back to article Help! My Exchange server just rebooted

I’ve seen a spate of issues from companies running their own MS Exchange servers. A few patterns emerged. In all cases, servers running Exchange (usually as part of Small Business Server) either lost power or rebooted unexpectedly. This will not always cause problems. But if Exchange is busy writing things to the data store, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title

    I had to use Eseutil once when our mailserver decided it could no longer read the mail store half way through the day (so a good chunk of the business day not backed up). Saved my arse that day!

    Any windows admin worth their salt should know about eseutil :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Worth their salt

      Any admin worth their salt wouldn't use Exchange.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        I'd love to know...

        ...the justification for that comment. Oh wait, no I wouldn't. Don't feed the trolls

      2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        In that context, the Leopard server is interesting

        I find it interesting that really NOBODY has spotted the threat to Microsoft from the new Leopard server.. The principal problem for Microsoft sufferers has been the integrated service offered by Exchange of mail, contacts and calendaring with the only alternatives small setups under Linux (OpenExchange - which is only "open" until you need it to do serious work, Kerio and others) which mainly pretended to be Exchange.

        Apple's forthcoming offer seems to be focused on using Open Standards but is presently seriously let down by the lack of any server platform - you'd have to VM this (in principle create a Hackingtosh) to invest any confidence in it. But give it time - it's IMHO not a bad idea to let the code loose on small shops which just use one Mac to run this on the side before they work out a way to mount this on a big iron.

        The whole groupware arena is ready for a new player, MS has milked that cow long enough..

        All just IMHO, of course. I use a Linux based groupware solution for this, but I'm always interested in something new to test..

      3. Fatman Silver badge
        FAIL

        RE: Worth their salt

        He said: Any windows admin worth their salt should know about eseutil :)

        Note the operative word: WINDOWS

        But, WRT to "any" admin, then you are correct. The smart ones know better.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @fatman

          Aye, the key was "windows admin"... since I'd expect anyone else to be keeping a wide berth, tho I notice they tend to have a strange "the silence" type relationship with windows - ie when it's out of sight from their server room, they lose all memory of it ;)

          I've administrated Notes in the early 2000's, back then it was powerful for extending its functionality but was god awful to use/admin. It was like nutscrape navigator spawned a server >.<

      4. Rick Giles
        Linux

        Worth their salt

        Or Lotus notes...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Remains the question

    why you'd be running that bit of so-not-a-real-email-server in the first place. Is your company big enough to justify playing poorly with everybody else's email? The captive vendor-lock-in email store is just an added bonus. If you believe in that kind of job security anyway.

    Now-a-days there's third party replacements that don't have their engine compartments welded shut, so to speak, that do a much better job of actual email, and provide the extra features this vendor used to sell and lock-in the suit-side. If you're migrating might as well migrate out of the flood plain.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OST restore

    Besides the time it takes to do this, you lose single instance store, so you'd better have a lot more free space for your Exchange database(s) than you did before the crash!

  4. James Cooke
    Thumb Up

    Sound advice

    Personally I've never had to try going round each PC for a cached copy though it's always worth remembering it's an option.

    Eseutil however has saved a number of clients who refused to put in place a proper backup solution. It's amazing the number of businesses not willing to pay to backup data that if lost would be immensely costly to replace. In fact today I've just had a call today from someone who didn't want to pay for backup because they "dropped their laptop, it's cracked and may have gotten a bit wet". I can only imagine they were Googling in the bath.

  5. Lusty
    Thumb Up

    Dial tone

    "Though eseutil can take a while to execute on badly damaged data stores"

    In this instance, a "dial tone" recovery is useful to get the users online immediately while you recover their data at your leisure. It really takes the pressure off and is easy as pie to do these days.

  6. The Dodoman
    Happy

    Thats why I love my...

    Lotus Domino. In 10 years of operation in a 3000 user environment, I have never had a major corruption problem. If there was corruption it was limited to a single user mailbox.

