Thursday, March 12, 2015

Methods to fix Exchange Server Disk space problems

Of course ‘Bigger is better’ in various cases and it is also very true in case of Exchange Server. Even though with the massive availability of multi-terabyte hard disks, the MS Exchange Server can use huge amount of disk spaces. Otherwise, the flow of email exchange between two email clients may be severely delayed.

So in order to prevent any sort of interruption in the email flow, Microsoft supports the use of dynamic disks for the mailboxes of Exchange Server 2013. But Microsoft also states that basic disks should be used instead of dynamic disks.

From time to time, Exchange expert suggests different ways to increase the disk spaces. Some of the most effective ways are discussed below:

      1)  By Exchange archiving – It is an effective way to reduce the size of mailbox without deleting any content but it require another mailbox database for storage. But it is also possible that your Server may run out of space, and then you need to buy another Exchange license to fulfill your desired space requirement.

      2)   By use of multiple databases- The Exchange Server like version 2010 has made great improvements in the performance and its use of disks. Its gives a new vision for many organizations as large mailboxes can be combined with cheap storage.

From the above mention methods it can be concluded that it doesn’t provide the full-fledged solution of Exchange Server disk space requirement.  However, there are many more highly recommended methods which are discussed below:

 a)  By deleting the data from full databases: One of the easiest ways to reduce the disk space consumption is deleting of the data from the databases. But you can notice that by simply deleting the public-folder or mailbox data won’t shrink the database; you also need to perform an offline defragmentation.

However an offline defragmentation requires quite a bit of disk spaces as Exchange creates a temporary database.  As the process continues; the primary database copies all the data to the temporary database. In short, it means that you require enough free disk space for the smooth running of the whole process.
You need to execute the following command to perform the offline defragmentation.

ESEUTIL /D <database name>

     b)  By adjusting the recovery limits: It is another useful way to reduce disk space consumption by adjusting the mailbox database’s limit. Perform the following procedure:
  • Open the Exchange Administrative Center, selects Servers, then the Databases tab.
  •  Then select a database and click the Edit icon before clicking on Limits.
  • The Limits screen makes you adjust the threshold for keeping deleted data items and mailboxes in Exchange Server. You may also regain some temporary space by adjusting these limits. 
       c)    By changing the database path: In most the cases, the most effective method to recover disk space by changing a database’s path. It is mainly effective when multiple databases are stored on the same volume. You can easily move the database to a volume having plenty of free spaces by changing the database path.

       d)   Run the database maintenance: In this method, MS Exchange Server runs a nightly maintenance cycle which is designed to keep the databases healthy. Some of the most prominent tasks performed during the maintenance cycle are mentioned below:

          ·       Database defragmentation
          ·       Database checksumming
          ·        Page patching
          ·       Page zeroing
          ·       Dumpster cleanup
          ·       Public folder expiry
          ·       Deleted mailbox cleanup

In addition to this, you also need to check your server’s logs to determine whether the cycle finishes or not because it’s common for the cycle to run out of time. If you find that the cycle is not finishing then you need to adjust its schedule to give more time.

NOTE: An online defragmentation does not reclaim disk spaces even if the cycle defragments the database. For that, you need to perform an offline defragmentation.

To sum up as whole, implementation of any of the above mentioned four methods can very easily optimize the disk spaces and can resolve any disk space problem. 

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