Monitoring Exchange 2007 With System Center Operations Manager 2007 (Part 3)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

 

 

 

Create a new management pack for customizations

 

Part of the installation and configuration of the Exchange Server 2007 MP is about setting some custom customizations and overrides. These customizations and overrides should be saved to a different management pack.

 

Creating a new management pack for storing overrides has the following advantages:

 

 

  • It simplifies the process of exporting customizations that were created in your test and pre-production environments to your production environment.
  • It allows you to delete the original management pack without first needing to delete the default management pack.
  • It is easier to track and update customizations to individual management packs.

 

 

  1. In the Operations Console, click the Administration button.
  2. In the Administration pane, right-click Management Packs and then click Create Management Pack. The Create a Management Pack wizard displays.
  3. In the General Properties page (Figure 1), type a name for the management pack in Name, the correct version number in Version, and a short description in Description. Click Next.
  4. To finish creating the management pack click Create.

 


Figure 1: Creating a Custom MP for customizations

 

Enabling External Outlook Web Access Connectivity Monitoring

 

Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access, Exchange ActiveSync, and Exchange Web Services are tested by running some PowerShell cmdlets: Test-OwaConnectivity, Test-ActiveSyncConnectivity, and Test-WebServicesConnectivity. These cmdlets require a special test mailbox on each Exchange Server 2007 Mailbox server managed by Operations Manager.

 

To create the test mailbox, on to the Exchange Server 2007 Mailbox server, open the Exchange Management Shell, locate the Scripts directory under the installation path for Exchange Server 2007 (usually \Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Scripts) and execute the script New-TestCasConnectivityUser.ps1 (Figure 2). Repeat this process on each Exchange Server 2007 Mailbox server that is to be tested.

 

If you forget to create this test mailbox, you’ll get the warning depicted on Figure 3.

 


Figure 2: New-TestCASConnectivityUser.ps1

 


Figure 3: Warning: The test mailbox was not initialized

 

The rule requires that you set an external URL on your Outlook Web Access virtual directory. To set an external URL, you can do it by running a PowerShell cmdlet or by using the Exchange Management Console:

 

Exchange Management Shell (Figure 4):

 

 

  • Set-OwaVirtualDirectory “<Server name>\owa (Default Web site)” -externalurl:”https://<Fully Qualified Domain Name>/owa”

 

Exchange Management Console (Figure 5):

 

 

  • Open the Exchange Management Console, select Server Configuration, select Client Access, and then click the Outlook Web Access tab.
  • In the work pane, select the virtual directory that you want to modify, and then click Properties.
  • In the virtual directory properties dialog box, select the tab that contains the properties that you want to modify. Click OK to save your changes and close the properties window.

 


Figure 4: Setting the OWA external URL by using the Command Shell

 


Figure 5: owa Properties

 

 Tuning the Test-MapiConnectivity

 

You might need to tune the rules that run the synthetic transactions via Windows PowerShell, like Test-MapiConnectivity, which may need a different timeout setting (in my case I had some critical events related with timeouts). To change the Test-MapiConnectivity rule:

 

 

  1. In the Authoring section of the Operations Manager Operations console, search for the rule named Execute: Test-MAPIConnectivity diagnostic cmdlet (Report Collection). Right-click the rule, and then click Overrides>Override the Rule/For all objects of type: Microsoft Exchange 2007 Mailbox Servers Installation (Figure 6).
  2. Click cmdletCommand and expand the Override Setting column. Change the appropriate cmdlet parameter, but make sure that it is less than the frequency with which the cmdlet runs (Figure 7).
  3. Select the destination management pack, which should be the previously created custom management pack, and then click Apply.

 


Figure 6: Test-MAPIConnectivity override

 


Figure 7: Test-MAPIConnectivity Override Properties

 

Tuning the LDAP Search Time Rules and Monitors

 

By default, LDAP Search Time rules and monitors sample the MSExchange ADAccess Domain Controllers/Ldap Search Time counter every minute. Since it’s difficult to provide a default threshold that fits all customers, this rule frequently requires tuning.

 

 

  1. If you have no idea what this value should be, you should first graph it in Performance View. In order to do that, in the Computers view, right-click the server and open the Performance View (Figure 8). You now know if the current threshold is triggering warning or not (Figure 9).

