Exchange 2000 Server Operations Guide: Introduction

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Updated : October 11, 2001

Microsoft® Exchange 2000 Server

This chapter is part of the Exchange 2000 Server Operations Guide.

This chapter provides an overview of operations in a Microsoft® Exchange 2000 Server environment and a framework for the rest of the chapters in the Operations Guide. This chapter guides you through the various elements involved in Exchange 2000 operations and categorizes them. It also examines service level agreements and how they are used to measure success in operations. By the end of this chapter, you will be able start preparing your operations environment.

On This Page

Microsoft Operations Framework (Mof)
Chapter Outlines
Planning and Deployment
Service Level Agreements


Welcome to the Microsoft® Exchange 2000 Server Operations Guide. This guide is designed to give you the best information available on managing operations within an Exchange 2000 environment.

To manage Exchange in a day-to-day environment, an operations team needs to perform a wide variety of procedures, including server monitoring, backup, verification of scheduled events, protection against attack, and user support. This guide includes instructions for the procedures along with steps for dealing with unresolved issues in a timely manner.

Microsoft Operations Framework (Mof)

For operations to be as efficient as possible in your environment, you must manage them effectively. To assist you, Microsoft has developed the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF). This is essentially a collection of best practices, principles, and models providing you with technical guidance. Following MOF guidelines should help you to achieve mission-critical production system reliability, availability, supportability, and manageability on Microsoft products.

The MOF process model is split into four integrated quadrants. These are as follows:

  • Changing

  • Operating

  • Supporting

  • Optimizing

Together, the phases form a spiral life cycle (see Figure 1.1) that can apply to the operations of anything from a specific application to an entire operations environment with multiple data centers. In this case, you will be using MOF in the context of Exchange 2000 operations.


Figure 1.1: MOF Process Model

The process model is supported by 20 service management functions (SMFs) and an integrated team model and risk model. Each quadrant is supported with a corresponding operations management review (also known as review milestone), during which the effectiveness of that quadrant's SMFs are assessed.

It is not essential to be a MOF expert to understand and use this guide, but a good understanding of MOF principles will assist you in managing and maintaining a reliable, available, and stable operations environment.

If you wish to learn more about MOF and how it can assist you to achieve maximum reliability, availability, and stability in your enterprise, visit more detailed information. For prescriptive MOF information on all 20 service management functions, complementing the Exchange-specific information found in this guide, examine the detailed operations guides at

How to Use This Guide

While this guide is designed to be read from start to finish, you may wish to "dip in" to the guide to assist you in particular problem areas. To assist you in doing so, the guide contains a number of symbols that you will not find elsewhere. It is very important that you read the following section if you are going to get the most out of your piecemeal approach.

Efficiency, Continuity, and Security

Not every Exchange Operations manager thinks in terms of the MOF. Another way of considering operations is in terms of the categories in which they fit. The wide variety of tasks that constitute Exchange 2000 operations can be divided into three broadly overlapping groups. Figure 1.2 shows these groups and how the operations fit within them.


Figure 1.2: Exchange 2000 Operations divided into groups

This guide covers all three areas described above. Although the chapters are structured according to Microsoft operations principles, you will find information about all of these areas in the guide.

Chapter Outlines

This guide consists of the following chapters, each of which takes you through a part of the operations process. Each chapter is designed to be read in whole or in part, according to your needs.

Chapter 2 – Capacity and Availability Management

To continue to function as it should, Exchange must be managed over time as the load on the system increases. The chapter looks at the different tasks that you may need to perform as the Exchange environment is used more.

This chapter deals with these topics:

  • Capacity management

  • Availability management

  • Performance tuning

  • Hardware upgrades

Chapter 3 – Change and Configuration Management

This chapter presents many of the processes used to manage an Exchange 2000 environment. These processes will help you to evaluate, control, and document change and configuration within your organization.

This chapter deals with the following:

  • Change management

  • Configuration management (including use of Exchange system policies)

Chapter 4 – Enterprise Monitoring

To track any problems and to ensure that your Exchange 2000 Server is running efficiently, you need to monitor it effectively. Monitoring is not something that should occur only when there are problems, but should be a continuous part of your maintenance program. The chapter shows how you can monitor your Exchange 2000 to deal with any problems as (or preferably before) they arise.

This chapter deals with these topics:

  • Creating an enterprise monitoring framework

  • Performance monitoring

  • Event monitoring

  • Availability monitoring

  • Proactive monitoring

  • Availability prediction

Chapter 5 – Protection

To protect your Exchange environment from failure, you need good protection from intrusion and attack, along with a documented and tested disaster-recovery procedure to cope with system failure. The chapter shows how to ensure that your server running Exchange is protected against these eventualities.