  7. SplitBrain
    Mushroom

    These "SysAdmin" blogs....

    All these blogs are about what appears to be small windows based environments, how about a blog for real sysadmins, those of us that work with the big iron *nix kit that does the heavy lifting that those glorified PC's are not capable of.....

    I'm in a bad mood, so flame bait.

  8. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Perhaps a new title for that series

    "We made mistakes in the 1990s, refused to fix them in the 2000s, and now everything people warned us about suddenly happened and we're f*cked".

    What we should learn from this is how we should store our data. Storing everything in large binary blobs of data is not a good solution, especially for something comparatively slow like e-mail.

    Why do we store simple lists in SQL-Databases?

    Why do we store e-mails in binary blobs?

    I have to confess, I have previously written software which did all of the above, but the point now is to learn from this, to throw out that 1990s software, and don't listen to those dim-wits which store _everything_ in Databases, even though it makes no sense.

    (And in case you have a situation where you need to store data that can easily be represented as text in binary files, always keep a copy of that data as text)

  9. J. Cook Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Welll..... Mostly.

    eseutil was pretty much a staple of any exchange restore that I had to do for the better part of a year, due to our backup software being configured incorrectly to backup the mailstores using striaght up file copy instead of using the shadow copy functionality.

    doing a recovery and integrity check on a restored 60 GB mailstore? about an hour and a half. And all for what amounted to a couple mb worth of email for the poor user I was recovering mail for.

    not to evangelize or anything, but some of the new mail recovery and maintenance features in 2010 are greatly enhanced versions of the ones found in 2007, and MS has changed it so that the ONLY way to properly backup the mailstore is via VSS. (I'm still tickled by the enhanced Dumpster for Single Item recovery, to be honest- that's what 90% of my restore jobs are for.) It's worth the upgrade pain, even if you have to learn a think book of powershell in order to really use all the features to their fullest.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      An Exchange "message" is far more than email text

      Exchange is a pretty complex software. It does a lot more than "email" (if lose an Exchange database, you not only lose email, but contacts, appointments, tasks, etc etc.) . Even its email capabilities are larger than plain Internet mail RFCs.

      There's no way to store and handle such kind of data in text-only format. People do use databases because they are far more powerful in manipulating large amount of data. What Echanges lacks is a better database engine, able to perform recovery almost automatically when sometimes bad happens. The technology exists, just MS doesn't apply it to the product.

    2. /dev/me
      Pint

      real sysadmins...

      ...don't use third party recovery tools. They just promise the boss they'll have it fixed by Tuesday. Then they get out for an early beer. Let the whole company sweat for a few days. Then log in via the pub's wifi on Monday afternoon, restore the snapshot taken 10 minutes prior to the corruption and take all the credit for fixing the catastrophe ahead of schedule.

    3. Notas Badoff
      Happy

      Great cheer

      Tell me that even in your worst mood you aren't cheered a bit that _you_ will never have grovel at the sole remaining outlet after Exchange "ate the data". Here's a bit of ese-lax to loosen those ...

      C'mon, can't we get a chuckle out of you by cooing 'powershell' ... ?

      1. horse of a different colour
        Joke

        @/dev/me

        >> Let the whole company sweat for a few days.

        Hmmm... If you have a relationship like that with people you work with, you might be better off working somewhere else!

      2. Keith Smith 1
        Linux

        Eggs and baskets

        So what are saying is that putting all your crap in a giant database is a good idea? True unless it vomits. That way it's all gone. I've never had the problems with a Maildir mailstore an LDAP database and a davical calendar, but would be the first to admit it isn't as slick. Something about just being able to copy some files to make a backup has always apealed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Mushroom

          I have a relationship like that with the people I work with

          Now I just need a mail server to kill, and I can get down t'pub.

          Anon, obviously.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: An Exchange "message" is far more than email text

        > There's no way to store and handle such kind of data in text-only format.

        Really !

        Evidence please.

        > What Echanges (sic) lacks is a better database engine ...

        Well it couldn't use one much worse, could it ?

        Dear Jet, a derivative of Access' engine ...

        ROTFLMAO

      4. Christian Berger Silver badge

        @LDS more than text

        Well why not store it as text with the message in an individual file, just keep an index, either in another file (you can rebuild) or in RAM.

        Contacts can easily be stored in plain text files. So are appointments and tasks. Store them as text, and if you need the speed, also have them in a binary form, either in RAM or on disk. Besides we are not talking about "large amounts of data". We are talking about a few hundred thousand datasets at most.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      True....

      Just a pain in the backside that it happens way too often, particularly for laptop users.

      It's also a waaaay slower mail platform, but that's a fair trade off against it's database capabilities.

      Pay your money, take your choice.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Ha ha ha.

      Not enough dinosaurs left to justify a blog, and I imagine it'd be rather quiet...".

    6. Robert E A Harvey
      Facepalm

      Astonished

      I've avoided all contact with Exchange Server for some years, but I find myself astonished that a major pieced of (allegedly) corporate-critical system can't look after itself under all imaginable circumstances.

      "I know, we'll ask that bloke juggling chainsaws on a unicycle over the shark pit to remember all our important ideas for us"

    7. Robert E A Harvey

      Oh

      First I've heard that there was an single instance store. They kept that quiet, then.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Happy

        MDaemon

        Living on the Gulf Coast over the years I've been though storms taking our the local AC power at the drop of a hat, drunks taking out whole sub-divisions (and themselves) with one poorly aimed Hummer and the occasional 7-10 day outage when a Hurricane wanders past (Katrina, Gustave etc) when everything eventually goes silent no matter how big the UPS.

        Just about everything on my system is stored in ASCII files - email, contacts, tasks, calendars, public files - and I've yet to lose a single file or email. Backups? Sure - one every night to a big grab and run USB disk and hourly incremental backups to a separate drive on the machine - they are occasionally useful for rescuing the poor luser who deletes stuff that they shouldn't (IF they are nice to me and say please) but otherwise (8+ years and counting) I've never had to rebuild a database on the server.

        But then, I'm not using Exchange . . .

      2. Markius

        Don't get your hopes up

        SIS is no more in 2010.

      3. MrCheese

        Really?

        I'd like you to show me a business-critical email system which CAN look after itself under every imaginable circumstance, in over three years our Exchange server has experienced exactly zero problems whatsoever but I don't doubt one day it'll keel over, just as every toher email platform can, has or will.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just be careful if you have BES

      Going dial tone can really fubar your BB users if you're not careful. We had to wipe/reactivate 600 users after our Exchange team had to restore into dial tone. Bad stuff :(

    9. Robert E A Harvey

      Googling in the bath

      ?Googling? /GOOGLING/ ?

      Nah...

    10. Rob Moir

      Fair enough

      but as a point of interest, I've had the exact same amount of problems with exchange corruption.

      The point, from my experience, is not that exchange is especially unreliable or prone to corruption but that no matter what product you prefer, no matter how carefully you set it up and manage it, sooner or later weird crap can and will happen.

    11. MrCheese
      Mushroom

      If I had to guess..

      I'd say the reason most of these articles are written about Windows environments is becuase that's where the overwhelming majority of sysadmins are these days. I for one would like to see where exactly this Nix kit is, the stuff that's doing all the heavy lifting that glorified PC's "can't do" depsite the fact that it clearly is, or at least the 5 9's providers seem to think can.

      I'd then like to see you prove that I'm not a "real" sysadmin just because of the systems I support you rabid, slavering fanboi

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
        Mushroom

        @MrCheese

        The reason why most of these articles are written about Windows is because most of the networks I am asked to look after are Windows. I have a handful of non-windows networks in my care...but they don't tend to give me any problems worth blogging about.

