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Exchange Server 2007, Mounting an Information Store to an External Hard Drive?

Posted on 2013-12-26
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Last Modified: 2014-02-14
All,
My Exchange Server 2007 is running out of disk space. I know that it will fail when the available disk space reaches a certain percentage of the actual size. The Server OS is Server 2008.

I am wondering if I can mount the information store to an external hard drive attached to the actual exchange server itself.

This is going to become a real problem for me.

Thanks for your help and suggestions.
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Question by:carloc
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Expert Comment

by:tsaico
ID: 39741281
Running it on an external hard drive will technically work, and you can move the DB to it and Exchange won't complain, but I really, really do not recommend it.  There are just way too many things that can go wrong with this setup,  from poor throughput to accidental removal, no failure protection, write caching, the list goes on.

The fastest way would be to just add new drives to your server and then move the DB to your new server.  It would also be almost as easy as adding the USB, and cost wise it is easily justifiable. Down time would be less than 30 minutes if your server does not have hot swap drive bays
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39741283
It would technically work. Performance will be awful if you use anything less than ISB3 or eSATA though. And I'd be very concerned with data corruption if either the data cable or the external power cable became unplugged. More possibilities for failure, and thus corruption.

So while it can, as I said "technically" work, I'd recommend finding a way to bump your internal storage instead if at all possible. Hard drives aren't that expensive these days.
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Expert Comment

by:dsnegi_25dec
ID: 39741303
No doubt technically it will work without any issue.

not recommended there would be a chance for database corruption , Slower data move, Performance, Consistency issues.
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Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 39741401
A USB drive would not be able to support multiple requests. While technically this could work, I would say performance would be so bad it would be unusable in production.
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Assisted Solution

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 167 total points
ID: 39741557
It isn't going to work, technically or otherwise.
Exchange will not allow you to move a database to an external drive of any description. If Windows sees the drive as an external drive then it will be unavailable to Exchange.

An external drive isn't going to be quick enough to do anything with.
Your only option is going to be additional hard disks or a new server.

Simon.
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Expert Comment

by:tsaico
ID: 39742028
While we agree the external will be horrible, here is a another experts-exchange user who had done just that as a temporary measure on a different job.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/Q_27698982.html

-and another guy who did it and it screwed him.
http://serverfault.com/questions/120256/disk-i-o-error-copying-a-exchange-2007-database

But in any case, I think we made it clear...  it is a bad idea.
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Author Comment

by:carloc
ID: 39742391
Thanks Guys.
A different question then. What is the percentage of free disk space required before the information store fails, and stops responding.

I have 893 GB storage and 207 GB free space.

Thanks
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Gareth Gudger earned 167 total points
ID: 39742405
The information store maintains scratch files that will prevent corruption should the disk fill up. If the disk gets critically low the Information Store will just reject messages and those messages will just fill up in the transport queues on the Hub server and remain their until the Information Store can receive messages again. So basically the database will become locked and not be able to be written too. Then you have to start worrying about your Hub server filling up, or, the drive the transport queues are on.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39742413
Back pressure kicks in at 500MB free space on 2007 with SP1 or higher.
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Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 39742447
That's the term I couldn't remember! :)
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Author Comment

by:carloc
ID: 39742523
my server is a single standalone. All services are combined into a single instance of Exchange.

I also have an new exchange 2013 server and have started migrating mailboxes, but the migration process is very slow and I can't just move all mailboxes at once.

My concern is that I will run into problems  before I complete migrating mailboxes.

From your comments it would seem that I have plenty of space left before my current Exchange has a problem.
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Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 39742524
You are good. Maybe move the big mailboxes first. :)
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Assisted Solution

by:tsaico
tsaico earned 166 total points
ID: 39742643
Oh, also, don't forget you can move the log files and that in of itself can be quite a few gigs.
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Author Closing Comment

by:carloc
ID: 39860461
Sorry for my very late response.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions on this problem. I have been cleaning out my current server and deleting as many mailboxes as possible. I have also been able to migrate half of the mailboxes to a new Exchange 2013 server.

Again Thank you for your suggestions.
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