Monitoring Strategies


Topic Last Modified: 2005-05-20

A common misconception is that monitoring is simply an automatic process in which your system administrators are notified of major issues. However, there are many monitoring strategies that can help increase the availability of your messaging system. This section provides overviews of some of the more important monitoring strategies.

Before deploying Exchange 2003 in a production environment, you should test your Exchange messaging system in a laboratory and pilot deployment. Moreover, to make sure that your system will perform adequately in a production environment, you should carefully monitor all aspects of the test deployment.

To monitor your test deployment, you can use the following tools in conjunction with the tools discussed in this section:

  • Exchange Server Stress and Performance (ESP) 2003

  • Jetstress

  • Exchange Server Load Simulator 2003 (LoadSim)

  • These tools are available for download from the Downloads for Exchange Server 2003 Web site.

For information about using these tools, see "Laboratory Testing and Pilot Deployments" in System-Level Fault Tolerant Measures.

After deploying Exchange 2003 in a production environment, you must develop a routine monitoring strategy. This strategy should include allocating a substantial number of administrative resources for monitoring tasks. The information in this topic can help you plan a routine monitoring strategy.

Establishing a routine monitoring strategy has the following advantages:

  • Helps make sure that the performance requirements of your service level agreements (SLAs) are being met

  • Helps make sure that specific administrative tasks (such as daily backup operations) are being successfully completed

  • Enables you to detect and address issues in your Exchange organization before they affect productivity

There are various ways in which you may be notified of performance problems within your Exchange 2003 messaging system. For example, one way is when users notify your messaging support staff of a loss in e-mail services. Another way is through routine monitoring results. In some cases, you may be able to quickly resolve the issue without extensive diagnosis. However, for complex issues, you may need to temporarily increase the level at which you are monitoring specific components of your system.

For example, if a routine monitoring report notifies you that there is significant latency in regard to e-mail messages sent from one mailbox server to another, you can increase the depth at which you monitor the servers involved. Specifically, to create a more detailed report of the latency issues, you can use the Windows Server 2003 Performance Monitor (Perfmon) tool. In addition, you can use the Exchange 2003 tools Queue Viewer and Message Tracking Center. You can use Queue Viewer to monitor the specific message queue for any message flow problems. You can use Message Tracking Center to view the path of a message as it is flows through your messaging infrastructure.

After using these monitoring tools and examining additional monitoring reports, you should be more able to determine the root cause of the issue. In general, an increase in monitoring can help you regain your expected performance levels.

For information about Queue Viewer and Messaging Tracking Center, see "Exchange 2003 Monitoring Features" in Monitoring Features and Tools. For information about Performance Monitor, see "Windows Monitoring Features and Tools" in Monitoring Features and Tools.

For information about how to monitor your Exchange 2003 organization, including how to determine the root causes of performance issues, see Troubleshooting Exchange Server 2003 Performance.

For information about tuning your Exchange 2003 organization, see the Exchange Server 2003 Performance and Scalability Guide.

Whenever possible, you should establish long-term monitoring strategies to help you with trend analysis and capacity planning.

Establishing a long-term monitoring strategy has the following advantages:

  • Increases your ability to predict when system expansion is necessary

  • Assists in identifying strategies for load balancing

  • Helps detect changes in Exchange service usage by client computers

  • Helps troubleshoot for problems such as memory leaks or abnormal disk consumption

A monitoring strategy that includes measuring the capacity of Exchange resources is important to the long-term success of a highly available messaging system. Specifically, this strategy allows you to anticipate future system usage, scalability, and growth requirements.

Do not limit capacity planning to components such as disks. Make sure that your plans encompass all system components that could become bottlenecks, such as CPU, memory, network, and domain controller services.

Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003 provide monitoring and management tools that can help you monitor for long-term trend analysis. However, it is recommended that you consider additional tools as well. For example, to create a historical trend analysis of your Exchange 2003 messaging system, you can use Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2000 in conjunction with Application Management Pack for Exchange 2003 or a third-party monitoring tool.

For information about MOM 2000 and Application Management Pack for Exchange 2003, see "Microsoft Operations Manager 2000" in Monitoring Features and Tools.

For information about third-party monitoring tools, see "Third-Party Monitoring Products" in Monitoring Features and Tools.


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