Sunday, May 23, 2004

Why does STORE.EXE use so much memory

I am asked all the time why the STORE.EXE uses so much memory? Is it a memory leak? A bug? A configuration problem? No, none of these. It is a 'feature'.

The STORE.EXE is the Exchange executable that runs the ESE database engine, handles database connections, and caching. Naturally, it wants as much memory as possible. The specific feature that allocates all the RAM is called DBA (dynamic buffer allocation). There is a pretty good KB article that describes memory optimization for Exchange 2003, but the DBA feature applies to all versions since Exchange 5.5.

KB 815372: How to optimize memory usage in Exchange Server 2003

If you are running Exchange 2003 SP1, though, see the SP1 release notes for additional information on memory tuning.

It is not uncommon for STORE.EXE to allocate up to 80% of the available RAM in an Exchange server. The only thing to worry about is if Exchange server's available physical memory starts to drop below about 5 - 10% of the total physical memory. Then you have a memory shortage due to insufficient RAM, a memory leak, or other bug.

Keywords: Exchange STORE.EXE RAM virtual memory 5.5 2000 2003 optimization

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Microsoft IT Showcase: Messaging Operations at Microsoft

Microsoft's IT department has published their Messaging Operations at Microsoft whitepaper. This is a particularly interesting if you are interested in clustering and high availability. One of the concepts Microsoft is now practicing for backup is that they perform an Exchange online backup to disk, then move the backup file to tape. They keep the most recent two days of backups on disk.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Paul Robichaux's Administrator Shortcut Guide To Email Protection available for free

E-mail and security guru Paul Robichaux has just published a new ebook called The Administrator Shortcut Guide to Email Protection. This guide is published by and is available free from Sybari's web site.

This ebook starts out with a basic description and history of viruses and worms, then works in to Outlook client protection and Exchange server protection. Here is what has to say about the ebook.

This eBook will give you critical, need-to-know information to help you properly protect your corporate messaging system from a wide variety of external and internal security threats. Although the book focuses on Microsoft Exchange-based enterprises, the concepts, principles, and methodologies presented within are universally applicable to virtually all messaging platforms. The Administrator Shortcut Guideā„¢ to Email Protection is being authored by messaging industry and Exchange guru Paul Robichaux. Paul provides readers with real-world insights to help them architect secure messaging systems and deal practically with real-world security problems. From virus protection to malware protection, this eBook is a "must read" for anyone involved in securing Exchange and other messaging platforms.

- Jim McBee

Keywords: Paul Robichaux realtimepublishers sybari shortcut guide email virus protection

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Daily Exchange server maintenance tasks - The Big 5

A common question from students and clients is "What should I do to my Exchange server on a daily basis?" Here are my "big 5".

  1. Check for low disk space
  2. Check the queues
  3. Confirm that a successful nightly full backup has completed
  4. Update your antivirus signatures
  5. Scan the event logs for expected and unexpected errors

Other than that, leave Exchange alone. More Exchange servers have crashed from 'over administration' than you might think.

Keywords: Exchange 5.5, 2000, 2003, daily operations

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

File-based antivirus scanning and Exchange servers

Should you have a file-based antivirus scanning software on your Exchange server? Many administrators do. I usually include Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition on most Exchange servers I deploy.

However, you are flirting with disaster if it is not configured correctly!!!!!

Make absolutely sure that you have excluded the Exchange server data directories (databases, transaction logs, queue directories, and MTA data directory). I have seen MANY Exchange server's databases corrupted when the file-based scanner attempted to clean a virus out of the database. This should never happen.

If you are running Exchange 2000, exclude the M:\ drive, also. Friends don't let friends scan the M:\ drive.

You should also exclude the \%windir%\SYSTEM32\INETSRV directory from the file-based scanning software.

Having a file-based scanner on your Exchange server does NOT exempt you from having a Exchange server-aware antivirus system such as Symantec Mail Security, Trend ScanMail, Sybari AntiGen, or McAfee Groupshield.

For the Self-Righteous: Vow To Quit Meddling

While I don't really care much about same-sex marriage one way or another, I thought this column and Beth Quinn's column in the link were pretty funny. Especially in light of what is becoming a political distraction.

H.G. Wells once said "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo" I don't really think that applies here, but it just came to me.

- Jim
For the Self-Righteous: Vow To Quit Meddling
By Beth Quinn Times Herald-Record (Middletown, NY)

I was going to leave the gay marriage issue alone just to save myself some grief.
But then I thought, what fun would that be? Somebody's got to irritate the self-righteous folks who tell the rest of us how to live, and it might as well be me.
You know who you are, so get your writing implements ready because you'll want to damn me to hell by the time we're done here.
For me, there is one central question in the whole gay marriage controversy: What do you care?
What difference does it make in your own life if two gays or lesbians get married? It simply mystifies me that you feel threatened by this. What possible harm could it do in your personal, little life whether the two guys living at the end of your block say "I do"?
I keep hearing the same pat answer from your prophets of doom - that allowing homosexuals to marry will "destroy the institution of marriage."
Well I gotta' tell you, a lot of gays and lesbians have been getting married in San Francisco lately, and so far my own institution of marriage is doing just fine. I checked. When I heard they were lining up for licenses, I asked my husband if he felt our marriage was going downhill on account of it. He just ignored the question and wanted to know what kind of perennials I thought we should put in this spring.
I took that as a good sign. Perennials are an investment in the future, so I figure he's sticking around despite what those homosexuals are doing.
So, self-righteous folks, I guess I'm wondering what's wrong with your own marriages that you feel so threatened by another couple's happiness. Are you unable to sustain a good sexual relationship knowing that two gay guys are sleeping together in wedded bliss? Are you unable to have an intimate conversation with your spouse because you're distracted by the notion of two women going off on a honeymoon?
Because if your marriage is that unstable, you should stop worrying about what others are doing and tend to your own problems before your divorce contributes to the decline of the institution of marriage.
I've given this a lot of thought, and I've completely failed to come up with ways that gay marriage will have an impact on your life. It won't raise your taxes. It won't cause the kid who shovels your driveway to quit.
It won't make your laundry dingy. It won't alter the weather. It won't cause your dog to start passing gas. It won't affect your relationship with God. It won't cause you to develop a tumor on your head.
Those of you who would talk about grand concepts like society and institutions and pillars and guideposts and moral fibers and whatnot, I say this is just your excuse for meddling. And history has shown us that nothing good ever comes of meddling in other people's affairs. Every time Christians showed up to mess with heathens, for example, we just ended up with a lot of unhappy heathens with syphilis and smallpox.
Those of you who would point out that the dictionary definition of the word "marriage" involves a man and a woman, let me point out that the dictionary is a living, breathing document that changes as word usage changes. If you doubt it, look up the word "dot" in a current edition.
We the people get to decide what's in the dictionary. The dictionary doesn't get to dictate our societal conventions. Your hair isn't going to catch on fire if the definition of marriage is eventually changed to read, "two consenting adults" instead of "man and woman."
As for the Bible, which is always the last refuge for those of you who want to impose your will on us savages, we're not all reading out of the same book.
More fundamentally, the Bible is not a legal document. If it were, those who fail to love one another would be rounded up and thrown in jail. The prison budget would go through the roof what with all the new cells we'd be needing for the neighbor haters.
I have only this advice to offer those of you who oppose gay marriage: Don't marry a homosexual.
If you're a man and you don't want to marry another man, for crying out loud, stick to your guns! That would be a terrible idea. You'd be miserable! Same for women. Marry someone of the opposite sex if that's your personal preference.
After all, no one's got the right to meddle in your private affairs.