        The real problem is convincing people that they can live without tow things:

        1) Excel

        2) Outlook’s “public folders/public calendar/integrated presence.”

        Excel can stand alone…but why would you? So that means the Office Suite. Outlook is unique amongst the Office suite in that it won’t run in WINE, so that means a Windows Desktop. To use all of Outlook’s features you need an Exchange server, which means it must run on top of a Windows Server. So suddenly you are (at least) into “small business server” territory simply because someone somewhere is addicted to Excel.

        That’s before we get into “every industry in existence has industry-specific software that /HAS NO OPEN SOURCE ALTERNATIVE/, and the vast majority of this runs on Windows.”

        So yes, there’s a damned lot of Windows out there, some for bad reasons, some for perfectly legitimate reasons. Personally, I don’t want to run Windows unless I can avoid it. In the instances I’ve been allowed to deploy Linux to address a problem, that problem tends to go away for good.

        Now, some folks get uppity and say “well, if you were smart/”a real sysadmin”/more like me/etc.” then you would be paying developers to port your industry specific software to Linux. Except that’s about ten years out of date. Anyone who develops software for a fixed operating system and isn’t doing it for HPC/Big Iron style “every cycle counts” computing is delusional. If you redevelop an application in today’s world you do it for the cloud.

        So all this stuff is slowly moving into the cloud, and the desktops are evaporating with them. With the desktops go the servers and then that network gets crossed off my list as a potential client. Linux is great; but it’s rare as hen’s teeth in the SME market and there aren’t enough deployments out there to provide enough work to feed my family. Where it exists, it “just works” and doesn’t need a babysitter.

        Linux has its place in the large enterprise market, and most of the Linux deployments aren’t going anywhere. Least of all into the cloud! But there aren’t many large enterprises with datacenters or head offices in Edmonton. Those that are here chronically understaff their IT departments because we have such a glut of sysadmins that job openings at larger organizations turn into cage matches. You can burn through sysadmins like a box of cheap candles and there will always be more to take their place.

        So yes, I work on Microsoft networks. Because they are what pays the bills. They also break often enough that they give me something to write about on El Reg. When all the Microsoft networks evaporate into the cloud, well…

    12. MrCheese
      Boffin

      Where?

      See above

  10. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Oh really?

    "If you are ever caught with your pants down without a backup, keep eseutil in mind."

    If your company uses Exchange, and your Exchange Admin, contracted System Engineer, or "the IT dude" don't know how use eseutil recovery or at least common tasks like offline defragmentation or cleaning a dirty shutdown, fire their sorry arses.

    It's an essential skill that I've seen exasperate a situation too many times, and anyone responsible for Exchange should know it as well as "net start MSExchangeIS".

    (To be fair, if you're in IT and you do let this happen, we'll be happy to take your ex-clients!!!)

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Mushroom

      >fire their sorry arses

      Scenario:

      -- After a Golfing Trip, bossman wants to have MS e-mail gimmickry NOW, a working Thunderbird + IMAP store ain't enough anymore. Politically astute assistant in Armani nods wisely in the background while the "improvement" demands are laid down to the bewildered sysop, up to now used to a full-Linux shop.

      -- Dell server bought and installed in the far corner of the backroom, Exchange installed, Geas applied to that new combination that no-one really understands and neither has the time nor the money to bring up to something "mission critical"

      -- ????

      -- Mayhem!

  11. Tezfair
    Happy

    hmmmmmm

    "tools to convert OST files into PST files". If you keep the computer from seeing an exchange server and your Outlook is showing the cached emails you can still 'export' to a PST file from within Outlook. No tools required.

    I tend to script exmerge as a 2nd line daily dump of exchange mailboxes with NTbackup doing the main backup and housekeeping. I have tried other expensive backup solutions, but have found them to be bothersome. On the basis that a store can't be bigger than 75Gb Im happy to dump everything on to rotating ext HD's and also a copy to another networked device (NAS / PC etc)

    Works for me

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's the tape drive?

