Wednesday, April 28, 2004

How often do I need to perform offline Exchange maintenance

A favorite question I get from students is: "How often should I perform offline Exchange database maintenance?"

Quite simply: Never.

Exchange 5.5 SP4 and later's online maintenance utilities are good enough that they keep the database tidy and defragmented without ever shutting it down. As deleted items are purged from the database file, the file is rearranged so all of the extra space is contiguous. This is called whitespace and it is done during nightly online maintenance. This MUST complete each night.

The database file(s) never shrink, though. The whitespace is filled by the next modifications to the database.

If you have recently deleted a lot of messages or a lot of mailboxes (and the deleted mailbox retention and deleted item retention time has past), then Event Id 1221 (seen nightly in the event logs after online maintenance) will tell you approximately how much whitespace is in the database file.

If you can get back 20 to 25 percent of the total size of the file, THEN you might want to consider shutting down your system and performing an ESEUTIL /D to defrag the database. This WILL reduce the size of the database file(s). Always do a backup full BEFORE and AFTER system maintenance, though. Just in case.

Though the ISINTEG utility may report errors or fixes, you generally don't need to run this if you users are not reporting problems or you don't see problems in your event logs.

There are usually better things for you to do with your after-hours time than come in to work and shut your Exchange server down. If you have to get away from your spouse or significant other, then come in and work in documentation or disaster recovery plans. :-)

Keywords: Exchange 5.5 2000 2003 offline maintenance ESEUTIL ISINTEG errors defragment compact

Sunday, April 18, 2004

A brief history of Exchange

Interesting in knowing a little more about how the Exchange product came to be? Naresh Sundararajan provides a good history of some of the decisions that went in to building Exchange and how it is evolved over time. This can be found on the Exchange team's blog You Had Me At EHLO.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

A letter to Dr. Laura Schlesinger

My sister and I are continually debating the value of Dr. Laura in society. My sister is quite liberal, but nonetheless loves Dr. Laura. In the spirit of maintaining a good sense of humor, she recently sent me this.
On her radio show recently, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet.

Dear Dr. Schlesinger:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. ... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Law and how to follow them.
1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. The passage clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan,
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia 405 Emmet Street South PO Box 400273 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4273 (434) 924-0763 [FAX (434) 924-0747]

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Free subscription to Windows Server Systems Magazine

Fawcette Technical Publishing offers a free subscription to Windows Server System Magazine. This monthly magazine deals with Microsoft server technology and includes the monthly column "Ask the Exchange Pros" by Ben Schorr and myself.

Free is ALWAYS a good thing.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Chris Wolf: A VMWare Clustering Recipe

Do you want to get to know clustering a little better. There is nothing like some hands-on experience. Unforunately, most of us don't have the hardware sitting around to do this.

Chris Wolf wrote a really handy article in Windows & .NET Magazine called A VMWare Clustering Recipe that steps you through setting up an Exchange cluster using VMWare. Most cool.

This won't teach you everything you need to know. Clusters are complex, but this will help you get more experience. I used this solution to take the screen captures for my Exchange Server 2003 24seven book.

- Jim