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Exchange 2003 Best Practices Day-to-Day Jim McBee ITCS Hawaii

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Presentation on theme: "Exchange 2003 Best Practices Day-to-Day Jim McBee ITCS Hawaii"— Presentation transcript:

1 Exchange 2003 Best Practices Day-to-Day Jim McBee ITCS Hawaii

2 Jim McBee – Shameless self promotion Consultant, Writer, MCSE, MVP, and MCT – Honolulu, Hawaii Principal clients are SAIC, Dell, and Microsoft Author – Exchange Seven (Sybex) Contributor – Exchange and Outlook Administrator Blog – Mostly Exchange –

3 Audience Assumptions Level 200 session You have at least a few months experience running Exchange 2000 or 2003 You have worked with Active Directory You can install and configure Windows and Exchange

4 Sessions coverage Presentation – About 65 minutes Daily tasks Monitoring and health checks Event logs Worst practices Book give away – Drop off your business card or write your name on a slip of paper Questions and answers – 10 – 15 minutes Catch me afterwards also, Im here all week

5 Leave Exchange Alone Single server? No more than 30 minutes work a day on a typical day For the most part, Exchange does not require a lot of direct or hands on management Monitoring is more important Daily tasks consist of mostly checking things and verifying that the server is operating as expected Almost all tasks can be performed remotely (not at the console)

6 Preparing to Monitor The problem with logging is you dont know you need it until after the fact Set larger event log sizes Windows auditing Exchange diagnostics logging Message tracking Protocol logging

7 Recommended Event Log Sizes System – 50MB Security – 50MB Application – 200MB See

8 Windows Auditing These are for security purposes and not necessarily to tell you anything about Exchange Auditing changes to Exchange configuration must be done on domain controllers

9 Exchange Diagnostics Logging

10 Message Tracking Can be anywhere from a few KB to hundreds of MB per day Some third party reporting utilities use these logs Purged automatically

11 Protocol Logging Logging for SMTP or HTTP Enable on FE/BH servers Gives you an audit trail of Internet activity Logs do not automatically purge For sample script, see:

12 The Big Five - Critical Daily Tasks Verify successful backups Check available disk space Examine the inbound and outbound queues Review the event logs Confirm message hygiene systems health

13 Automate or Manual Most of the tasks in this presentation can be automated Logic can be placed in scripts that determines if an alert should be raised Missing, but expected events are just as important Knowledge of these tasks is still important

14 Those Wild And Crazy Event Logs Exchange is very good at recording information to the application event logs Confirming online maintenance completion is important Confirming backup completion Be on the lookup for system or application problems

15 Online maintenance Nightly each store has a series of maintenance tasks that ensure efficient database operation Purge deleted items and mailboxes Reorganize unused space Cleanup of stale indexes If online maintenance does not run Store will continually to grow Database will become fragmented Performance will suffer If online backup starts on any store in a storage group, online maintenance on the other stores will halt. Do not overlap online maintenance and backups.

16 Purging Deleted Items and Mailboxes

17 Database White Space – Event 1221 Indicates the amount of empty space in the database file Space will be reused before database file grows No action required unless space is 25% or more of total database file size Online backups will back up the entire file (white space and all)

18 Much Ado About Backups Probably the most important daily task you will perform Exchange-aware backup programs: Use a backup API to backup the database page-by- page and verify the integrity of each page Purge the transaction logs after a Normal or an Incremental backup Backups should not overlap online maintenance schedule (default 1:00AM – 5:00AM)

19 Emerging trend in backups Backup software backs up data to disk Two or three days worth of backups retained on disk Backup files then backed up to tape Faster Exchange backup and restore Usually need the most recent backup

20 What indicates a successful backup? Examine the backup applications logs Review the Application event log for specific events Good automated system will check for the absence of these events! Look at Database properties of store for date and time of last backup Transaction logs will be purged

21 ESE: Logging/Recovery Event 221 Indicates completion of backup of an STM or EDB file You should see this event once for each backup job for each ESB and STM file

22 ESE: Logging/Recovery - Event 223 Starting the backup of a storage groups transaction logs This should be seen for each storage group selected in a backup set

23 ESE: Logging/Recovery – Event 224 Indicates storage groups transaction logs are being purged You should see this event once for each storage group selected for backup

24 Backups will HALT if store corruption is detected Its a feature This is an event you DO NOT want to see If EDB file has page- level corruption, you get the infamous error STM file does not generate this error

25 Message Hygiene Checkups Message hygiene is the applications, tools, or utilities you use to protect your server from: Malware (worms, viruses, Trojan Horses) Spam and phishing Are their signs of an outbreak? Signature and Scanning Engine Update signatures every 1 to 2 hours Update scanning engine technology (if applicable) weekly Does the quarantine need to be reviewed?

26 Virus Scanning Statistics

27 Intelligent Message System Statistics

28 History Repeats Itself Availability of historical information can help you Project needs in the future Identify trends

29 Keep a log of… Record disk space usage Record store sizes Save mailbox space usage report to text file Virus statistics Archive the Application, System, and Security event logs Archive the HTTP and SMTP protocol logs

30 Sample script Exchange MVP Glen Scales mailbox and disk usage report

31 Closed Mailboxes MSExchange IS: General – Event ID 8528 Indicates that a mailbox is full

32 Worst practices ( How to lose your job with Exchange ) There are a few things that will definitely get you sent to the human resources department. Mailbox surfing (reading other users mail) Office automation tasks from the server console (word processing, doing , surfing the web) Running a file-based virus scanner that scans EDB, STM, LOG, or CHK files or that scans the Queue folders Deleting transaction logs manually

33 Worst practices (cont) Applying service packs immediately Wait 3 – 4 weeks Read the release notes thoroughly Make a full backup first Applying critical updates immediately Wait 1 – 2 weeks (unless you need the fix right away) Installing Outlook on the server Not paying attention to available disk space and letting the server run out of free disk space

34 Worst practices (cont) Avoid over administration Mailbox stores rarely need offline compaction or offline maintenance of any sort Excessive reboots (more than once a week) If you need to do this, you have a bigger problem Dont make big changes the day before your vacation

35 Worst practices (cont) Not using SSL for Internet clients Setting up an open SMTP relay Not calling for help when you get in over your head Making significant, unscheduled changes without notifying the user community Ignoring critical fixes and updates Making the same mistakes over and over again

36 Book Giveaway Has everyone given me something to draw from?

37 Questions? You can always catch me this week if you dont get your questions answered. Thanks for attending! My blog is Mostly Exchange – Copies of these slides will be posted at the end of April 2006 on my blog

38 More information 7 Daily Checks to Keep Exchange 2000 Running Smoothly by Joe Neubauer InstantDoc #26185

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