Saturday, November 12, 2016

How to Perform Microsoft Exchange Server Maintenance in DAG?

Hello Readers, In this article I am going to describe about the important terms or factors or we can say it checklist, which an Exchange Administrator should follow for keeping the server free from problems till long time. I will also discuss, how we can put our server into maintenance mode whenever the Exchange server is required for maintenance. In reading, the process looks very familiar but when you try to perform these steps, you need to keep many factors in your mind, like: data security, server downtime, I/O latency etc. Let’s proceed for detailed discussion about Exchange Server Maintenance.

Need for Exchange Server Maintenance

The need for Exchange database maintenance is to keep safe it from getting into the corruption situation. There are some following factors which could lead to Exchange database corruption or damage:
  1. Unexpected Hardware Failure
  2. Unexpected Power changes or Improper Shutdown
  3. Deletion of Exchange Server Transaction Logs
  4. Manual Modification of Exchange Database

Microsoft Exchange Server Maintenance Checklist

  1. Always Keep Windows Server OS Updated
  2. Always Keep MS Exchange Server Updated
  3. Keep Monitoring Used Disk Drive Space
  4. Keep Monitoring Hardware Resource Utilization
  5. Keep Record of Document License Usage
  6. Backup the Exchange Database Regularly
  7. Perform Exchange DB Defragmentation Regularly (Once or Twice in an Year)
  8. Schedule Exchange Server for Periodic Reboot
Customized Checklist for Exchange Database Maintenance
  1. Tasks which should be performed Every Day for maintenance
    • Check Event & Backup Logs
    • Monitor Performance
    • Monitor Performance
    • Check available disk drive space
    • Check Badmail folder and Queues
    • Check for any updates
    • Test the mail flow
    • Backup the Exchange Server
  2. Tasks which should be performed Weekly for maintenance
    • Verify backup data with recovery database
  3. Tasks which should be performed Monthly for maintenance
    • ESEUTIL file dump
    • ESEUTIL integrity check
    • ISINTEG all tests default mode
  4. Tasks which should be performed according to need (Once or Twice in an Year)
    • Defragmentation
    • Disaster recovery test

Microsoft Exchange Server Maintenance

In Exchange Server, The database requires routine maintenance or we can say that it should be maintained regularly for better performance. In earlier versions before MS Exchange 2010 Server, it need for a planned maintenance and scheduled downtime. But in Exchange Server 2010, 2013 & 2016, there is no need for any scheduled downtime and planned maintenance because of following functionalities:
  1. Continuous Online Database Defragmentation
  2. Continuous Online Database Compaction
  3. Continuous Online Database Contiguity Maintenance

Automatic Exchange Database Maintenance

Automatic Exchange Server Database Maintenance is really an amazing feature of Exchange 2010/2013/2016. This features is also available in Exchange 2007, but during performing Automatic Exchange DB maintenance, it effects on the input/output latency of Exchange database, which cause the low performance during data access. While in Exchange 2010/13/16 Server, Automatic Maintenance of Exchange Database is done at night or at that time when very few users are accessing the data.
There are two different activities which are performed by Exchange Server 2010 for Automatic maintenance:
  1. Online Maintenance (OLM) : It starts automatically at 1:00 AM and finishes at 5:00 AM on daily basis.
  2. Online Defragmentation (OLD): It is always in processing (24 x 7). But you can Schedule it with OLM time.
These are the following tasks which are being performed in Automatic Maintenance:
  1. Disk Cleanup: It is performed automatically whenever any items are hardly deleted.
  2. Database Size Compaction: It compacts the sizes for freeing up more space and autothrottle the users for avoiding the impact of compactions during data access.
  3. Maintain Contiguity: During storing the data, it is saved in contiguous manner like one after another. If the stored data is not in contiguous manner, then the defragmentation process again bring all data in contiguous manner & autothrottle the users for avoiding the impact of de-fragmentation.

Schedule Automatic Database Maintenance in Exchange 2010

There are the following steps which an Exchange Administrator need to follow for scheduling Automatic Microsoft Exchange Server maintenance:
  1. Run the Exchange Management Console from Start menu.
  2. Now in left tree in console, Expand Organization Configuration and Select Mailbox.
  3. Now click on Database Management tab then select the desired database.
  4. Now go to the Action pane and click on Properties and select Maintenance tab and then select Maintenance Schedule.
  5. Now select any option from Drop Down List for customizing or creating new schedule.

What if Exchange Server is Configured in DAG?

In below section we will discuss performing maintenance on DAG members in Exchange server 2010 SP1. Before putting all DAG members in maintenance mode, we would bring out or move the Active databases first to other DAG members and after completion of maintenance we will reconnect the database again with Exchange server. Let see the process for DAG members maintenance:
  1. Run below command to move active databases to other DAG members.
    .\StartDagServerMaintenance.ps1 -serverName abcServer
  2. Run below command after completion of maintenance to bring the Exchange server out from maintenance mode.
    .\StopDagServerMaintenance.ps1 -serverName abcServer
  3. Now run below command to redistribute the Active databases among DAG members.
    .\RedistributeActiveDatabases.ps1 -DagName ABCDAG -BalanceDbsByActivationPreference -ShowFinalDatabaseDistribution -Confirm:$false
That’s all about Microsoft Exchange Server Maintenance.


In this article “Microsoft Exchange Server Maintenance” we discussed the need for Exchange server maintenance, checklist which an Exchange Admin should follow before Exchange server maintenance. We also discussed about automatic Exchange database maintenance method and how a DAG member should put into maintenance mode for improving the performance.


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