Mailbox Databases Management

The Exchange Mailbox server role manages the mailbox database attached to them. Active and passive copies of the mailboxes spread across the DB Stores. That is why, the mailbox databases are the central point of the Microsoft Exchange Architecture. The availability of each mailbox database is critical to the Database availability Group (DAG).

GSX Monitor & Analyzer main features

Mailbox Server Role Status

Mailbox Database Availability

Mailbox Database Storage Management

Reporting on Mailbox database activity

GSX Solutions helps you to do Maibox Databases Management giving you all the information required to take proactive actions.

Mailbox Server Role Status

GSX Monitor checks the service delivered by the mailbox server role through multiple PowerShell tests. It also checks all the present Databases and their status. If one of the Database on the server is in error, GSX Monitor and Analyzer alert and report a Role and a database down with the name of the DB in error.

Hence, real time monitoring of each database enables the administrator to stay proactive and to fix problem before it impacts the users. The Main View also provides directly the number of mounted and dismounted copies on the server.

Mailbox Database Availability

GSX Monitor proceeds to regular automatic PowerShell tests that measure the availability of each Mailbox databases, collect the statistics and allow the trending and the forecasting at the Mailbox Database level, at the Mailbox role and at the DAG level.
GSX Monitor deals with Database availability in different ways depending on the number of replica in your infrastructure.
If your server is not based in a DAG, and your Mailbox Databases not replicated, the availability of the service for your users will directly be the Mailbox Database availability at the server level.
If your server is in a DAG, the availability of the Mailbox Database on the server does not reflect the service because what’s matter is the availability of the Mailbox Database inside your DAG (with its replica). In this case if you want to measure the availability of the service, you will focus on Mailbox Database availability inside the DAG. Hence, if a mounted Mailbox Database is down but has a Healthy copy inside the DAG, the service is still provided and GSX Analyzer will still report the service as up and running.
It becomes straightforward to make reports and forecast on specific DB availability and usage in your Organization. Hence, to trend the availability and usage of a group of Mailbox Databases (for specific part of your organization like VIP DBs or Marketing DB, or customers DB) is really easy.


13 exc trend view

 

 

GSX Analyzer displays the trends comparing the availability, size, usage of each Mailbox Database at every level in order to provide you all the control you need to manage availability and capacity.

 

Mailbox Database Storage Management

As the ESE automatically increases the DB size when it is not possible to write new information in the Whitespace, administrators need to know when the size of the DB reaches a specific size to follow the sizing of the storage and prevent any issue.
That is why GSX Monitor constantly checks the size of the DB notifies the administrator in case of unexpected increased of the volume. Moreover, GSX Monitor also checks the disk space related to the Mailbox Role server. Comparing and forecasting the trends of these two statistics enables anyone to provide an infinite capacity perception, always adjusting the demand and the resources.

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GSX also provides you real time statistics, per Mailbox Database on:

  • Content Index state
  • Size
  • Number of Mailboxes
  • White Space
  • Average Mailbox size
  • Last Log Inspected Date
  • Last Full Backup Date
  • Replay Queue Length
  • Copy Queue Length

Whitespace10_11.jpeg

The Mailbox database now displays the WhiteSpace, Replay Queue Length and Copy Queue length in order to see if there are any bottlenecks in the DAG replication for specific databases and better manage the available space versus used space of the mailbox databases.


Reporting on Mailbox database activity

Database statistics are more than just mere statistics. Server stats on their own are not what are important compared to the real-time reporting feature of the GSX mailbox database.

That is why GSX provides a set of critical statistics to report on into GSX Analyzer.

  • Report on Database statistics at the DB Store Level

DB Availability: (on all copies of the DB). All the mailboxes are stored in the DB and most of the time they inherit from their characteristics (quota for example). A decrease over the time can be due to recurrent issues, network, SAN problems, etc.

Content Index Availability:  If the Content Index availability decreases, this can result in serious problems such as a DB in a degraded mode, which can be very difficult to fix.

Size of the DB: Reporting on a DB size means knowing the space taken on the disk to anticipate a capacity problem. Statistics are critical in regard to the forecasting features of GSX Analyzer.

Number of Mailbox and Average size of a mailbox per DB: Critical for sizing. Example: The architecture is set with 5GB quota per Mailbox. The administrator can see the evolution of the size of the mailbox and compare with the DB store quota setting. The purpose is to make capacity planning to anticipate storage purchases.

  • GSX Analyzer DB Store Statistics at the server level

However, characteristics at the server level are still useful to control the balance of the load across the architecture.

Number of mailboxes and number of Mailbox Databases per server: The purpose of this ratio is to equilibrate the number of mailboxes between the DB stores and the servers. Some servers can have a small number of users, a lot of storage and some others have too many users for historical reasons. It allows the administrator to have the most accurate view and take actions.

Average mailbox size per server: Same idea that the average DB size per server. Is the reality matching with the original sizing? Is there any storage problem to anticipate on this server regarding the evolution of this statistic?

Total Disk Space usage for all Mailbox Databases (per server): Critical to make capacity planning. This statistic has to be correlated with the information GSX gives on the disk space used by the DB to detect further storage problems. GSX Analyzer Environment Health and the Forecasting features are key points to fully exploit these statistics.

  • GSX Analyzer DB Store Statistics at the DAG level

To check SLAs and general availability of the services, what really matters is the DAG (Database Availability Group) that clusters all the DB into a general pool of DB Stores. Here are the statistics provided by GSX Analyzer on which administrator can easily report, compare, make trend and forecast.

  • Number and % of healthy Mailbox Databases per DAG (passive copy)
  • Number and % of Mounted Mailbox Databases per DAG
  • Number of mailboxes per DAG and Average mailbox size per DAG
  • Number of Mailbox Databases (per DAG) and Total Disk Space usage for all Mailbox Databases (per DAG)

Statistics on the number and average size of mailboxes allow controlling the sizing and making capacity planning at the DAG level, regarding the total population of users. It has to be correlated with the number of DB and the storage used for them, in order to decide if the rules in place are still relevant or not at the DAG level.

15 trend cluster

 

GSX links all these information with the Database Availability Group Management. More information