(this post is a bit lengthy, so advTHANKSance for those who who stick with it to the end)
I have a client whose SBS 2003 server suddenly started crashing every night. The symptoms of the crash itself were weird. Generally the system would just freeze. I could still see the Windows interface on the screen, but the system itself was unresponsive to mouse and keyboard actions. Eventually I'd have to hard-boot the server in order to get it operating again (ugly).
After reviewing the system logs I noticed that the crashes were happening shortly after the online maintenance processes on system's Exchange the Private Store had begun. The online maintenance was scheduled to occur every night during off-hours. I believe it was set for 1am-4am.
Since the online maintenance processes were a precursor to a crash, I disabled them all-together until I could figure out the true underlying cause of the problem. For instance, I wanted to make certain that the problem wasn't related to faulty hardware.
A couple of weeks passed after disabling online maintenance and the server ran just fine, but I noted that the Exchange Store size was growing faster than usual. I chalked this up to the fact that things like online defragmentation weren't happening. I knew I'd need to eventually get the online maintenance tasks running again, but I couldn't schedule them to start on a weekday night because the server was required for production tasks first-thing every weekday morning.
One hunch I had about the crashes is that the online maintenance processes were butting heads with other scheduled tasks that were happening at about the same time (eg, VSS processes, backups, etc).
In order to test that hunch I set the online maintenance of the Private Store to occur during the wee hours Sunday morning and made certain that no other scheduled tasks were slated for the same period.
I fell asleep Saturday night fully expecting to wake up and find that the server had crashed by the time I woke Sunday morning. To my relief, it hadn't crashed. I checked the system logs and noted that the online maintenance processes had completed successfully.
So as it stands, I'm inclined to allow the online maintenance processes for the Exchange database on this particular server to run weekly (every Sunday morning) for a while. This will allow me an opportunity to see whether my hunch is correct or if there's some other underlying problem (like faulty hardware) that needs to be corrected.
My question is (and thanks for reading my 'novel' up to this point)... Is it adequate to allow online maintenance processes to occur once a week instead of every night? What's the downside of not performing this task every night?