Exchange Volume Block Size

Introduction
Exchange 2010/2013 depend on the Windows operating system when it need to write to the storage volume. Windows can format a LUN or Volume with different block sizes from 4K – 64K. The LUN or Volume should be formatted with the appropriate block size to meet the application workload. Exchange 2010/2013 uses 32K pages when it write to the storage subsystem. With a little math we can see what will happen if we select the wrong block size.

Cluster Size Exchange Page Size IOPS
4K

32K

8

8K

32K

4

16K

32K

2

32K

32K

1

64K

32K

.5

From this table you can see that each time Exchange has to write 1 page from memory to the storage subsystem the performance can be affected if the LUN or Volume is formatted with the wrong block size. Microsoft recommendation is to use 64K for all Exchange volumes (EDB and Log volumes). So if one of your Databases is having problems with performance the first thing to check is what is the block size that is used for the Exchange LUNS.

An extract from Understanding Storage Configuration for  Exchange 2010:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee832792(v=exchg.141).aspx
ExchangeBlockSize

How to check the volume cluster size?
To check the volume cluster size you can use the fsutil command line

Command: fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo f:

4K Block disk

64K Block Disk


How to fix this issue?
The customer will have to reformat each LUN with the appropriate block size. This is a big task and it need to be coordinated so all database copies have the same block size.

Additional Information
NTFS File System Cluster Sizes: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/140365
NTFS Fragmentation and Exchange : http://blogs.technet.com/b/mikelag/archive/2011/02/09/how-fragmentation-on-incorrectly-formatted-ntfs-volumes-affects-exchange.aspx

Subscribe For Latest Updates

Sign up for best of digital marketing, livestream and technology opinions on what matters to you.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

2 thoughts on “Exchange Volume Block Size”

    • Yes it still does. There where some internal MS documents shared with the Microsoft Certified Solution Master Team a couple of years ago. You should format your disk with 64K block size.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: