Limiting Exchange 2010 SP1 Database Cache

Some time ago, I blogged about on how to limit the amount of memory Exchange 2010 can allocate for database cache. After the introduction of Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1 this didn’t seem to work anymore, as many people reported.

After some investigation, it turns out you also need to set the msExchESEparamCacheSizeMin value for Exchange 2010 SP1?s cache manager to honor the minimum and maximum limits for allocating database cache memory.

To show you this, I’ll first show Exchange 2010 SP1 where I only set msExchESEparamCacheSizeMax. In this example, I’ll use a value of 1024 which corresponds to 32 MB (1024 * 32kb pages). I then turned on Performance Monitor and started monitoring the following MSExchange Database Cache\Information Storecounters:

  • Database Cache Size, the current allocated database cache size;
  • Database Cache Size Min, the minimum database cache size;
  • Database Cache Size Max, the maximum database cache size.

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Limiting Exchange 2010 store.exe Database Cache

Note (6apr2011): Setting the MsExchESEParamCacheSizeMax only doesn’t produce the required result as of Exchange 2010 SP1. For more information on how to limit the database cache size in Exchange 2010 SP1, see Limiting Exchange 2010 SP1 Database Cache.

I received a question from someone implementing Exchange 2010 who was surprised to see Exchange taking up all available memory. This is because in Exchange 2010 (2007 as well) memory allocation is dynamic, contrary to Exchange 2003 and earlier versions where, depending on the situation, you had to fiddle around with boot.ini switches like /3GB to make memory available to Exchange. Also, the maximum database cache size was limited in Exchange 2003 to around 1.2 GB due to virtual address space limitations (see MSKB 815372).

The main reason Exchange 2007/2010 claims memory for its database cache is performance. The more memory is assigned to the database cache, the less I/O’s are generated because things can be dealt with in-memory and the database cache becomes more effective. When a certain amount of transactions has been reached, changes will be physically written to databases (so far they’ve been stored in-memory and written to transaction logs). This limit is called the log checkpoint depth target.

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Mailbag 16th March 2011

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Wake-on-LAN

Tom Asks:

Is there a way to wake one of the computers from hibernation from the Windows Home Server webpage or remote console?

When I travel the only system I keep active is my Windows Home Server, and then when I need to access one of the Windows Home Server clients it is inevitably offline, right when I need to access it… figures. Are there any add-ons to fix this issue?

Tom you are in luck, there is an excellent addin for Windows Home Server called Lights-Out, all you need to do is install the addin, then install the application on each machine, and then enable Wake-on-LAN on your network card and/or in the BIOS. If that sounds like a bit too much, don’t worry there is an excellent instruction guide that comes with it. Best of all, this addin can be used free of charge, although donations are gratefully accepted.

Once all setup you will be able to login to the WHS console from the WHS webpage, go to the addin,  select which machine on your network you would like to wake, once the machine has booted you will then see it available to access.

You can find Lights-Out here.

Faulty RAID Controller

Jim Asks:

I am getting:
Source: Si3114r5
TimeGenerated: 2/25/2011 5:03:50 PM
InstanceId: 3221487625
Catagory: (0)
CatagoryNumber: 0
EntryType: Error
Message: The device, \Device\Scsi\Si3114r52, did not respond within the timeout period.

Does this point me to a specific drive on a specific controller? There are 12 drives in my system on different controllers.

Jim this doesn’t seem to be a problem with a particular drive this is being caused by the RAID card you have installed, the drives that you have connected to that card are possibly at risk of losing data. This is a known problem with this controller and it does seem to like working with Windows Home Server, my guess is that if you are getting the error above you will most likely be getting the error below:

NTFS
Event Type: Error
Event Source: NTFS
Event Category: Disk
The file system structure on the disk is corrupt and unusable. Please run the chkdsk utility on the volume X.
(X is sometimes DATA, sometimes individual drive letters longer. The longer the system is up, the more errors and drives are reported)

I would also hazard a guess that you are getting file conflicts, NTFS corruption and maybe some hanging. I can’t give you a complete resolution as many people have tried different drivers but to no avail, most people’s resolution was unfortunately to replace the RAID card.

Hope this has helped to understand the error.

Migrate WHS to WHS

Renny Asks:

My WHS is pretty old based mostly on components which are 6YO. I would like to migrate to a newer MB/CPU set up that I have spare.

Can I literally just unplug the 5 HDDs I have in my server and DAS and stick them in the new box and expect it to work, or do I need to do a full reinstall to migrate???