    Just because the backup server and locally attached disks died it doesn't mean you couldn't restore from tape.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data corruption?

    How can data be corrupted if the server goes down mid-write? Surely Exchange does atomic/journaled writes to its databases? If it doesn't, my opinion of it just got lower, which I didn't think was possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No need to worry

      Exchange has been fully transactional since the 90's

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It does (requires?) transaction logging, but

      Corruptions still happen. I think a big part of it is the Jet DB engine it is back-ended by... that or maybe good old NTFS.

      The trend (starting with 2007 and continued/revamped with 2010) is to use more, smaller DBs with redundant copies (BPOS uses triple redundant) spread across multiple servers. It doesn't really solve the problem, just makes it easier to manage when one goes tits up. Of course, this also results in pretty severe server sprawl. For one client, we'll be putting in 200+ servers for 50k seats. Not really apples to apples here, but we also manage a Zimbra install for 28 million seats with around 1200 servers. Neither Exchange nor Domino really scale very well for big Enterprise environments - too tied to their departmental roots IMHO.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Failure to scale

        "Neither Exchange nor Domino really scale very well for big Enterprise environments"

        Frankly, for something (both of them) so widely used in and targeted at(!) "enterprise" for so long that's a pretty poor show.

        What was it again, 30k (student+staff) accounts, two IMAP front-ends and one filer back-end. Suppose you'd double that, safety margin and all that though the boxes weren't quite at full capacity, that's six boxes all told for 60k seats. And for the redmondian "solution" you need 200+ servers instead. Is that the price of proprietary calendaring and whatever else it spends cycles on? Oh wait, you mentioned Zimbra. Seems like an easy 33-fold*, or even 93-fold power and cooling requirements reduction. N'mind hardware, licences, number of people to babysit the service, and so on.

        What's the business case for these things again?

        * 40 based on seats-per-box ratio, but wth.

  14. woodmans
    Coat

    @destroy all monsters

    Quite so...convince the suits you will provide EMAIL...24x7, no toys!

    anything else, prove the worth!

    in my case, 9.5years of sendmail & postfix...outages? ohhh the couple of hours 3 years ago when we replaced everything :)

    if they want all the other bits, do em on seperate programs and/or servers - and justify them.

    otherwise, it's always the sysadmins fault.

    I mean, MS is an "industry standard", apparently!

  15. Fuh Quit
    Thumb Up

    Either scale it and run it properly or outsource it

    Even my home win2k8 environment is all on UPS.....! And I don't have SBS2011 on it yet but shortly......

    With a proper backup solution and proper DR Readiness, you're sorted.

    If I was running this at work and something bad happened, I'd go from scratch and promise as much back over 4 weeks as possible. Oh and the PO for the investment would be signed before then.

    It's either business critical or it is not.

  16. dagger
    Thumb Down

    exchange, really??

    Back at the day when I had to use exchange, I had to use this tool few times. Most of the times after HOURS (usually 12+ on decent hardware) it failed with typical for MS error - bla bla bla failed...

    The only way to get it running again was to restore the backup, which took another XX hours (~70GB store).

    I gave up on that crap years ago. By chancing exchange to an alternative solution, right now I can comfortably run 150GB+ mail server on a VM and never worry about such problems again.

    This software is a relict from last millennium and I really feel sorry for everyone still using it.

  17. magnawave

    Mmmmmm JET

    Mmmmmm MS Exchange .... STILL powered by JET "database" technology. I'm still floored that the whole IT industry continues to apply workaround after workaround for this horrendously engineered product. Yes I know the functionality is there and everyone is used to Outlook (for better or worse), but damn the underlying datastore is a house of cards. MS could learn a few things from SQL Server at the very least!

    1. Zebulebu

      Really?

