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Impact of user manually compacting mail database

This administrator wants to know the impact of an individual user manually compating their mail database.

We want to implement transaction logging on our Domino 6.5.2 server. We have researched how to configure and enable it, we have the necessary disk space, and we have third-party software to back up the log file (for archive logging), etc.

The documentation states that after transaction logging is enabled, running certain Domino utilities, such as compact and fixup, is not recommended. (Currently we have the servers perform those tasks on a weekly basis via a program document, but once logging is enabled, we will not do that.) However, we do not know the impact of an individual user manually compacting their mail database from the database properties dialog box. The documentation (from Domino Help system) states that ". . .using the compact command with options. . . causes Domino to reconstruct the database in such a way that old transaction log records are no longer valid." When a user performs a manual compact, does it use an option and if so, how do we prevent users from doing this?

Users who perform a manual compact from their database properties are essentially issuing a compact –B. This will change the DBIID and will require a full backup of the file, from that point forward, for recovery purposes.

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Since submitting this question, I have done a bit more research (which I was hoping to avoid by asking someone who was already familiar with the subject). I read an article in the January/February 2004 printing of "The View" written by Richard Thomsen and I also read everything else I could find in "The View," the Lotus/Domino Help system and LDD Today (Lotus DeveloperWorks).

Contrary to what Mr. Lazar says, Mr. Thomsen states , " .... the default behavior of the database Compact button changes when you enable transaction logging on your Domino server. Instead of reducing file size with the compact -B server command, the button executes the more conservative compact -b command."

I tested this on my server. I initiated a live console session with my mail server, then invoked Compact from a user's mail file. The Compact process started and completed on the server without any option being displayed and also without reducing the file size. In the Lotus/Domino Help system, under "In-Place compacting with space recovery only" it states, "When you run Compact without specifying options, Domino uses this style of compacting on all databases enabled for transaction logging. Domino also uses this style of compacting when you use the -b option ..."

It appears, then, that users can try and manually compact their mail databases from Database Properties all they want and it will have no affect on the transaction logs or the DBIID of their database. On the flip side, however, users will not be able to reduce the size of their database if they have gone over or are near to going over their quota. Since the user can only recover space but not reduce the size of their database after deleting and/or archiving documents, an Administrator will have to perform this task. This poses a different dilemma: dealing with an unplanned shift of workload and techniques for maintaining adequate server disk space and keeping databases 'healthy.'

Interestingly, I posed a similar transaction logging question to the ITKnowledge Exchange. Various responses came back, and I was advised to run Compact -B via a weekly program document and then immediately perform a full back-up as a 'best practice' for servers that use transaction logging.

—Anne M.

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