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Fast dwindling Exchange Server system drive space!

Posted on 2014-11-19
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Last Modified: 2014-11-28
How on earth can I find out what is eating up my exchange server system drive fast?  It seems to be dropping around 10% a day and the drive is 134Gb.  Short of trawling through large files using a file size application, or seeing what has been created recently, where is a good place to start?  I have noticed the log files are massive and already moved some of those, perhaps something has been turned on or it is monitoring something I do not know about.  The only changes I know of are Windows Updates and a problem starting the IMAP4 component which has been resolved.

Any good ideas troubleshooting this?
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Question by:fuzzyfreak
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tshearon earned 300 total points
ID: 40452445
What are your maintenance settings for the mail databases on this server? It sounds as if your backups are not running or at least you are not using maintenance. After a backup is done log files should be purged based on your maintenance settings.

You can check to see when your last successful backup was done by running the following in EMS:

get-mailboxdatabase -status | select name, last*

This will give you the last backup time of the database.
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by:Uptime Legal Systems
Uptime Legal Systems earned 100 total points
ID: 40452492
Yes, it's likely the logs, it'll spin up a 1MB file every few seconds.  You could optionally enable circular logging to keep the drive space under control.
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by:valmatic
valmatic earned 50 total points
ID: 40452512
When i had the issue it was just like they described above. Basically the backups were not successful (full) ones. So the logs would grow and grow since they did not purge since they were not backup up successfully.

So i called Microsoft and as he said above they had me change them to circular logging which purges all the old logs. If you do not have a successful backup by purging these logs my understanding is any diff/inc restores would not be successful.
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by:rindi
rindi earned 50 total points
ID: 40452581
As mentioned above, you must make full backups for the logs to get cleaned, and that full backup must be successful and the backup utility used must be exchange aware. Windows Server Builtin backup is exchange aware, but you still need to monitor the backups to make sure they are 100% OK.

If you mainly run incremental backups, or if you are using an Exchange unaware backup tool, enable circular logging as has been mentioned already. You'll still have to check that your backups haven't failed though, as with circular logging enabled, should a backup fail, your chances of restoring parts of the exchange store via the logs would diminish.
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40460595
Thanks guys, you were right, my backups had been failing.  I am running one now and will come back to you to see if this resolves.
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40466989
Unfortunately I am having problems getting my backup to run and presumably because of this the logs are not getting purged.
Could somebody please tell me either -
How do I run maintenance manually, or
How do I change logs to circular

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40466996
Your main course of action should be to get the backups running first. What backup tool are you running, at what point and with what error message does it fail?
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by:tshearon
ID: 40467052
If it 2010 you can change to circular logging in the EMC organization configuration by right clicking on the mailbox and selecting properties. Then Choose the maintenance tab and select 'Enable Circular Logging'. This will clear your logs out though so if you want to keep them make sure you move them somewhere else except for ones that have not yet committed.

Fixing your backup issues should be your first priority though unless you are out of space to the point where Exchange back presure has become an issue.
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40467089
Hi, with the backups I am reliant upon Nova Backup getting back to me by e-mail.
The problem appeared to relate to permissions on our backup device, so not related to my Exchange server.
It is Exchange 2013, so if this can be resolved through the Exchange admin centre, that would be useful.
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by:tshearon
ID: 40467097
Its pretty much the same routine, just different interface. Go to Servers then Databases and select the database you want logging changed on. Then select 'Edit' and click on 'Maintenance'. There you can select 'Enable circular logging'. Then just click save and you are good.
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40467099
OK, so I know how to do this but just read that I should not do this if I wish to use VSS (which I do).
So, I am stuck!
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by:tshearon
ID: 40467119
Of course not, all backups softwares use VSS to backup Exchange. The following is what restrictions you have by circular logging:

•If enabled during the backup operation or the recovery operation, you cannot restore individual databases.

•Only point-in-time recovery operations are possible.

•You cannot perform incremental or differential backup operations.

But you backup solution is not working so this is not a current issue for you. When you get your backup running correctly or are in the process of doing so you will then need to disable circular logging. Also remember that when enabling/disabling circular logging you will need to dismount and remount your database so it is best to do this at a time where you can afford the momentary outage.
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40467120
OK, for note, these are the locations of the log files taking up about 50Gb of space (combined) -

C:\inetpub\logs\LogFiles\W3SVC2
C:\UKHAREX01\Logs
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40467127
good point, thanks.
Any idea how to dismount/remount the database?
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by:tshearon
ID: 40467135
Easiest way is the shell:

Dismount-Database -Identity Your_database_name

And then...

Mount-Database -Identity Your_database_name

This is assuming you are doing it from the server where the database resides.
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by:tshearon
ID: 40467145
BTW, you can probably remove most of the logs in C:\inetpub\logs\LogFiles\W3SVC2. Those are IIS logs. I would move them somewhere else where you have space (like another server) and delete them after a given time period you are comfortable with.
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40467328
OK, all done, problem temporarily resolved. - 30gb back in a few seconds work, thank you all very much for your help on this.
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40468686
Before I close this off, and I realise this is off topic, but referring to tshearon's comment about moving/removing the IIS logs. Could you please tell me where these logs are configured i.e. where I can change its location.  I am rather confused why IIS logs are generating on my Exchange server - we don't use IIS - or at least, if we would, that would be on another server.
I just launched IIS but it wanted to connect to a server and the local server did not work.
If this is off topic, I'll happily open a new case.
Thanks
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by:tshearon
ID: 40468784
All mailbox roles in 2013 utilize IIS. For example, on your client access role, the virtual directories used for client access are IIS. Anyway, you configure logging in IIS by opening it and drilling to the default web site then selecting Logging in the Features view. Here is an article about configuring IIS7 from Microsoft.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732079%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

Why you aren't connecting? I'm not sure. That is another issue. But you should be able to.
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by:fuzzyfreak
ID: 40470424
Excellent feedback, thanks guys.
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