      That's interesting. I've used Exchange since 5.5 in every single environment I've ever worked in, including 2000, 2003 and 2007 (just chucking 2010 in now where I am currently) and not had to run ESEUTIL for about eight years. On all three occasions (all 5.5 installations) eseutil ran, did it's job and brought the Exchange DB back online without errors.

      In use, Exchange 2003 is far, far more stable than any other mail platform I've supported. I run it on a VM with 4Gb of RAM and 2 vCPUs, with 5 databases, taking up c. 180Gb of space, back it up using industry-standard products & SAN snapshots and haven't had a single problem with it in the three years I've been here. It grunts through about a million messages per day, and - up until last summer - I even had it running on a 7.2k san, shared by my entire VM infrastructure (approx 80 servers on four hosts). I'll say that again - not one single problem.

      The only places Exchange causes problems are when it's being supported by whining neurotics who are out of their comfort zone with anything other than Lotus' absolute aberration (if you want to see a true 'relict' from the last millennium, look no further than that POS), people who are too stupid/lazy to understand/learn how to use it, or the anti-M$ brigade.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not a mail admin myself, but the last place I worked at

        used Exchange and their experience replicated yours. In the 12 years I worked there, not one outage from the mail server supported by the mail admin. And as point man at the Help Desk, I would have KNOWN if there was a mail problem*. Now, there was a problem with the mail server located at a recently acquired company where there was no mail admin, no one was using PST files, no one had set limits on mailbox sizes, and no one was watching the mail server get full. It took him the better part of the day/night to rebuild after it died, but he got it rebuilt. And then proceeded to implement all of the strategies applied at our main office. After which, they had no more mail server issues either. I understand they did implement the transaction logging when they built the 2007 Exchange servers, but never had cause to use it.

        On the other hand, at my current job using god knows what IMAP mail server and Thunderbird email client, we've had a number of outages that lasted for up to two hours, and many times when the separate calendaring agent was down for days. Although I do understand there is a plan afoot to move us to a cloud solution and make all these problems go away....

        *we did have a couple of occasions that email wasn't working because the T1 was down, but I don't think that constitutes a MAIL problem. Oh and some morons at an agency we serviced that refused to configure their stuff correctly, bolluxed it up, and blamed us. Best one was when our mail admin fixed their problem and they still had the nerve to offer us their mail services.

    2. Oninoshiko
      Thumb Down

      now, with a word from reality:

      A significant power-spike on a line-interactive USP can fry the UPS, IF you are lucky. If you are not is causes a fire. (I've seen a UPS reduced to a "Fire breathing dragon" on more then one occasion.) I suspect it's also possible for double or delta-conversion UPSes (although, I'm going to guess you probably don't have one of those)

      Tapes degrade, drives fail, and so backups are not always good, even IF you tested them when you took them. (which I am sure you did, as it is a best practice.)

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Applause, applause

      "Even my home win2k8 environment is all on UPS"

      Ditto here (well, OK, it's OSX, Linux and WinXP, but the same principle applies).

      I started doing this when I was merging a gazillion backups made over the year onto a 2TB working drive (no time to set up a NAS yet) - I realised an outage would not affect my laptop, but the data on the external drives I was working with would be toast. And then I just left the UPS in place..

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    memorys

    ahh eseutil, that brings back some horrible old memorys.

    although im a little curious that isinteg dosn't get a mention when dealing with comedy exchange failures.

    admittedly eseutil normally ended up actually coming to the rescue, but i always ended up doing both just to be on the safe side.

    1. Alain
      Linux

      Large Exchange installations?

      My employer (large institution) is about to switch over 80,000 mailboxes from an old Sun iPlanet-based cluster to Exchange. The Sun thing has a terrible web mail and is kind of slow sometimes but I've never heard of any long outage or data loss. The move to Exchange *really* scares me and pisses me off too, because for much less than the amount of money they're going to shell out to MS they could hire a bunch of good system people and run a good old open-source Unix-based mail system. I'm having a hard time believing Exchange can reliably handle such a large number of mailboxes anyway and I'm prepared to the worst. Has anyone had an experience of such large Exchange installations?