Renny, this is something that is extremely annoying for me on a daily basis. The simple answer is no, you can’t just unplug the drive and put them in to a new machine, I can only hope for the day when that is possible. Unfortunately you have to completely re-install Windows Home Server on your new server and then painstakingly copy the data from the old server to the new one.

I know I haven’t been able to answer everyone’s questions, so those that haven’t been answered why not post them in the MSwhs forum.

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Mailbag 22nd February 2011

  • WHS 2011with integrated Media Center
  • What is the best way to Raid WHS 2011?
  • What happens after WHS 2011 beta expires?

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I am back!!! I have been gone unexpectedly now for 5 weeks to job search and I can confirm that is now over and I am back for the foreseeable future. Some major talking points while I have been gone, WHS 2011 released in beta which is great news, also some excellent addin news about DE in the form of an addin from third parties. It would seem that there is going to be three different addins available offering the DE function from DataCore Software, Drive Bender and StableBit, in my eyes competition is a good thing and it may be that Microsoft did us all a favor, so watch this space.

WHS 2011with integrated Media Center

David Asks:

I am a WHSv1 user, and I have been interested in Home Theatre PCs for a while. I don’t want to have 2 PCs on 24-7, so I thought about trying to get tuners into a WHS box. But since true MS Windows Media Center features are not found in v1 or WHS2011, I was thinking about building a Windows7 Home Theatre PC instead. With Drive Extender gone from the 2011 product, is it possible to set up WHS2011 in a Virtual Machine on the Home Theatre PC to do client backups? What would you recommend for RAID, partitioning, backups, and media sharing?

This is an excellent idea, this is certainly something I would do myself, if I was running Media Centre PC’s. The only pit fall I can foresee is a bandwidth problem; imagine you’re streaming a DVD from another PC in the home, direct to the media center with WHS 2011 hosted on, then another machine in the home starts its backup, then maybe another machine starts streaming a movie from the media center you are watching your DVD, It could end in chaos.

I certainly think it’s a bold idea and if planned correctly could be a fruitful one. My advice on hardware would be this:

System: 120GB SSD
Data drives: 5 x 2TB HDD (Raid 5)
Network: 1Gbps
CPU: Core i5
RAM: 8GB
Optical Media Drive: Blu-ray

The best way to set this up would be install the Windows 7 OS on the SSD drive, install Virtual PC and install WHS 2011 into an expanding VHD, then add a second VHD as the data drive setting the size limit to around 9TB. This way you have 1TB in the pool for the expanding WHS 2011 OS drive and a place to put the recorded media from the Media Center.

This is a great idea and one I would like to share with the rest of the community while it is being built, let me know how you are getting on at each stage and we will follow the progress here at MSwhs.com

What is the best way to Raid WHS 2011?

Jerry Asks:

Now that it is a definite that DE will not be in WHS 2011, what hardware build do you recommend for a DIY builder? I am especially interested in setting up a RAID 5 array. Are any of the Motherboards with RAID on-board good?

Any motherboard with RAID ability will certainly do a job and should always be sufficient for any home user, but if you really want to go that step further a dedicated RAID card is the other way to go. RAID cards aren’t normally very cheap for what they are and a good one will certainly set you back around £80/$120.

Cheap RAID cards at around £30/$45 are excellent for adding additional SATA ports to a machine if you find yourself running out.

What happens after WHS 2011 beta expires?

Thomas Asks:

Ok, maybe I missed it, but where are the inputs/comments about whether or not you retain all of your current folders, add ins, and data on your current Windows Home Server HDDs, if you elect to try the new Windows Home Server 2011? Do you lose it all and have to start over, etc, etc. Also, is there a recovery feature that allows you to go back to the old Windows Home Server settings if you so desire or when the beta expires???

First of all let me stress that any beta software shouldn’t be used in a production environment, this is software that has been released for testing purposes only and WHS 2011 is no different. I also need to stress there is no downgrade path or upgrade path for that matter, if you install WHS 2011 the only way to go back to WHS v1 is to do a fresh install, which means formatting your data drives and hence losing all data on them.

If you want to go from WHSv1 to WHS 2011 you will need to backup all your data then install WHSv1 a fresh. If you come to the end of the beta and you have data within WHS 2011 then you need to back it up and move it out of WHS 2011 as you will have a hard time getting it back if it expires.

All settings, addins and customizations will be lost once the beta expires.

I know I haven’t been able to answer everyone’s questions, so those that haven’t been answered why not post them in the MSwhs forum.

Written by

Matthew Glover
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