as I didn't lose anything in the past, I'm good.

Joe
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38847280
Ideally it isnt that delay and if once you enable Circular logging and restart IS it takes care of that part

- Rancy
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LVL 49

Accepted Solution

by:
Akhater earned 400 total points
ID: 38848172
you have nothing to worry about, logs are kept for recovery purposes.

Actually it is a wrong belief that operations are written to the log files and then committed to the database. In exchange operations are written simultaneously to both the database and the log files. So all info in the log files are already in the database.

again if exchange flushed the log files then a backup was taken and, if you can take another backup and make sure it is successful I wouldn't recommend to use circular logging
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