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What's the story with the new Exchange 2013 Managed Store?

Exchange 2013 Managed Store has replaced the Information Store of past Exchange versions. Find out what's changed besides the name in this expert Q&A.

I've been preparing for an Exchange 2013 migration and therefore familiarizing myself with many of the new concepts and terms. One of the most interesting things I've read is that the Exchange Information Store has been renamed the "Managed Store." What are the differences between the new Exchange 2013 Managed Store and the Information Store of previous versions of Exchange?

The Exchange Information Store, which was included in versions of Exchange prior to Exchange 2013, used a single process called "Store.exe." The Store.exe process connects to an Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) instance, which is based on Microsoft JET (joint engine technology) Blue technology. In Exchange 2013, the entire Information Store architecture was rewritten in C# and renamed the Managed Store.

The Exchange 2013 Managed Store Worker processes
Figure 1. A look at the Exchange 2013 Managed Store Worker processes.

The Exchange 2013 Managed Store consists of one main process -- the "Microsoft.Exchange.Store.Service" -- and a number of supporting "worker" processes, called "Microsoft.Exchange.Store.Worker.exe," which are created per each mounted Exchange 2013 database (Figure 1).which

While the underlying database technology is still ESE JET Blue, a number of enhancements are present in the new Managed Store architecture. Specific enhancements include tighter integration with the Exchange Replication service, increased performance and better resilience and integration with Microsoft FAST search technologies.

Perhaps the biggest improvement is the fact that each database now gets its own worker process, and if a given worker process hangs or crashes for any reason, it only takes down the database it is attached to. In previous versions of Exchange Server, if you lost the Store.exe process, you also lost all mounted and active databases on that server.

An interesting point to note is that Exchange 2013 Enterprise Edition cuts the possible number of mounted databases per mailbox server from 100 (Exchange 2010) to 50 (Exchange 2013). This change affects the migration and design scenarios for infrastructures that use database availability groups. That said, the change actually stems from memory and CPU limitations, not the change in the Managed Store architecture.

About the author
Andy Grogan is an Exchange MVP based in the U.K. He has worked in the IT industry for the last 14 years -- primarily with Microsoft, HP and IBM technologies. His main passion is Exchange Server, but he also specializes in Active Directory, SQL Server and storage solutions. Grogan currently works for a large council in West London as the networks and operations manager supporting 6,000 customers on more than 240 sites. Visit Andy's website at www.telnetport25.com/.

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