This chapter deals with the following:

  • Firewall issues

  • Anti-virus protection

  • Disaster-recovery procedures

  • Recovery testing

  • Backup

  • Restore

Chapter 6 – Support

An effective support environment allows you to deal more efficiently with unforeseen issues, increasing the reliability of your Exchange environment. This chapter shows how to manage your support in an Exchange 2000 environment.

This chapter deals with these topics:

  • Helpdesk support

  • Problem management

Planning and Deployment

To make the most out of your Exchange 2000 environment, you should make sure that your operations are carefully planned and structured. The best way of ensuring that your operations are efficient is to have operations intrinsically involved in the planning and deployment phases of Exchange 2000, providing valuable input into those processes.

Many times deployment teams do not involve the operations team in the project until it is near completion. If you are going to perform successful operations from the outset, you should make sure that you plan effectively for the operations team to take over the infrastructure and processes. Making sure that at least one member of operations attends all planning and deployment meetings will help to ensure that your design and implementation takes operations needs into account.

Operations procedures need to be defined during the planning and deployment process. Service level agreements, disaster-recovery documents, and monitoring procedures all need to be created at this stage, because waiting until the system is live could be too late. The operations team should be using the planning phase (and in some cases the deployment phase) to test procedures that are defined, such as those for disaster recovery.

Planning and deployment are covered in more detail as part of the Exchange 2000 Upgrade Series. You will find this at the following Web site:

Service Level Agreements

Your goal for successful operations is to produce a high quality of service at a reasonable cost. The definition of a high quality of service will vary according to the needs of your organization. The level of service you offer will generally be a compromise between quality-of-service requirements and the costs necessary to provide it.

Central to the idea of successful operations is the service level agreement (SLA) process. Success or failure of an operations environment is measured against the requirements of the SLA. It is therefore very important that you define the SLA realistically according to the resources you can devote to your operations environment.

Note: When it is internal to IT, an SLA is often referred to as an operating level agreement (OLA). For the sake of clarity, this guide refers to SLAs only. However, the recommendations in the guide apply to OLAs as well as SLAs.

Your SLAs should be a commitment to providing service in four different areas:

  • Features

  • Performance

  • Recovery

  • Support


Here you state which Exchange services you will be offering to the client base. These would include some or all of the following:

  • E-mail (via some or all of MAPI, POP3, IMAP4, and OWA)

  • Defined mailbox size for different categories of user

  • Public folder access

  • Ability to schedule meetings

  • Instant messaging

  • Chat

  • Video conferencing


Here you show the performance you would expect from each of the previously mentioned features. This would include some or all of the following:

  • Service availability (this may be given across all services or on a service-by-service basis)

  • Service hours

  • Mail delivery times (note that you are not able to guarantee mail delivery times, either to the Internet or within your organization, if you use the Internet as part of your intra-organization mail topology)

  • Mailbox replication times (dependent on Active Directory™ service)


Here is where you will specify what you expect in terms of disaster recovery. Although you naturally hope that disaster never strikes, it is important to assume that it will and have recovery times that will meet in a number of disaster-recovery scenarios. These include the following:

  • Recovery from failed Exchange Store

  • Recovery from total server failure


Here you specify how you will offer support to the user community, and also how you would deal with problems with your Exchange Server environment. You would include commitments on the following:

  • Helpdesk response time

  • When and how problems will be escalated

Of course it is one thing to determine what your SLAs should measure, and quite another to come up with the right figures for them. You should always define them realistically according to the needs of the business. Realistically is the key word here. For example, while your business might want Exchange to have guaranteed uptime of 100 percent, it is unrealistic to require this in an SLA because a single incident anywhere within your organization will cause you to fail to meet the SLA.

Your operations environment should be built around meeting the requirements of your SLAs.

For more information on defining SLAs, refer to the MOF Service Level Management document, which you will find at the following Web site:


This chapter has introduced you to this guide and summarized the other chapters in it. It has also provided brief descriptions of both service level agreements and planning and deployment. Now that you understand the organization of the guide, you can decide whether to read it from beginning to end, or whether you want to read selected portions. Remember that effective, successful operations require effort in all areas, not just improvements in one area, so that if you decide to read the Supporting chapter first, you should go back and read the other chapters as well.

More Information

You will find more information about MOF at the following Web sites: