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Problem: My GroupWise System Has Become Too Large

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jeff Stratford

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Posted: 25 Jul 2006

What is too large? The answer is relative to the size of your organization, and the amount of time and money you have. I call this the GroupWise theory of relativity. For small organizations with even smaller budgets, a GroupWise system that is too large could be several gigabytes of data in the various GroupWise databases. For larger organizations, too large may represent hundreds of gigabytes. So the term "too large" is relative to where you are currently sitting. Let's look at some common problems many organizations have with size.

An overweight GroupWise system increases circulation problems, requires a large amount of space, and creates several undesirable side effects, or so my Dr. tells me, er, I mean my IT guys. So if you are seeing some of the following problems, you might have a system that is "too large:"

  • It takes a long time to index messages on the post office. (Note to self: Resist the urge to turn off indexing.)
  • It takes a long time to backup the database files.
  • It takes a lot more storage space for the backed-up files.
  • It takes a lot of time and storage to restore a whole post office structure from tape.
  • It takes a lot more storage space to contain the live system files. Many people say "storage is cheap," but you are not solving the problem - you are just pushing it off.
  • It takes a long time for GWCheck to complete. Even though it is now multi-threaded and takes less time, for overweight systems, it can still take some time to complete.
  • It takes a long time to run a contents check to cleanup content-related problems. Novell's best practices guide says you should check and fix the contents of the system weekly. With large systems this means weekly, but only on the weekends.
  • It takes a long time to run a structure check to cleanup structure-related problems in the system. Novell's best practices guide says you should check and fix the structure of the system nightly. With large systems lets hope it will finish before the POA activity increases in the morning when users login.
  • It takes a long time to search for and find messages in an account. The larger the number of messages in an account, the longer it takes to trudge through them all looking for the video clip of Zidane's head-butt in the final game.
  • It takes a long time to display a list of messages in the client for a given folder. Again, wading through all those "are you going to lunch" messages over the past 2 years can slow things down.

Do any of these problems sound a little familiar? I won?t go into the fact that 90% of the file attachments in your GroupWise system have already been saved to the user?s local drive, and have been viewed, modified and or deleted locally. Does the end-user even remember the file is still in your GroupWise system?

Novell's GroupWise Best Practices Guide is very helpful in designing and sizing your GroupWise system. Versions are available on Cool Solutions and Novell's Support Knowledge base. There are also some good tips on optimizing your quick finder indexing, if you have the resources and know- how.

One solution to these overweight-related problems is reducing the size of the system. In a nutshell, it means Stephanie only gets a certain number of bytes for her email storage. If she wants to save all the messages her friends forward to her that have nothing to do with reality, or a prince in Nigeria for that matter, she can. But once she hits her limit, too bad - time to delete or move them off to a personal GroupWise archive. Now you don't want to get me started on using personal GroupWise archives. That's an article unto itself.

Feeling energized, you implement a user storage-space policy. Things are going swell until a new company lawyer in his pressed white shirt comes to your office and tells you that you now have to save all email messages for compliance or legal reasons. You cringe and feebly reply ?I already do. They are on all those backup tapes you see stacked over there.? Good luck in searching for the messages he needs for the auditor.

Yes there is a solution for this problem. GroupWise should be a mean and lean system, not bogged down with old messages that will never be seen again. There are potentially thousands of administrative messages, email messages, connections, and other communication commands that the GroupWise systems deals with on a daily basis. It is constantly reading and writing to various database files. While it can scale to a rather large size, it is not that desirable. Why not move the older messages off to a central archive system that is not accessed as often as the live GroupWise system and leave only the "current" messages in your system?

If you use a product like Nexic Discovery, you can archive new messages every night to a central archive in XML format, or to a SQL Database, or to a SMTP-based archiving solution. Pick your choice, it's flexible. Then enable a 30-, 60-, or 90-day cleanup policy - anything older than 90 days is deleted from the system. When looking for older messages, most users are looking for items within the past 2 weeks. In this example, these not-so-old messages are still in the live system, so it makes it easy for your end users to find them. You also satisfy the lawyers' requirement to save all email. This means you can now cross out many, if not all, of the "too large" problem items listed above.

You also need to remember that just like disaster recovery, backups are not archiving, and archiving is not your disaster recovery solution. You still need to back up your GroupWise system, but it will be easier, faster, and will take less space now. You also need to back up your archive, but that is easier as well - it is mostly message related-information and does not include all the GroupWise link and configuration data stored within your GroupWise system databases.

A GroupWise system that is too large is hard to manage, and can quickly become undesirable if allowed to grow uncontrolled. Except for those who view this as a part of their job security, you should seriously look at implementing a central archiving solution rather than leaving messages in your GroupWise system for long periods of time. For more information on how Nexic Discovery can solve your problems with an overweight GroupWise system, visit

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