Can I free up 'white space' on and Exchange 2010 database by performing a 'Move' to a NAS, then 'Move back?

I have an SBS 2011 server (Exchange 2010) that I would like to free up 'white space' on. There is insufficient space on the partition to perform a defrag - or the other recommended option of creating a new Mail Store, moving the mailboxes to the new store, then deleting the old store.

We have a NAS though - can I simply do a database 'Move' to the NAS, then 'Move' the database back? Will this effectively remove the 'white space'? Is it even safe to move the database to a NAS - even for this purpose, which would be a brief period?

The Exchange database is around 70GB in size. Everything is Gigabit - I'm getting read/write speeds between the server and NAS of around 600mbps.

I'm not concerned with the server being offline for an extended period over a weekend - I just want to make sure I do it safely.

Thanks for any advice.
David BurnetteAsked:
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8046586Commented:
You can do it on any partition with 170GB free space.
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8046586Commented:
I would say it is the best practice if you can do iSCSI partition on your NAS drive and MAP it to your SBS for the maintenance only
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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
...or the other recommended option of creating a new Mail Store, moving the mailboxes to the new store, then deleting the old store.

exactly
doing an offline defrag will block users from email access because the database is dismounted

We have a NAS though - can I simply do a database 'Move' to the NAS, then 'Move' the database back?

yes you could...though it would need to be dismounted so again, interruption to user access

Will this effectively remove the 'white space'?

no...it does a file move operation on the database files from one place to another; does nothing in the database itself

I'm not concerned with the server being offline for an extended period over a weekend - I just want to make sure I do it safely.

whatever you decide, do a full backup first
you could also use the NAS for temp space when doing an offline defrag
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Todd NelsonSystems EngineerCommented:
How much white space do you actually have?  If you don't have any sufficient white space then it won't matter what you do in attempts to free up disk space.  Run the following commands to determine actual available space within the database(s).

Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | ft -auto Name,DatabaseSize,AvailableNewMailboxSpace

Open in new window

Get-PublicFolderDatabase -Status | ft -auto Name,DatabaseSize,AvailableNewMailboxSpace

Open in new window


If you have a significant amount of available space within your databases, create a new database, move the mailboxes, and then delete the old database.  An offline maintenance (including defrag just to reclaim space) is never advisable unless there is a need to fix a database from corruption or it is unable to mount.
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David BurnetteAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the feedback.

@Todd: There's only 3.7GB of white space to recover, so it may not be worthwhile given that it is not an exercise to be taken lightly. Still, it would be nice to get the space back as we are just under 20% free space on a 148GB partition.

@Seth, Todd: It sounds like best course of action is to create a new store, move the mailboxes to the new store, then delete the old store. As I don't have enough space on the server to do this, it sounds like a reasonable course of action would be to move the old store to the NAS, create the new store on the server, move the mailboxes to the new store, then remove the store from the NAS. Does this sound resonable?

Also, for for backup, would the native SBS backup suffice? Or should I do a file-level copy of the .edb file or the entire folder the edb file resides in (including the log files)?

Thanks.
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Todd NelsonSystems EngineerCommented:
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David BurnetteAuthor Commented:
Well I've just tried to move the Exchange database to the NAS to allow me to create a new mailbox database on the server and move the mailboxes back, but I get the error:

The database file path "S:\Exchange\Mailbox Database\Mailbox Database.edb" is not valid because it is not on a fixed drive.

S-drive is a mapped drive to the NAS, so it appears it's not possible to move the database to the NAS? Even just for my purposes - temporarily to create a new database on the server and move the mailboxes back?

Would running a defrag work - but pointing the temp file to the NAS because I have insufficient free space on the server? In my case I believe the command would be:

eseutil /d  "d:\Exchange\Mailbox Database\Mailbox Database.edb" /t "s:\Exchange\temp.edb"
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8046586Commented:
If you look my message I told you the best practise with NAS drive is creating iSCSI
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David BurnetteAuthor Commented:
@8046586
I am unable to create an iSCSI partition as the NAS is in use, but from my investigations it seems you are correct, and that Windows will see iSCSI as local storage and allow me to point the Exchange database to it.

So I'm awarding 8046586 'Best Solution', but Todd and Seth get 'Assisted Solution' for their valuable feedback.
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