Exchange Server 2007 Management and Maintenance Practices : Best Practices for Performiming Database Maintenanceng (part 1) - Automatic Database Maintenance

10/2/2014 9:29:26 PM

One of the most often avoided maintenance tasks in an Exchange environment is performing database maintenance. It is, however, also one of the most important steps an administrator can take to ensure a healthy environment.

By performing regular database maintenance, administrators can prevent downtime, maintain service level agreements (SLAs), minimize database corruption, and reduce the possibility of data loss.

As messaging environments have evolved from “nice to have” to “business critical,” database maintenance has evolved from “should be done” to “must be done.” Any database that is not regularly maintained will suffer from some level of corruption and, if left unchecked, might fail.

In addition to lack of routine maintenance, other potential causes of database corruption include the following:

  • Improper shutting down of the system, including unexpected power outages

  • A poorly maintained disk subsystem

  • Hardware failures

  • Failure to use or review systems or operational management tools

  • Manual modification of Exchange databases

  • Deletion of Exchange transaction logs

1. Automatic Database Maintenance

Exchange Server 2007 automatically performs database maintenance procedures on a nightly basis during the scheduled maintenance window. The following tasks are automatically performed by this process:

Purge the indexes on the mailbox and public folder stores.

Perform tombstone maintenance on mailboxes and public folders.

Remove expired messages from the dumpster for the mailbox and public folder stores.

Remove expired messages from public folders.

Remove deleted public folders with tombstones over 180 days old.

Clean up message conflicts within public folders.

Update server version information on public folders.

Check for and remove duplicate site folders on public folder stores.

Clean up deleted mailboxes on mailbox stores.

Check the message table for orphaned messages (messages with a reference count of 0).

Perform an online defragmentation of the store.

Exchange performs these tasks in order, completing as many as possible within the time allotted by the scheduled maintenance window. If the tasks are unable to complete, Exchange begins where it left off during the next scheduled maintenance opportunity. As long as at least one of the previously listed tasks has completed successfully, Exchange Server spends the last 15 minutes of the cycle performing an online defragmentation of the database. The defragmentation process continues for one hour after the end of the maintenance cycle.

By default, the maintenance schedule is set to run daily from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Because the maintenance cycle can be extremely resource intensive, this default schedule is intended to perform the maintenance during periods when most of an organization’s mail users are not connected. However, organizations should also take their Exchange backup schedules into consideration. Backing up an Exchange database causes the online defragmentation to be suspended until after the backup has completed.

Configuring Database Maintenance Schedules

Administrators can stagger the maintenance schedules for different databases. For example, database 1 might have the maintenance cycle performed from 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., and the next store from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., and so on. To view or change the default maintenance schedule on a database, perform the following steps:

Open the Exchange Management Console.

In the console tree, expand Server Configuration and select Mailbox.

In the action pane, select the server you want to view. In the work pane, expand the storage group that contains the database you want to view, and then select the appropriate database.

In the action pane, click Properties.

On the General tab, locate the Maintenance Schedule.

To change the default schedule, select one of the options from the drop-down box, or click Customize to create your own schedule.
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