GSX Blog

Conduct Successful Capacity Planning with Exchange Statistics Reports

Posted by Meryll Moreau on Thu, Jul 25, 2013
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Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 includes several built-in tools, cmdlets and scripts for monitoring and alerting on issues that are critical for administrators and companies.

These powerful tools can be executed manually, but they are best utilized when they are automated and augmented with an alerting or notification system. This can help your administrators have more time for other critical tasks, confident knowing that they will be alerted if the messaging system requires attention.

Some of the common challenges administrators and IT managers may encounter include:

  • Receiving consistent, relevant statistics
  • Getting pre-configured trend analysis
  • Measuring availability against preset service level objectives
  • Correlating performance with the growth of usage and capacity

So now, your manager asks you to plan server and resource provisioning for the next year. Here you need to answer: What is our capacity?

In order to have an overview of actual storage capacity you need to check your data at two separate levels: the individual database and the server.

First at the Mailbox Database Level:

  • Has the Mailbox Database capacity reached the critical limit? If the answer is yes, the mailboxes hosted per database have to be checked in order to be sure that all databases of the server are well balanced.
  • How many mailboxes are hosted per database compared to the upward limit?
  • Check each profile to see if the average size of the mailboxes match the quotas fixed by the company policy. 
  • What is the percentage of mailboxes that are over the preset limits in the company policy?

At the server level:

  • Similar to the databases, we need to ask if the overall server has reached critical limits. If the answer is yes, load balancing the mailboxes hosted per server has to be checked in order to be sure that all databases across all servers are well balanced.
  • How do the system and application drives look? Is the sizing for log files correct?

At this point we understand the general health of data availability. But in order to be absolutely certain, it is important to analyze this information globally and how 

It correlates two other factors. For example:

  • If storage capacity is currently at around 50%, an administrator may decide to add additional mailboxes to the database. This can pose a problem because he may not be considering the maximum number of mailboxes that can be put on the database at their peak storage limit. If all users were to max out their mailbox size, the database would become unavailable.

To create a proper capacity plan, you need to consider historical trends and future events. Such as an organizational merger or disparate general IT consolidation. 

Communication trends are consuming more and more space. Pictures, presentations and documents are growing exponentially in the workplace and Administrators should consider the following when planning for the future:

  • After analyzing your capacity, the availability statistics of mailbox databases must be checked to have an overview of the environment’s health.
  • The same analysis has to be done at the server level. Capacity planning is not the only way to ensure future needs, you also have to consider updating the actual infrastructure.
  • Is the evolution of your storage usage linear or not? What do the trends tell you?
  • It is important to observe the evolution of your used and free disk space, as well as the number of mailboxes per DB, server or DAG.
  • You should analyze the growth of Mailboxes sizes compared to the set quotas.
  • Finally, take future events into account: Will you have to absorb 10, 100, 1000 new users in the coming months?

Ready to get started? Check out this White Paper for all the information you will need to successfully plan for the future.

Do you have experience with successful or disappointing results on Storage Capacity? Let us know!

Tags: Exchange Migration, Microsoft, application monitoring, capacity planning, exchange statistics, mailbox database, Exchange