Active Directory Routing and Routing Logs (Part 2)

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Active Directory Routing and Routing Logs (Part 1).

Introduction

This is the second and final part of an article covering the Routing Log Viewer in Exchange Server 2010. In part one, we looked at the log files themselves and how to control various parameters associated with them. Here in part two we’ll be looking more closely at the Routing Log Viewer tool itself.

Active Directory Sites & Routing Groups Tab

Figure 2-1 shows an expanded Active Directory Sites & Routing Groups tab for my lab environment. You can clearly see from Figure 2-1 that this lab environment contains two Active Directory sites, namely Site1 and Site2.


Figure 2-1: Active Directory Sites & Routing Groups Tab

The routing groups portion of the tab name reflects what would be seen if legacy versions of Exchange were coexisting with Exchange 2010. Legacy versions of Exchange used routing groups to control message routing, whereas Exchange 2010 uses Active Directory sites. Since all Exchange 2010 servers are installed into a routing group for backwards compatibility, the Routing Log Viewer handles both scenarios.

It’s also possible to see from Figure 2-1 that both Site1 and Site2 are not configured as hub sites. This information can also be confirmed by using the Get-ADSite cmdlet. In Figure 2-2, you can see that the properties of Site1 show that the HubSiteEnabled parameter is set to false. Hub sites are important to identify if they are configured because hub sites are used to force all message delivery through a specific Active Directory site rather than the typical direct-connect scenario.


Figure 2-2: Results of Get-ADSite cmdlet

Back in Figure 2-1, we can see that the server and Active Directory site names are shown as hyperlinks. This is a theme that runs throughout the various tabs. If the server name links are selected, we are taken to the Servers tab which we will be looking at next. If the Active Directory site names are selected, the focus is moved to the appropriate link within the Active Directory Sites & Routing Groups tab; therefore this feature is useful if you have many Active Directory sites or routing groups listed within this particular window.

Figure 2-1 also shows the names of the servers in each Active Directory site as well as important information relating to Site2 such as the cost, maximum message size and the backoff path. The cost and maximum message size information is a reflection of the information configured within the Active Directory site links. Specifically, we can use the Get-AdSiteLink cmdlet to retrieve a list of settings. For example, Figure 2-3 shows the settings associated with the default site link that has the name DEFAULTIPSITELINK.


Figure 2-3: Examining the Active Directory Site Link Properties

It should be clear running down the list of parameters shown in Figure 2-3 that the cost and maximum message size settings shown earlier in Figure 2-1 correspond to those shown above in Figure 2-3. Therefore, we can use the Routing Log Viewer’s Active Directory Sites & Routing Groups tab to view information in one place that’s normally available by running several different cmdlets.

Servers Tab

If you select the Servers tab in the Routing Log Viewer, you’ll get a screen similar to the one shown in Figure 2-4. This tab reveals the servers within the Exchange organization and adds to each server listed key information such as its distinguished name, the server roles installed, a list of mailbox databases on each server, the legacyDN of the server and whether the server is running Exchange 2007 or later.


Figure 2-4: Servers Tab

From an Active Directory perspective, the Servers tab largely reveals the same information that we have already seen; this time the information is presented from a server point of view of course. Information presented on this screen includes the Active Directory site membership, the Active Directory proximity to the local server, site link cost and, for remote servers, the next hop Active Directory site.

The information on this tab is useful when troubleshooting issues related to routing and you need to understand the servers that may or may not be involved in message routing. Things start to get a little more interesting with the next two tabs.

Send Connectors Tab

To obtain a server’s view of how it sees the send connectors that have been created, simply click the Send Connectors tab. Figure 2-5 shows my lab environment where you can see that an SMTP send connector called Internet from Site 1 has been created, along with the default Text Messaging Delivery Agent Connector installed with Exchange Server 2010. In this article, I’m going to be focusing on SMTP send connectors and so will not discuss the text messaging send connector further.


Figure 2-5: Send Connectors Tab

As you can see from Figure 2-5, we can determine important configuration information regarding the SMTP send connector such as its address space and cost, whether it routes messages by DNS or by a smart host, and any maximum message size applied.

This is all important information when troubleshooting of course, but one very important piece of information that I used recently was the item in Figure 2-5 that informs you whether the send connector is a scoped connector or not; in this case, the answer is yes. A scoped connector means that the particular connector will not be seen outside of the local Active Directory site and therefore won’t be considered for routing by transport servers in other Active Directory sites. In other words, the Exchange 2010 server in Site 2 cannot see the send connector shown in Figure 2-5.

To see this in action, consider the fact that I actually have another SMTP send connector configured in Site 2 that is also configured as a scoped connector. Therefore, the view shown in Figure 2-5 confirms that the Exchange 2010 server in Site 1 cannot see the send connector configured in Site 2. To prove this, I simply clear the Scoped send connector check box from the SMTP send connector in Site 2 and force Active Directory replication. This check box is shown in Figure 2-6.


Figure 2-6: Clearing the Scoped Send Connector Checkbox

Once Active Directory replication has been forced, we will see that a new routing log file has been created on the Exchange 2010 server in Site 1 since, you’ll remember from part one, that routing log files are created when changes to the routing topology are created. Therefore, we can now open this new log file with the Routing Log Viewer and navigate back to the Send Connectors tab. The result is shown in Figure 2-7. As you can see from Figure 2-7, the send connector in Site 2 is now showing up in the list of send connectors. When troubleshooting address spaces and routes, it can get a little confusing looking at all the parameters of the send connectors, so that’s where the Address Spaces tab comes in.


Figure 2-7: Both Send Connectors Visible

Address Spaces Tab

The Address Spaces tab shows a nice clean view of the address spaces visible to the local Exchange 2010 server as you can see from Figure 2-8. Here we can see that we have the same SMTP address space of <*> listed twice, once in each Active Directory site. Clicking the send connector link highlighted takes you back to the relevant send connector details on the Send Connectors tab.


Figure 2-8: Address Spaces Tab

Therefore, we have seen how we can use the Routing Log Viewer to confirm which address spaces and connectors are visible from a server’s perspective. However, there is one last very useful feature of the Routing Log Viewer to look at.

Comparing Log Files

If you click the File menu in the Routing Log Viewer, you will see the Compare log file menu option. This allows us to compare two routing log files against each other to see what changes have been made. Let’s look at this in action.

First, open the first log file as normal. Next, choose the Compare log file option which will allow you to open a second log file to compare against. If there are no differences between the two log files, the Routing Log Viewer will inform you and leave the first log file open. If there are changes between the two log files, a new window will be opened containing a similar view to what you have already seen so far in the Routing Log Viewer. However, by clicking around the various tabs you may notice something different as you can see in Figure 2-9.


Figure 2-9: Comparing Log Files – Send Connectors

In Figure 2-9 you can see that the overall status of the SMTP connectors is MODIFIED. By expanding out the connectors, we can see that the Internet From Site 2 connector has a status of REMOVED. In other words, the Exchange 2010 server in Site 1 can no longer see this connector. The same thing can be seen in the Address Spaces tab as you can see from Figure 2-10


Figure 2-10: Comparing Log Files – Address Spaces

In reality, the connector has not actually been removed. Rather, the Scoped send connector property has been re-selected and therefore, as far as the Exchange 2010 server in Site 1 is concerned, the SMTP send connector has effectively been removed.

As you can see, comparing routing log files is extremely useful when troubleshooting routing changes and confirming what address spaces a particular server can see.

Summary

That completes this article on the Routing Log Viewer found in Exchange Server 2010. This is a relatively simple tool to use but it can prove very useful when you need to troubleshoot message routing issues – particularly if a scoped send connector has been configured. If you’ve not used this tool before and you have multiple Active Directory sites or perhaps need to check your routing topology change history, I suggest checking it out.

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Active Directory Routing and Routing Logs (Part 1).

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