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IS Partition Running Out of Space

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IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 1:58:30 PM   
NarayanM

 

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My information store is currently on a 146GB RAID 5 array.  I am close to needing to find more storage for my IS as I am using about 136GB on the array. 

What are some suggestions on how to proceed from here?

I have a slot for another SCSI disk in my server and could add another 72GB hard drive and rebuild the array.  How simple/difficult is that process?  What are the exchange related implicaitons of that?

If archiving/offline defrag is not an option, do I have anything else out there that is an option?

Thanks,
Manu
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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 2:34:23 PM   
jchong

 

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Rebuilding the array, yes that's possible, but it would basically involve a backup\restore process after the array is rebuilt. The implications, is basically your volume where your DB is down, you will not get email. If your T-logs are on another volume it will get queued. Once you rebuild your volume, then you will have to restore your DB to the volume. I probably wouldn't go down this route expecially only for a 72GB increase. Your options basically are


1. Have users archive to PST or run exmerge, this will increase your whitespace
2. Build a new Exchange server and start migrating users to that
3. Rebuild your array, more riskier though

Long term solution is archiving.



James Chong (MVP)
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(in reply to NarayanM)
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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 2:51:08 PM   
uemurad

 

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Many RAID systems offer "live" partition expansion.  That is generally safe, but you should protect yourself by ensuring you have a good backup before you attempt it.  A safer alternative would be to dismount your stores, backup your stores as flat files, expand your partition, then attempt to mount.  If that doesn't work immediately, restore the flat files and mount again.

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 3:04:46 PM   
NarayanM

 

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Thanks for the notes guys.

James-

Archiving/exmerg isn't really an option.  The top brass here would rather spend money on an expanded server/storage solution than limit mailbox sizes drastically.  We do a good amount of archiving, but we still have a relatively large store for the number of users.

Even when building a new exchange server, what would be the path to look at for storage?  How should I build something with expansion in mind? 

uemurad-

I will need to look into live partition expansion.  Of course I would need to have a good backup, I'd do an IS backup as well as mailbox backup before proceeding. 

I must admin, I've 'managed' this server for a year and a half, but I've never had to do major upgrades or changes, so I definitely could use a little guidance and hand holding.

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 3:14:18 PM   
uemurad

 

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The live expansion would need to be supported by the RAID controller.  The interface would either be in a management program supplied by the manufacturer, or be in the controller BIOS.

Since you mentioned 72GB drives, I'm assuming you're talking SCSI, right?

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 3:27:42 PM   
NarayanM

 

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Yes, I am talking SCSI.  The server is an HP DL360G4. 

I mean, outside of my specific situation, how do you guys deal with things such as this?

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 3:42:12 PM   
uemurad

 

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If you are using the internal controller, then there's a utility you run.  If you are using a separate controller (connected to an external array for example), then it will depend upon that controller - HP controllers will also show up in the Configuration Utility.

How do others deal with storage?  If you have the luxury, then you plan for it by projecting out the space requirements.  Also by setting expectations for the powers that be.  If you know that the budget allocated will only last for 6 months and then force you to rebuild with additional cost and downtime, then let all of management know.  Then counter by telling them that for X additional dollars it won't have to be done for 1 or 2 years instead.

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 4:00:28 PM   
NarayanM

 

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I am using the internal controller, so I should be able to check what you were talking about from the HP ACU? 

In terms of others, I meant, other than adding another hard drive, rebuilding the array, what are storage solutions in use for Exchange servers.  I mean, I will add a 72GB drive now, but with my companies growth, this is maybe a 12 month solution.  As I look for a longer term, more permanent solution for down the road, what are the options I should look at?

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 5:02:25 PM   
uemurad

 

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You can deal with physical storage, information store size, additional mailbox servers.  You're going to have to perform a cost/benefit analysis.

First, how far into the future do you want Exchange to run without having to ask the same questions again?

Physical storage can be larger drives, additional drives (external array), different drive architecture (SAN).

Information store size may involve mailbox size limits or Email archiving.

Additional mailbox servers means, well, more servers.

_____________________________

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Dean T. Uemura
Microsoft MVP - Exchange (2007-2011)
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uemurad@yahoo.com

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Post #: 9
RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 2.May2007 5:41:33 PM   
a.grogan

 

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Hiya Narayan, I am a little confused, a DL360 G4 has space for only x 2 U320 drives (as it is a single 1 U unit), therefore I am not sure how you have a RAID 5 configuration, the best would be RAID 0+1. Are you sure that you are not using a DL 380, or are you using a FC card to connect to an external MSA unit?

The DL360 G5 uses the SFF (Small form factor) drives where you can get 6 drives in a single 1 U unit.

Can you confirm the server model again - thanks

A

< Message edited by a.grogan -- 2.May2007 5:42:55 PM >


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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 3.May2007 4:34:37 AM   
NarayanM

 

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I'm sorry, it is a DL380. Its a 2U server with 6 bays. OS/Logs go on a RAID 0+1, and we have a RAID 5 with 72GB drives.

