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Configuring Exchange Connector for Service Manager 2012

Introduction

Today’s IT world is quite complex and it is not easy to plan, deploy and configure IT systems at all. Therefore in the 1980s in the United Kingdom the government created a project planning structure called IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which became very famous in the last years to practice IT projects around the world. System Center Service Manager is Microsoft’s solution to use ITIL basics in IT and provides you with a tool to control and count the power of your IT department. Exchange Connector 3.0 is the corresponding Exchange add-on to be able to create incidents and other work items, and manage the flow via Email.

Installation

Firstly, you need to download Exchange Connector 3.0 from here and the corresponding Exchange Web Services API from here.

Then, we need to copy the following DLLs to the System Center Service Manager root directory:

  1. Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.dll
  2. Microsoft.SystemCenter.ExchangeConnector.dll.

Finally, you need to start Service Manager Console with administrative permissions and add the following Management Packs to Service Manager:


Figure 1: Exchange Connector Management Packs Installation

With this step the installation is complete and we can start the configuration phase.

Configuration

A first step in the configuration is to add the newly available Exchange Connector in the SCSM Console as follows.


Figure 2: Welcome page of a new Exchange Connector Instance


Figure 3:
General Settings

On the general settings page you need to give the connector a unique name and define an email address which reflects the mailbox the connector is parsing. This email address must correspond to the workflow account of your Service Manager Installation.

In addition you can enable or disable the connector and define “user impersonation”. If you want to have multiple Exchange connector instances which are monitoring different mailboxes you need to configure Exchange to allow the Workflow “Run As Account” to impersonate the credentials of the other mailbox recipients.

On each mailbox that you want to monitor with Exchange Connector you will need to run the following PowerShell Command:

New-ManagementScope –Name:scopeName –RecipientRestrictionFilter:recipientFilter

This means that for example you are able use Service Manager in decentralized environments with a central Service Manager installation in the data center.


Figure 4:
Exchange Detail Settings

Now we are on the most important page of the configuration. Here, we need to define the keywords, Exchange connector should parse for to enable automatic email Service Manager Work Item processing.

The field “Email reply” should always be From: because in general an Exchange 2007 SP1 or higher installation uses English headers. This field enables Service Manager to look in its CMDB (configuration management data base) and define this configuration item (CI) as the incident owner.

The field “Service Request Completed” defines the parsing keyword to complete service requests from “Service Request Fulfillment” in Service Manager.

The field “Incident first response” defines the parsing keyword to acknowledge a new incident.

The field “Manual Activity completed” defines the keyword to mark a manual activity work item as completed.

The field “Incident/Problem resolved” defines the keyword to resolve Incidents or Problems via email.

The field “Incident/Problem SR closed” defines the keyword to close an Incident, Problem or Service Request.

The field “Review activity approved” defines the keyword for approving a review activity work item in Service Manager.

The field “Review Activity Rejected” defines the keyword to reject a review activity via email.

Then, we need to configure the domains your Service Manager is responsible for and finally we need to define if all emails are moved to the recycle bin folder in the corresponding mailbox, and if each email should be added as attachment to the work item itself for reviewing and compliance.


Figure 5: Configure Routing and Schedule

On the very final configuration page we need to define which templates should be used for:

  1. Work Items that are created
  2. Work Items that are updated
  3. Service Requests that updated

Finally we need to set the polling interval for the connector. From a practice point of view, 300 seconds (default setting) is a well done configuration.

Configure the connector for non Autodiscovery enabled Exchange Servers or Office 365

To enable the connector to work with Office 365 or Exchange Servers that are not part of your Autodiscovery configuration of Exchange, you will need to enable and configure the following settings:


Figure 6: Enable non Autodiscovery

Troubleshooting

If your connector is not working properly, you will find an error message in the Service Manager Console.

If so, you will have some registry hacks to get deeper logging, this will be configured as follows:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\System Center Service Manager Exchange Connector

Then create the following string values:

Value: EnableEWSTracing

Value: LoggingLevel


Figure 7: Configure Logging

The LoggingLevel value can be set to any number from 1 to 7. The higher the number the more granular and verbose the logging will be. If the value is set to 0 or the value does not exist only error events will be created in the event log.

If EnableEWSTracing is set to 1 then the Exchange web service tracing events will be dropped to the event log. If the EnableEWSTracing is not created or is set to 0 the events for the Exchange web service tracing will not be put into the event log. If EnableEWSTracing is set to 1 the first set of information events will show the details of the connector attempting to determine which Exchange server to communicate with based on the Exchange Auto Discover Service configuration in AD/DNS.

Conclusion

With Exchange Connector 3.0 you have a great tool to enable email workflows with Service Manager 2012 and Exchange Server 2007 or 2010 / Office 365. This gives you enormous flexibility and a great way to use collaboration with Service Manager itself.

At this moment Exchange Connector 3.0 is not yet fully supported from Microsoft, although it has been created by the product team. With Service Pack 1 for System Center 2012 which will be available in the third quarter of this year it will be part of the product.