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exchange 2003 server log files not truncated after complete NTbackup

Posted on 2014-03-16
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Last Modified: 2014-04-24
I have exchange 2003 server and it recently crashed. I was checking the server and it seems the hard drive ran out of space but at closer look it seems that the exchange server transaction .log files at c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata folder have grown to an extreme amount.

So I investigated this and it seems if you make a full (normal) backup of the exchange server 2003 DB using NTBACKUP it will automatically truncate or flush the log files from the c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata folder.

I did perform this NTBACKUP and it took 5 hours for the back to complete but it did complete successfully I believe - here is the ntbackup final report:

Backup Status
Operation: Backup
Active backup destination: File
Media name: "Exchange Server BKUP 3-15-14.bkf created 3/15/2014 at 9:15 PM"

Volume shadow copy creation: Attempt 1.
Backup of "EMAIL\Microsoft Information Store\First Storage Group"
Backup set #1 on media #1
Backup description: "Set created 3/15/2014 at 9:15 PM"
Media name: "Exchange Server BKUP 3-15-14.bkf created 3/15/2014 at 9:15 PM"

Backup Type: Normal

Backup started on 3/15/2014 at 9:15 PM.
Backup completed on 3/16/2014 at 12:35 AM.
Directories: 4
Files: 10
Bytes: 87,360,447,768
Time:  3 hours,  19 minutes, and  50 seconds

----------------------

Verify Status
Operation: Verify After Backup
Active backup destination: File
Active backup destination: Z:\exchange db BKUP\Exchange Server BKUP 3-15-14.bkf

Verify of "EMAIL\Microsoft Information Store\First Storage Group"
Backup set #1 on media #1
Backup description: "Set created 3/15/2014 at 9:15 PM"
Verify started on 3/16/2014 at 12:35 AM.
Verify completed on 3/16/2014 at 2:05 AM.
Directories: 4
Files: 0
Different: 0
Bytes: 87,360,447,768
Time:  1 hour,  29 minutes, and  54 seconds

----------------------




Now that the backup is successfully complete the server still has the same drive space issue and the exchange server transaction log files have NOT been truncated or removed.

I was reading into why this would happen and this article:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/exchange/en-US/79c8f5b9-6d05-4d0e-90d4-5854e9d72639/how-to-manual-delete-the-transaction-logs?forum=exchangesvrgenerallegacy


states "Do not permanently delete the transaction log files until you have successfully completed a full online backup of all the databases in the storage group"

I believe I only have one DB in my storage group and i have supplied a picture of my exchange setup - can you look at it and let me know what i am missing here?

Do i need to reboot the server for the log truncating to take place?

Thanks in advance.
exchange.png
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Question by:IT_Field_Technician
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22 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39932552
Is there an option in the 2003 NTbackup wizard to truncate the logs?

In the 2008r2 version, you have to specifically check an option in the backup wizard under advanced settings to tell it to do this.
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932556
No there is no specific option to truncate logs in the NTbackup program. As far as i could see anyways. Any other ideas?
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39932558
Do you have a routine backup for this server? Do you do message level backup?

If you are not doing message level backup, you COULD enable circular logging.

Otherwise, since you backed up, I would dismount the DB and manually move the logs files to a different location on your drive. After, remount the DB and ensure everything works as it should. If it does for a few days, delete the logs you moved. (basically follow the steps in the link you provided)

Also.. just to make sure you knew if you did not. Exchange Server 2003 goes end of support next month. http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/?alpha=Exchange+Server
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932559
I believe the option of selecting (normal) full backup is what sets the option for the logs to be truncated. Which is the type of backup I chose and performed.
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932565
I have block level backup in place for this machine as it is a VM and is replicated instantly to another device.

I have recently inherited this setup and am not sure what regular backups are in place. I am also pretty new to exchange. Is there someplace i could go to see if there is a regular NTbackup job so i could answer your questions?
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Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39932581
It would probably be under Task Scheduler or in the Windows Server 2003 backup utility.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb123553(v=exchg.65).aspx
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932637
OK There are no scheduled tasks to run any backups and there are no scheduled backup jobs to run as far as i could see in the NTbackup program.

So considering i have just created a backup which by the way how do i verify that the backup was full and complete? Is there a way to see if all the mailboxes are in the .bak file?

According to you and my reading of this article:

http://www.msexchange.org/articles-tutorials/exchange-server-2003/planning-architecture/Exchange-log-disk-full.html


enable circular logging seems to be my best bet! Correct?
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Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39932650
Yes.. as long as your block level backup is not quiescing the Exchange server and you are not doing message level backup.
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932652
I f i did a full normal backup is this considered to be message level backup of my exchange database?
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39932655
That is not a message level backup. A message level backup is usually done by third party software and allows you to do item level recovery of Exchange emails.
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932662
Oh I see well the block level backup in place will allow me to restore either specific files or entire Vm's from an hourly schedule.

This means i would be able to restore exchange server DB files to an hour ago if need be.

So with this all said i should be able to enable circular logging and click ok and it will automatically delete/truncate all old log files and clean up space on the drive instantly?

Or is there something else i need to do to delete the log files from the mdbdata folder after i select this option?
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Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39932673
I think it requires a reboot of the Exchange services or the entire VM itself. I would just reboot the VM to be on the safe side after enabling it.

Then it may take a little time to go through the logs.
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932676
OK but before i do enable this

How do i verify that the backup was full and complete? Is there a way to see if all the mailboxes are in the .bak file?

Thanks so much for your help!
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39932678
With server 2003, I am not sure of a good way to check the .bak other than doing a test restore. And the .bak would be the entire OS or Exchange DB... and the Exchange DB is essentially a file containing the the mailboxes within it.. so the only way to look is restoring the VM (that I can think of).

But your log earlier shows it was successful.
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932680
I just want to be certain that i could do a full and complete restore of exchange if need be and i want to be sure i have all that is required to do that in this .bak file!!!!
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39932709
The only way to ensure all of that is to do a test restore into a new VM.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 39932718
this is a virtual machine?

what about adding an additional virtual disk and relocating the transaction logs there?
that will free space on C and allow the databases to be mounted and provide a short-term solution so you can at least get services running again and allow more time to work on the log issue
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932779
Yes this is a VM and adding another disk is an option. But how do i choose the logs to relocate? Do i need to detach exchange db to moved the log files?
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932791
I do see that windows archive has highlighted in blue the log files that are archivable to windows. IS it safe to move only these log files to a 2nd VM disk and again do i need to first stop and detach the exchange DB before moving the files?
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932797
can you send me exact deatils on how to stop and detach the exchange DB if this is needed?

thanks!
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LVL 35

Accepted Solution

by:
Seth Simmons earned 500 total points
ID: 39932811
no need to do anything with the databases when moving log files

How to move Exchange databases and logs in Exchange Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/821915

you only need to look at the first part about moving the logs; no need to move the databases unless the logs are not claiming a lot of space then you might want to consider moving databases also but start with the logs; one step at a time
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Author Comment

by:IT_Field_Technician
ID: 39932847
OK so wait - I think i found my immediate solution - these archivable log files from 2011 are able to be moved from the mdbdata folder as i just moved some to a network drive and deleted those same log files from 2011 off of my exchange VM c drive. This has freed up some space and exchange still seems to be working without a problem.


This has basically bought me some time until i could figure out the best course of action.

Thanks so much for your help!
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