Exchange 2007 DataBase Volume Almost out of space, Id like your thoughts.

We have an exchange server that has a 430 gb volume ( RAID 5)  on which the Databases (4 total) are stored, on which there is about 8 gb of free space.  The server also has a volume that is separate from the OS that we use for the Log Files(  RAID 1 mirror ).  That volume has about 100 gb of free space.  the OS Volume (RAID1 mirror) has about 90 gb of free space.
The data bases are quite old and have not been defraged in years, mainly because there has not been anyt8ing wrong with them, they are just growing too large for the drives in the server. I am looking to do two things here... first and foremost, shrink the databases and white space to the least amount possible, and two, re-organize the way we have mail stored in the databases. I would like your input as to perhaps achieve the same but with fewer steps and perhaps less administrator intensive. So here is my plan....

1) move the log files for all 4 data bases to the OS volume. ( this frees up a entire volume)
2) replace the 143 gb drives with 600gb drives and recreate the Mirror (RAID 1)
3) Create a new Storage group and then create  some new Databases
4) starting with the largest mail boxes, move them to the newly created databases on the new volume.
5) after all the mailboxes are moved off the database volume, replace the 4 143 gb drives with 4 600gb drives and then recreate the volume
6) using the ESM , move the location of the data bases from the mirror tot he new much larger raid 5.
7) remove the 600gb drives used as the temporary space for the moving of the databases and replace them with the original 143 gb mirror drives as were before we got started.
thank you for your ears eyes and your  thoughts.
CCNPwanabeAsked:
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
How many database stores do you have ?

I would start with the smallest Storage Group and create a new Storage Group for it and then move the mailboxes to the new Storage group.
Ie You have Store_A I would create StoreA2 and move all mailboxes for this storage group.

How many mailboxes do you have in total?
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CCNPwanabeAuthor Commented:
We have 4 total, 2 of which are a little more than 210gb and2 are small, less than 10 gb
we have about 450 mail boxes.  what we want to do is segregate the huge mail boxes from the rest of them  so if something really nasty happens, we can say I told you so when people who demand to know why they don't have their email back while others do, we can say, well we asked that you keep your mail box under 4gb, it was 18, so it takes time to restore, so be patient.
we also want to start arranging databases by name of mailbox.. ie: a thru f, g thru k ect ect...
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Zaheer IqbalTechnical Assurance & ImplementationCommented:
Ok our setup is like this we have Storage Group for each letter of alphabet.
A to Z - and we create mailboxes in them based on first name. So for example Steve would go in Storage group S.
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
too much risk and too many moving parts that way trying to replace drives, expand existing raid, reorganize locally, move databases around, plus downtime involved with offline defragmentation and maintenance...

i would get a new server (even upgrade exchange if possible in the process) with raid 10 for your databases with sufficient storage capacity (or on san/das if possible) and move everything over gradually during off-hours

never use raid 5 for any database (exchange, sql, mysql, etc.) for performance reasons; 1 is fine for separate system volume and transaction logs
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CCNPwanabeAuthor Commented:
well we don't have the extra hardware or 30k for the licensing. so we cant go this route...
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
fair enough...then i would be very careful as you move things around

have you looked at the amount of white space in the databases?
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CCNPwanabeAuthor Commented:
I am not familiar on how to find that information.
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
if you look in the application log, filter for event id 1221 and it will tell you how much white space there is in each database when the maintenance period runs
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CCNPwanabeAuthor Commented:
4600mb in one and 16000 in another. im not counting the other databases  as there isn't a  noticeable change.
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
ok...that isn't a lot so not really advantageous to do offline defrag
whatever space is recovered will be used up anyway once the database needs to expand

not crazy about putting the databases on raid 1 but with being only a temporary measure while things are moved around it should be fine.  since additional hardware isn't an option it's difficult to try to make this with fewer steps but realistically should work - it will just take some time
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CCNPwanabeAuthor Commented:
Im not thinking because there is not that much white space to recover that I should just do a full back up of the volume that the databases are on, and then swap out the drives and restore the databases back to the new volume.  
the question is, should I go the recovery storage group method or just restore the data and try and mount the databases?
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
i would be more comfortable creating the new databases on the new drives and moving mailboxes around rather than doing flat file backups like that.  exchange is sensitive with a number of settings that are stored in AD so if you make a wrong move it can introduce problems.  it would take a bit more time to move mailboxes around like that, but it's safer (steps 3 and 4 in your list)
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CCNPwanabeAuthor Commented:
Tell me if this would work:
we take the databases off line and move the log files to a different volume(os) like we were in the first idea.  shut down all exchange related services. put brand new larger volume on the server and copy the databases to it.  remove the database  drives and replace with larger ones and then copy the data bases back over to the original volume (now larger) drive path.
restart exchange services.  will exchange notice any difference other than seeing an increase in drive space?
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
in theory, as long as the drive letter and paths are the same, it should work
i would be cautious in that approach
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