Exchange server is considered to be one of the many mission critical applications that cannot experience downtime. The biggest challenge for an Exchange admin is to constantly have a fully functioning system running during peak business hours as email downtime will affect business operations. To quickly diagnose and resolve performance bottlenecks in Exchange server, you should try to know every component within the application and how they impact performance.
Benefits of Monitoring Exchange Server
Having an agentless Exchange monitoring approach allows IT admins to monitor various aspects of Microsoft Exchange server performance. Get deeper visibility into the availability and performance of Exchange server, troubleshoot heavy server load, manage high rates of incoming emails, MAPI operations, POP3 requests, and so on.
Understand mailbox server roles to diagnose when issues arise due to replication, storage, information store, RPC requests, calendaring, and resource bookings. Deep Exchange server monitoring helps you optimize and monitor Active Sync connectivity, AD driver, client access role, etc. In addition to these, other monitoring benefits and questions you can answer include: Does Exchange server have any CPU bottlenecks? Is there sufficient memory? Are critical processes consuming additional resources? And, you can identify sudden mail traffic spikes.
Exchange Server Performance Monitoring
Don’t allow email downtime to affect business operations. Continuously monitor the following areas of Exchange server:
Mailbox Database Capacity: Understanding mailbox database capacity gives you visibility into:
- Mailbox database size: You can determine how many mailboxes can be deployed in a single database. For example, development teams may have to share emails with heavy attachments to customers for feedback, such user groups or departments with large mailboxes can be moved to another database to balance load and capacity.
- Storage usage: In order to estimate database capacity, you should map the number of user mailboxes per disk or array.
- Transaction log files: Looking at transaction logs for user mailboxes will give you more information about message size, attachment size, and amount of data sent and received, etc.
- Database growth and size: The database size will give you a rough estimate on the number of mailboxes you can deploy. This will depend on the availability factor (if you have a database copy then you have something to fall back on during failover) and storage configuration.
Manage Unused/Dormant Mailboxes: Businesses typically hire temp staff, interns, and contractors for a limited period. Admins have a tendency to leave those dormant mailboxes untouched for a long time. Removing these will free up storage and database capacity. Admins can reassign these to users who are short of capacity or keep them handy for future hires.
Comprehensive Mailbox Management: Exchange admins get trouble calls from users who can no longer send or receive emails. This happens when they’ve gone beyond their allocated mailbox quota. Instead of removing mailbox restrictions, Exchange admins can encourage users to move attachments, set up an archive, or adjust their archiving policy to reduce mailbox size. It’s important to monitor mailbox sizes to ensure each user group or individual employees remain at their original allocation. Larger organizations with many users will have to be smart about configuring mailbox sizes since they can get more trouble tickets due to an oversized email. Admins should proactively configure alerts and warn users when they’re about to reach their threshold.
- Automated alerting: Set up mechanisms to alert end-users that their quota is nearly reached. Additionally, you can provide information about their mailbox, like the number and size of attachments, and information on how to reduce mailbox size. This automation can save you several hours and leaves the responsibility of size reduction on the user.
- Hardware health: As with any application, you will need to monitor basic metrics to ensure hardware does not affect application performance. It’s important to monitor CPU, physical & virtual memory, disk, and hardware configurations.
- Other performance areas: A few key areas you should monitor include: Managing public folders for indexing, mailbox quotes for individual end-users, optimum storage performance of disks & spindles, selecting the right RAID configurations, and aligning storage disks for better performance.
Blog: 5 Tips to Optimize Exchange Server for Improved Performance
Video: Exchange Monitoring Tool: AppInsight for Exchange
Tech Tips: Exchange Server Performance Monitoring
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