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Defragmenting the store in 2003

Do you still need to defrag the Information S tore in 2003? I only backup the information store, not individual mail boxes. If I need to restore an individual mailbox do I have to restore the entire information store?

Do you still need to defrag the Information Store in 2003?

I only backup the Information Store, not individual mail boxes. If I need to restore an individual mailbox do I have to restore the entire information store?

For most part, there is no need to manually perform an offline defragmentation of the Store. Online defragmentation does run during the daily maintenance interval (between 1 -- 5 am by default), but it does not shrink the store file(s). Offline defragmentation creates a new database and copies data from your old database to it, resulting in a compact new store that would, theoretically, improve performance as well.

Before Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2, it made sense to do an offline defragmentation to shrink the size of the store if you were on Standard Edition and close to the 16GB limit of the store. SP2 changes the way store size is calculated to exclude the free space in a store.

Microsoft recommends doing an offline defragmentation under following situations:

  • After performing a database repair using eseutil /p
  • After moving/removing a lot of data (mailboxes) from an Exchange store
  • When an Exchange Store is much larger than it should be

To address the second part of your question, about whether it is possible to restore an individual mailbox when you only perform backups of the store, not individual mailboxes -- yes, it is possible to recover or extract a single mailbox. You use a new feature of Exchange Server 2003 called Recovery Storage Group. The RSG will let you add a store that you want to recover mailboxes from. Once you do that, you need to restore the store. The restore process automatically restores your backed-up store to the RSG, which allows you to extract a mailbox from the restored store and insert it in your existing production store.

In addition to the above, there are third-party utilities that provide similar functionality without having to restore a store to the Recovery Storage Group. Quest's Recovery Manager and OnTrack PowerControls are two such products.

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