Establishing Exchange Content Index Rebuild Baselines – Part 1

Generally speaking one of the first actions most Exchange Administrators take when troubleshooting suspected problems with Exchange Content Indexing will be to rebuild the impacted Exchange Mailbox Database’s Content Index files (either manually or via use of the ResetSearchIndex script). I have also worked with many Exchange Administrators over the years that choose to proactively rebuild Search Indexes at various points during the calendar year or as various milestones within a project are met (say in a migration project; as a single example). Irrespective of the rationale for resetting the indexes, most Administrators, if and when asked, will be unable to provide realistic estimates for how long this process will take from start to finish. The undesired consequences of not estimating these times accurately will differ from organization to organization. Some IT departments may discourage not having server side indexes available to users during the business day citing losses in end-user productivity and upticks in escalated issues hitting the Help Desk. From an operational perspective not having knowledge of the anticipated rebuild times might also deprive Exchange Administrators from being alerted to potential problems within the rebuild process itself. Whatever your rationale having a sound understanding of how long the process might take is valuable.

Admittedly there is very little information concerning the amount of time it takes (or better yet should take) to rebuild an Exchange Content Index available today. Ostensibly this is because the actual rebuild times are always variable. There are many factors that influence the rebuild rates and time to complete. Most notably:

  • Variability in the total number of end-user mailboxes “homed” on an Exchange Mailbox Database
  • Variability in the size of mailboxes contained on an Exchange Mailbox Database
  • Variability in item counts between user mailboxes homed on an Exchange Mailbox Database
  • Variability in item counts between Exchange Mailbox Databases (when performing concurrent rebuilds)
  • Variability in the size of items residing within an Exchange Mailbox Database
  • Variability in number and size of mail attachments residing within an Exchange Mailbox Database
  • The types and number of enabled IFilters on an Exchange Mailbox Server (allows for the indexing of various file formats)
  • The overall system resource utilization of a Mailbox Server performing crawl (think throttling)
  • Many more…

Read more at source: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2012/06/25/establishing-exchange-content-index-rebuild-baselines-part-1.aspx

Cheers,
Anderson Patricio
http://blogs.msexchange.org/patricio
http://www.andersonpatricio.ca
Twitter: @apatricio

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