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Best Practices on Managing Space on an Exchange Server 2010

Hello Experts

I want to know how you are managing the space on the Exchange Server . First of all does the Local archiving on desktop is freeing the space of the database on the Server?

There is a possibility in Exchange 2010 to generate a pst File Does that free some Space on the server ?

How do you manage when people are leaving the Organisation? to free the space used by their Mailbox on the server?

A user that has a 20Go mailbox on the server what can be done to bring this number to a normal size?

Rgds
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gazambey
Asked:
gazambey
1 Solution
 
Marshal HubsEmail ConsultantCommented:
HI Gazambey,

It would not be possible here to explain how to manage the disk space on Exchange server as the procedure to manage the disk space(including deletion of the data) is a long process. So, I have found a very useful post which contains answers of your every query - http://searchexchange.techtarget.com/tip/Simple-fixes-for-Exchange-Server-disk-space-consumption-issues
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Mohammed KhawajaCommented:
With respect to space, you must understand the fact that deletion of mailboxes, mail items, etc. will not free up disk space as far as the OS is concerned.  Once a database file is grown to a certain size, cleanup will not shrink the file, what you will get though is whitespace (free space) in the file which could be used by new data.  If you want to release the whitespace to the OS (i.e. shrink the file) then you need to run ESEUTIL to shrink the file and this will require downtime.
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Adam FarageEnterprise ArchCommented:
@Mohammed,

Is it no longer recommended by MSFT to run ESEUTIL /D to reclaim white space since Exchange 2007. If you create a new mailbox database (and in Exchange 2007 storage group) and move those mailboxes there, the whitespace is dropped. It keeps the mailboxes online (in Exchange 2010) and is a safer alternative.

I want to know how you are managing the space on the Exchange Server

FIrst thing first is to make sure you actually enable a mailbox quota at the database level, so all users have a quota in the organization and when they fill up there mailbox (exceed quota) they are forced to clean them. This is a best practice not because it simplified administration, but when you size an organization it allows the Administrator to properly size the disk space and IOPS that will be assigned to the actual database LUN (or whatever your storage is).

There is a possibility in Exchange 2010 to generate a pst File Does that free some Space on the server ?

How do you manage when people are leaving the Organisation? to free the space used by their Mailbox on the server?

When items (mailboxes or mail items) are removed from a mailbox database, they dont truly leave right away (unless you "purge" them). When a mailbox item (calendar, contact, mail item, ect) is deleted you will have single item recovery in most cases holding onto it in the Recoverable Items \ Deletion folder (which is hidden within EMC, you would have to use MFCMAPI to view it or Outlook by doing "Recover Deleted Items") until the retention period is over.

You can view the single item recovery times along to see if it is enabled by doing the following:

Get-Mailbox -ResultSize Unlimited | Select Identity, SingleItemRecoveryEnabled, RetainDeletedItemsFor | Export-CSV C:\SIR.csv

Open in new window


Get-MailboxDatabase | Select Identity, DeletedItemRetention | Export-CSV C:\DIR.csv

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This will give you a nice excel sheet that shows you who and what has SIR.

When you remove a mailbox, that mailbox will stay in a soft deleted state until it reaches the mailbox database retention period. You can view the soft delete retention period by running the following:
Get-MailboxDatabase -ResultSize Unlimited | Select Identity, MailboxRetention | Export-CSV C:\MailboxRetention.csv

Open in new window


You can view all disabled / soft deleted mailboxes (which are technically disconnected by doing the following commands:
Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisconnectReason -eq "Disabled" } | ft DisplayName,Database,DisconnectDate

Open in new window


Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisconnectReason -eq "SoftDeleted" } | ft DisplayName,Database,DisconnectDate

Open in new window


Now with all of this said.. although items may expire within the retention set for them, even when they are cleaned up from the database this creates what is called "whitespace". Whitespace is space that is cleared up and zeroed out by the Online Maintenance (OLM), making it usable for other mailbox tasks (such as mailbox expansion and new mailboxes). Since the EDB file (database file) does not shrink, in theory the IO is reduced by a lot as it is no longer making durable writes to the disk. Without these durable writes, the actual IOPS required for most tasks are much faster while there is white space to be used.

If you want to clear out whitespace, some folks say "run ESEUTIL /D" which is an offline defrag. MSFT says dont for a few reasons:

- You need 110% free space to run an offline defrag
- There is a possibility of corruption
- Once ESEUTIL /D is started in theory you should not stop it
- Its a long process, and the database has to be offline

It is now recommended to simply create a new mailbox database, and then move all mailboxes to that new database. The mailbox replication service only replicates the items that are apart of the mailbox, and does not replicate whitespace so that is the SAFE way to shrink down the .EDB file. Once the move is done, delete the old mailbox.

A user that has a 20Go mailbox on the server what can be done to bring this number to a normal size?

As stated above, you cannot actually shrink the EDB file down but you can manage the mailbox. I would recommend a retention policy / retention tags to delete any message older than XYZ without allowing recovery. The alternate option here also is to allow the user to archive locally to PST.

Here is a really old blog I wrote a while ago on retention tags and policies:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/theexchangeguy/archive/2012/06/04/retention-polices-and-tags-101.aspx
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gazambeyAuthor Commented:
Adam You are really an expert . thx you  of taking your time to answer all my questions
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Adam FarageEnterprise ArchCommented:
No problem pal, any questions let us know.
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