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How to Control or Limit the Message Store Size

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Posted: 25 Sep 2003

TID-10086088 - How to control or limit message store size

A common call for Novell Support has been related to disk space management specific to GroupWise post offices. Customers run out of disk space and call in wondering why? Or due to troubleshooting or snooping they find files in the OFFILES directory older than the date specified when running an Expire/Reduce in GWCHECK. To understand the GroupWise cleanup process you need to be familiar with some common terms and how things work.

The term message store used in this solution refers to three directories OFUSER, OFMSG, and OFFILES. OFUSER and OFMSG contain databases and OFFILES contains BLOBs (Binary Large Objects). The databases found in OFUSER are specific to each user created in a post office. The user database does not store the message, but keeps a reference to the message. The databases found under OFMSG contain the messages that are under 2K in size. Messages or to be more accurate items in a message over 2K in size are stored as BLOBs in the OFFILES directory. The message database would have a pointer/reference to the BLOB in OFFILES.

Besides running out of disk space there are other reasons why a GroupWise administrator needs to control or limit the size of the post office message store. "Maintenance", the larger a message store becomes the longer it takes to complete maintenance. For example, my users arrive to work at 8:00AM - When my post office was 10 gig in size I could start it at 3:00AM and have it complete at 5:00AM. However, my user message use increases dramatically but they are not cleaning up the old mail messages, now the Maintenance is completing at 9:00AM. My users are now complaining about performance when using the GroupWise client. "Backup", is another reason. The larger the message store the longer backups will take to complete. "Performance", the larger databases become the longer it takes for them to be read or written too.

Lets talk about the Cleanup routine GroupWise applies to determine if mail items can truly be expired and disk space reclaimed. Lets apply this to the question "I am running an Expire/Reduce and specifying an age limit of 90 days. Why isn't it deleting the BLOBs found in the OFFILES directory that have dates clear back to 1995?"

The Cleanup routine looks at the last modification date in the message record not the file date. This date can be updated when forwarding mail items as attachments (not flat forwarding), Rules that act on mail with attachments, Auto-dated appointments (over 2k), Delayed Delivery mail items.

The Cleanup routine does the following:

First it cleans up Trash, it then looks at the size of the mail items and weighs them based on age, it excludes any items that have not been read, if not backed up, Inbox first then Outbox, as a last resort it cleans up items not read from Inbox and Outbox (only if Mailbox limit specified).

The Cleanup Routine will not touch items in Shared Folders/Address books, status messages from sharing a folder/address book, Delayed Delivered mail items (unless delivered and meets Cleanup criteria), Auto-dated appointments, Rules that act on mail items containing attachments.

There are many instances where mail items should not be cleaned up and the file date will be very old depending on when it was created.

The best way to control a message store is to:

  1. Impose disk space limitations on users. This can be done from ConsoleOne in Client Options which can be setup at the domain, post office, or user level. See the GroupWise documentation for instructions on how to do this. Managing Database Disk Space. The Cleanup routine will be more aggressive if disk space limitations have been imposed.

  2. Force mail items to either be Archived or Deleted after X number of days

  3. Set up POA scheduled event with an Action of Expire/Reduce Messages with the following checked - Items older than, Downloaded Items Older Than, Trash Older Than, Reduce Mailbox To Limited Size, under Include check Received Items, Sent Items, Calendar Items, or Only Backed-Up.

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