There are a number of things that you can do to make your Exchange setup work faster and more reliably, or operate more securely. Installing a cluster for Exchange, for example, spreads the processing load and allows for operation even in the event that a server fails.
But many opportunities, such as installing a cluster, are complex and expensive. You can do something far simpler that costs much less and still reap the benefits of a faster performing Exchange: Move the transaction logs to a separate physical disk volume.
Exchange servers have a lot to do. And the disk drives that are recording all that they're doing can easily become a bottleneck as data and logs and other information all compete in the channel to get written to the disk. And as transaction logs become larger and larger, disk operation can slow down even more.
So the logical thing to do is move the transaction logs, and the database files, for that matter, to a separate physical volume. That way, one volume will be handling the heavy data requirements of the logs, while other drives can be serving as the medium for the page file, for the database files and the system files.
It's very easy to set this up. In Exchange System Manager, right click on the storage group for which you want to move the transaction logs, and click on properties. Then on the general tab, move to the Transaction Log Location, click Browse and then select the drive on which you want the logs to reside.
Make sure that you conduct this operation for each storage group that you have, since each group has its own transaction log.
While you're at it, you might consider having Exchange overwrite deleted data when it performs backups. When Exchange deletes data, it remains on the disk until overwritten; it's just marked as deleted. So it's available if someone wants to read it. You can overwrite it when you do a scheduled backup. This will mean the data is gone, but it will slow down backups and use a bit more disk space. You get to this option through the properties page for the storage group.
Microsoft gives a sample disk setup for multiple storage groups in its Exchange Server 2003 Administration Guide.
David Gabel has been testing and writing about computers for more than 25 years.
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