 


Figure 8: Graphing LDAP counters

 


Figure 9: Performance view of the LDAP counters

 

 

  1. You can change the LDAP Search Time rules and monitors in two ways:
    a) To set a higher threshold, open the Authoring section of the Operations Manager Console and search for monitors that start with the name “LDAP Search Time”. Right click the LDAP Search Time – sustained for 5 minutes – Red(>100msec) and/or the LDAP Search Time – sustained for 5 minutes – Yellow(>50msec) monitors, select Overrides > Override the Monitor > For all objects of type Ex. Common (Figure 10). Click Threshold and expand the Override Setting column. Change the appropriate value (Figure 11), select the destination management pack, which should be the previously created custom management pack, and then click Apply.
    b) To change the number of samples (thus smoothing out spikes in the samples), open the Authoring section of the Operations Manager Console and search for rules (notice that the previous step was with monitors) that start with the name “LDAP Search Time”. Right click the LDAP Search Time – sustained for 5 minutes – Red(>100msec) and/or the LDAP Search Time – sustained for 5 minutes – Yellow(>50msec) rules, select Overrides > Override the Rule > For all objects of type: Exchange 2007 All Servers Installation. Click Num Samples and expand the Override Setting column. Change the appropriate value (Figure 12), select the destination management pack, which should be the previously created custom management pack, and then click Apply.

 


Figure 10: LDAP Search Time Override

 


Figure 11: LDAP Search Time threshold override

 


Figure 12: LDAP Search Time Num Samples override

 

Tuning Failures DSN

 

The Failure DSNs Total rules and monitors sample the MSExchangeTransport DSN/Failure DSNs Total/internal counter every 5 minutes. Since it’s difficult to provide a default value that works in all customer environments, tuning is often required.

 

 

  1. As in the previous tuning, you can first graph the counter to get an idea what the correct value should be. To graph this counter, in the Computers view, right-click an Edge or Hub Transport server and open the Performance View. Figure 13 depicts the results in my test environment.
  2. These rules and monitors can be changed in two ways: by setting a higher threshold or by configuring a larger number of samples.
    a) To change the threshold, in the Authoring section of the Operations Manager Operations Console, search for monitors that start with the name “Failure DSNs Total”. Right click the Failure DSNs Total – increase over 60 minutes – Red(>40) – Edge Transport and/or the Failure DSNs Total – increase over 60 minutes – Yellow(>30) – Edge Transport monitors, select Overrides > Override the Monitor > For all objects of type Ex. Edge Transport (Figure 14). Click Threshold and expand the Override Setting column. Change the appropriate value (Figure 15), select the destination management pack, which should be the previously created custom management pack, and then click Apply.
    b) To change the number of samples, in the Authoring section of the Operations Manager Console, search for rules (rules, not monitors as in the previous step) that start with the name “Failure DSNs Total”. Right click the Failure DSNs Total – increase over 60 minutes – Red(>40) – Edge Transport and/or the Failure DSNs Total – increase over 60 minutes – Yellow(>30) – Edge Transport rules, select Overrides > Override the Rule > For all objects of type: Microsoft Exchange 2007 Edge Transport Servers Installation. Click Num Samples and expand the Override Setting column. Change the appropriate value (Figure 16), select the destination management pack, which should be the previously created custom management pack, and then click Apply

 


Figure 13: Performance view of the Failure DSNs Total counter

 


Figure 14: Failure DSNs Total override

 


Figure 15: Failure DSNs threshold override

 


Figure 16: Failure DSNs Num Samples override

 

Disabling unnecessary services monitoring

 

There may be some services that you are not using, such as IMAP4 or POP3. If this is the case, you can remove it or configure an override to stop monitoring it. To configure the override, right-click the IMAP4 alert, select Overrides, Disable the Monitor, and then select For the object: <name of the server> (Figure 17). On the confirmation dialog box, click Yes (Figure 18).

 


Figure 17: Disabling the IMAP4 connectivity monitor

 


Figure 18: Confirmation Dialog Box

 

Summary

 

If you’re not using Unified Messaging servers (which we’ll cover on the next part), by now you should be able to monitor effectively your Exchange 2007 infrastructure. The next and final part will cover not only the UM servers monitoring, but also some custom overrides necessary to each particular environment.

 

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

 

 

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