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Exchange 2003 Dilemma

Posted on 2013-05-10
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hello experts,

I have a bit of a dilemma on my hands and I'm not sure the best approach to buying some time out of our 9-year-old 2003 Exchange server. Our 2010 upgrade is happening within the next 2 weeks and the ball is rolling with that, but just as of this week, we've had a bunch of issues with our current Exchange box...users reporting "Contacting the server for information", slowness, Outlook 2010 not responding, etc. After research, it appears that highly fragmented drives might be causing the problem.

Here's the current specs of our 2003 box:

Dell PowerEdge 2650
1GB RAM
Intel Xeon 3.06GHz

System C:\ = 16.9GB total, 2.42GB free
Logs and Database D:\ = 136GB total, 103GB free

C:\ is two mirrored drives, and D:\ is believed to be RAID 5 with 3 drives. I am not sure of the best way of determining D:\'s RAID layout. Should I bring the server down and boot into the RAID BIOS to see this?

C:\ is reporting 48% total fragmentation, with 80% file fragmentation.
D:\ is reporting 46% total fragmentation, with 93% file fragmentation.

I just need to buy enough time out of this server last 2 more weeks, and to migrate our mailboxes (about 80 currently) to the new servers. Should I defrag these drives, and what should I do before defragmenting?

Thanks so much for your help with this mess I've inherited!
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Question by:FirstCap
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Ben Hart earned 333 total points
ID: 39155456
Wow dude.. you're def in a pickle.

Ok first off, I'd try adding any more ram that you can quickly.. that'd be the easiest bump in performance.

Yes I'd gather some downtime at night and verify the RAID level on your data volume and possible run a defrag on that same volume.  Defragging C: wont help much with regards to client perceived performance.. but it'd be a good idea if you have the time.
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by:BurundiLapp
BurundiLapp earned 167 total points
ID: 39155493
DELL OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) should work with your server model to allow you view your RAID setup without needing to down and it and go into the RAID BIOS (presuming it has a DELL PERC card in it)  It's free, just put your service tag in the dell support site.

I would definitely defrag the drives but also check the Exchange databases as well using eseutil.  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/192185 - AFTER a full backup of course.

Also be aware there are speed issues with Outlook 2010 and Exchange 2003, particulary around calendars.

As ubadmin says, if you have more RAM stick it in, it won't hurt, 1GB is barely enough for Windows 2003, let alone Exchange as well.

I'd also try freeing up what space you can on C: , use something like TreeSize to find any large files or folders on the drive and if they are safe to move or delete do so.
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by:Ben Hart
Ben Hart earned 333 total points
ID: 39155522
I'd normally agree with Burundi above with regards to eseutil.. however it processes data VERY SLOWLY so you may or may not be able to get the downtime required for it and the defrag.  Plus with only two weeks left, chances are you can limp by.
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by:FirstCap
ID: 39155622
Thanks guys, I'll look into OMSA this morning. Also, I forgot to mention it has a Dell PERC 3/Di controller.

The most RAM I can give it is out of a decommissioned 2650 we have--and only 512mb max that I can add. Better than nothing, I suppose. I will factor that in once I get a plan together for some overnight downtime.

Still considering the limp-along idea though too, with our imminent upgrade...Pickle indeed. No complaints yet from our users today so far though.
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Expert Comment

by:Ben Hart
ID: 39155700
I, for one, cannot believe it ran very well at all with only 1gig of ram.. That's just, like wow. :)
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by:FirstCap
ID: 39164624
Thanks for the help guys--we decided to limp it along and it's been doing OK. Tomorrow is it's last day serving us for 9 years and we are moving to Exchange 2010 in the evening.
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