[unisog] MS Exchange maintenance time

Greg Francis francis at gonzaga.edu
Thu May 15 00:57:02 GMT 2003

The Exchange server that I run is approximately 900 users and we have very
little downtime. There is more than our Sendmail system which has more
than 5000 users but that's primarily because of all of the security
patches from Microsoft that require reboots (nearly all). All in all, the
amount of downtime is fairly small because of patching.

The biggest question is defragging the database. This is something that we
haven't done in quite awhile because the database size has exceeded the
available free disk space. Exchange 2000 will allow us (and you) to create
smaller databases that can be taken offline individually and defragged. I
would say that you could go at least two to three months without a defrag
before it becomes a real problem (we've gone almost two years!).

Someone else mentioned the high hardware requirements for 900 users.
Exchange definitely requires more than Sendmail because it's doing a lot
more but the requirements are not killer. Our current Exchange 5.5 server
is a 2x450MHz PII w/1GB RAM and lots of SCSI disk (4x4GB,8x18GB). That was
a premo box when we built it four years ago but that's not much today. We
are replacing it with Xeon processors, more memory, and much more disk
this year. In comparison, we easily do five times that number of students
on Sendmail with the same box. Neither system is overly taxed most of the

Good luck in your project. E-mail or call me if you have any questions.


Greg Francis                                Gonzaga University
Sr. System Administrator                    Spokane Washington
francis at gonzaga.edu                         509-323-6896

On Wed, 14 May 2003, Jim Boyer wrote:

> I am looking at the option of replacing our college Unix Sendmail server
> with a MS Exchange server.  We currently have approx. 900 users, of which
> most of them are connecting via POP.  Our users are scattered all over
> campus as well as throughout the state.  My concern is the maintenance time
> required to keep Exchange running, versus the supposed benefits.  If you
> have any experience running Exchange with 900+ users I would appreciate your
> perspective on the issue.
> Please I do not want a MS vs Unix war here, only some good data to make
> a decision.
> Thanks for your help,
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Jim Boyer
> Systems Programmer
> Information Dept
> College of Agriculture and Home Economics
> Washington State University

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