Ultimately we are going to be looking into more robust archiving features, ones where we do not need to rely upon users to do the archive or an autoarchive local to outlook.

For right now, i do need a short term solution, which is why I was leaning towards the additional drive, but ultimately have budgeted for a new exchange server this year (larger drives, etc) but that is down the road.

So, ultimately I do need to look into what additional mailbox servers mean, whether I should go local storage or a SAN, etc.

But currently I need a solution I can implement within the next few weeks.

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 3.May2007 4:46:16 AM   
a.grogan

 

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Hiya Naran, can you supply a picture of the drive configuration from the ACU - I have an idea but need to see the ACU config.

A

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 3.May2007 1:11:34 PM   
NarayanM

 

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Thanks so much for the help everyone.

Here's the physical view of my ACU configuraiton, let me know if you need to see anything else.


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Post #: 13
RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 3.May2007 1:31:19 PM   
shoemakerna

 

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I am currently running 1 Exchange server with approximately 900GB (1400 mailboxes) in mail store databases. Mine, however, is stored on the SAN to make expansion scenarios easier. I have 3, 300GB "drives" to host the databases.

Costly solution if you don't already have a storage network, but has many more useful solutions in the long run.

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Post #: 14
RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 3.May2007 2:24:11 PM   
NarayanM

 

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I mean, ultimately, longer term, in maybe 2-3 months you guys would see me here asking questions about a SAN, migration of the IS, etc.  As well as more seemless archive solutions.  It is costly, but i understand that is more a setup I need than what I am running currently. 

So, definitely helpful information on your setup. 
quote:

ORIGINAL: shoemakerna

I am currently running 1 Exchange server with approximately 900GB (1400 mailboxes) in mail store databases. Mine, however, is stored on the SAN to make expansion scenarios easier. I have 3, 300GB "drives" to host the databases.

Costly solution if you don't already have a storage network, but has many more useful solutions in the long run.

(in reply to shoemakerna)
Post #: 15
RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 3.May2007 3:44:18 PM   
a.grogan

 

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N last question, on Array B, is all that is there just the transaction logs and DB's (e.g. the SMTP Queues and other stuff is on array A) is there only a single Windows drive configured on ACU array drive B (or do you have more than one drive) if possible can you submit the Disk manager view  - I have a solution, just need you to confirm.

A

< Message edited by a.grogan -- 3.May2007 4:07:59 PM >


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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 3.May2007 6:25:14 PM   
NarayanM

 

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Array A has 1 logical drive, C
Array B has 1 logical drive, D

D ONLY has the IS, stm and edb for my public and private stores

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 4.May2007 6:50:05 AM   
Gunn3r

 

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Don't know if it was mentioned but since money is not a problem why not buy and external raid device (don't know it's name but I think it's called a NAS or EVA)  That way you can add, remove and alter raids easly. Exchange can transfer it's data base buy using "system administrator" to the NAS/EVA after that let your imagenation go wild.

Hope it help.

Gunn3r

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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 4.May2007 6:57:51 AM   
a.grogan

 

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Hiya N, here is what I suggest;

Currently you can purchase 146/300 GB U320 drives for the Dl 380 G4, what I propose is not without risk, however I think considering your current situation;

Purchase x 4 U320 300 GB drives, when you have received them, on a weekend (or out of hours) perform the following:

1.perform a FULL backup of your information stores (including system state)
2. Insert 1 (one) of the 300gb drives into the available slot and create a new single drive array (c) via the ACU
3. in windows format the drive that is now available and then move all of the databases & transaction logs and the system path to the new drive (as per http://support.microsoft.com/kb/821915 )

4. When you have done this ensure that you Exchange server is functioning correctly.

Ensure that all data has been removed from the drives in windows that represents ACU array B then from the Windows Disk Management tool delete the partitions that are on a array B   then use the ACU delete array B close down the server and then remove the 72 GB drive and insert the remaining drives, boot up the server, launch the ACU create a new RAID 5 array in the ACU and go to Windows (or do it via the ACU in Windows).

Partition up the new array then move the DBs Logs and Systems path back to your new drive.

Hope that helps


_____________________________

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For my general ramblings about Exchange please visit my website:
W: http://www.telnetport25.com/
B: http://telnetport25.wordpress.com/
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(in reply to NarayanM)
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RE: IS Partition Running Out of Space - 7.May2007 7:28:54 PM   
NarayanM

 

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Thanks for the post, very detailed, I appreciate it.

From a risk perspective (forgetting long term growth potential) how do I fare in your proposal vs. just adding a 4th 72GB disk and expanding my array?

With your suggestion, what type of downtime am I looking at?

There will be the downtime in moving the information store as well as running the repairs on it.  That will be manageable.  The concern is when I start to convert it to a RAID 5 array, can the IS be live during that?  or do I need to unmount the IS? 

Thanks,
Manu

(in reply to a.grogan)
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