      Tux, because Unix/Linux rules for mail servers IMO.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    @destroy all monsters

    Re highly reliable and hugely scaleable Thunderbird plus maildir IMAP in a 24x7 shop, I too was required by me-too-compliant CEO to install Exchange. I resigned.

  21. Flash_Penguin

    Give me the alternative....

    I run SBS 2003. I'm an admin cos i know the most about IT in the company (ex WINNT admin)

    I have suffered all of the problems above, now self taught in Eseutil, Exmerge for individual daily mailbox backup and isinteg.

    I have had to bear that pain. However I'd love to know what the alternative solution is to a single box SBS install, that can run a windows domain and offer the same features for less cost.

    Until then, it's the best for my (small) business.

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      @Give me the alternative

      Seriously by the time you did a Windows installation, you could have installed some Ubuntu and some groupware solution.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Christian

        Yes, but which groupware solution would have suited him? I think that was his point.

        Also, Ubuntu as a server? Seriously? I would have gone for RHEL, Suse or Debian.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    title

    All this talk about what platform is best or what to use to recover lost data. There's no talk about bullet proofing the hardware.

  23. Anteaus

    Differing experiences.. ?

    Interesting that some guys report high Exchange reliability, others very poor. I wonder how many are running the full version, how many SBS. My own experiences are that the SBS version of Exchange is far more troublesome. A contributing factor here is the oft-found (and arguably reasonable!) assumption by purchasers that a 'small' business OS will run on a small server. Hence it's often found to be running on grossly under-spec'd hardware.

    As regards the databases, corporate workers are used-to being restricted to tiny amounts of personal data, but small business users see nothing wrong with accumulating several gigabytes worth of old emails. The issue here is that with Exchange's everything-in-one-file approach it takes only a handful of hoarders to saturate the mailstore, or to create database files so huge that backup is a major problem. Yet, what is the point of a system which is incapable of storing a full email history for each user, over at least several years? Not having last year's emails makes it hard for sales staff to follow-up repeat orders, and so on.

    For my own office I don't use Exchange. I have a full history of my email communications with clients running back several years on an open source email platform, and if I get a repeat enquiry I have no problems following it up. Plus, no AD domain, no special DNS, no SIDs, no SBS wizards, no licensing woes. Would I switch? Er... no thanks.

  24. The Vociferous Time Waster
    Facepalm

    SBS

    SBS LOLZ. It's like the free bag of pills the dealer gives you in the hope that you'll get hooked on harder stuff later on. I love how we have penguin heads talking about how they deal with big environments yet they also talk about USB hard drives for backups; that sounds like a kiddie solution to me but then I've got a little over 30TB to care for.

  25. T J
    Coat

    Dont use Exchange

    Simple. Any questions?

    Mine's the one with the non proprietary mail spool that works.

  26. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Every software works perfectly when it works perfectly

    The point is, how do you recover from times when something bad happens. Things will go wrong, eventually, and it doesn't need to be the software. Just imagine a bit flips somewhere on your storage system or you loose a file. How much data did you actually loose? Can you repair the damage easily?

  27. Anteaus
    Mushroom

    Only yesterday...

    Had to reboot an SBS because several less-important services had ceased functioning. The reboot took about twenty minutes. Most of which was, I suspect, Exchange shutdown.

    One of the site staff lost her rag and began screaming abuse at me, saying that she had a panic schedule to meet, and couldn't understand why I had to cancel her file-share access just to get the other services back working.

    Meanwhile the satellite offices wehre phoning-in to ask why they couldn't access their email.

    Anyone specifying SBS needs to think carefully about the SPOF they're creating. It's a bit like having an electrical installation with only one fuse/breaker. Bulb blows, pop, out goes the lot. Need to change a socket? Sorry, everything goes off, including lights. In some ways this is even worse than relying on dodgy cloud servers.

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