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Part 1: Disk performance best practices for Exchange Server databases

Best Practices Guide: Optimizing Exchange Server disk performance -- part 1 of 8.

The most obvious Exchange Server components that create disk I/Os are the Exchange Server databases. The Exchange databases are in Jet format and are accessed at random. As such, Microsoft recommends that you dedicate a separate volume to the databases.

More specifically, you should organize your Exchange Server databases by storage group. Microsoft recommends that you have a dedicated volume for the Exchange databases in each Exchange storage group. For example, if your Exchange server has eight databases in four different Exchange storage groups, you should create four different volumes -- one for each storage group.

Disk I/O performance is extremely important for volumes holding Exchange databases, so its best to put these volumes on a SAN-based RAID 0+1 volume.

To move an Exchange Server database:

  1. Open Exchange System Manager and navigate to Administrative Groups -> your administrative group -> Servers -> your server -> the Exchange storage group containing the database -> the Exchange database you want to move.

  2. Right click on the store that you want to move (each Exchange database must be moved individually) and select Properties.

  3. Select the Database tab to see the location of the store's database and streaming file.

    Figure A: The store's properties sheet contains the database location.
    Figure A

    You will have to move the Exchange database and streaming file separately, but I recommend that you move both to the same location.

  4. Click the Browse button next to the file that you want to move.

  5. Use the Browse window to select the new location.

  6. Click OK, and you will see a warning message telling you that the database will be dismounted and moved to the new location.

  7. Click Yes to continue and the Exchange database will be moved.

  8. Manually remount the Exchange database after the move completes.


 Home: Introduction
 Part 1: Disk performance best practices for Exchange Server databases
 Part 2: Disk performance best practices for Exchange Server transaction logs
 Part 3: Disk performance best practices for MTA and SMTP queues
 Part 4: Disk performance best practices for Windows pagefiles
 Part 5: Disk performance best practices for Exchange Server indexing
 Part 6: Disk performance best practices for deleted Exchange database pages
 Part 7: Microsoft recommendations for structuring an Exchange disk subsystem
 Part 8: Related links on Exchange Server performance management

Brien M. Posey, MCSE
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Exchange Server, and has previously received Microsoft's MVP award for Windows Server and Internet Information Server (IIS). Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at

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