Monitoring Exchange 2010 with OpsMgr 2007 R2 (Part 3)

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1.     Install the Exchange Server 2010 MP

With the recommended additional management packs (read Part 1) already imported, download and install the latest Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Management Pack for System Center Operations Manager 2007 (by the time of the writing of this article it was version 14.0.650.7). You can find the latest Management Packs at the System Center Operations Manager 2007 Catalog.

One thing to notice is that the download page contains 2 .MSI packages, for 32-bit and 64-bit versions, as well as the Exchange 2010 Management Pack Guide Word document.

The Exchange Server 2010 Management Pack installation package includes the following files (by default, the installation directory is C:\Program Files\System Center Management Pack):

  • Microsoft.Exchange.2010.mp
  • Microsoft.Exchange.2010.Reports.mp
  • A HTML document with a link to the Exchange 2010 Management Pack Guide
  • Files required by the Correlation Engine service
  • The Exchange Server 2010 Management Pack license agreement.

Other management packs only extract files when you run the installation package. The Exchange 2010 MP is different because it installs the Exchange Correlation service. Let’s look at the installation steps:

  1. Download the management pack file that matches the operating system for selected server. The package is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. Launch the Microsoft Installer (MSI) package on the selected server (it is recommended to install on the RMS), accept the license agreement, and click Next (Figure 14).


Figure 14: License Agreement

  1. Accept the default installation folders or select new ones. Click Next (Figure 15). The extraction process begins (Figure 16). If you look at the extraction process with close attention, you’ll notice a message saying “Starting services” (Figure 17), that’s the newly installed Exchange Correlation service.


Figure 15: Select Extraction Folder


Figure 16: Extraction in Progress


Figure 17: Starting Services

  1. When the extraction ends, click Close (Figure 18). When the installation is complete, the Correlation Engine is installed on the server, and the management packs are copied to the System Center Management Packs folder. If you now take a look at the Services management console at the server, you can confirm that the Exchange Correlation service is now installed and running (Figure 19).


Figure 18: Extraction Complete


Figure 19 Exchange Correlation service

  1. To import the Exchange 2010 MP, open the OpsMgr 2007 Operations Console. Click the Administration tab, right-click the Management Packs node and then click Import Management Packs (Figure 20).
  2. Click Add, Add from disk and then click No on the Online Catalog Connection window. Select all the files from the Exchange MP directory, by default C:\Program Files\System Center Management Pack (Figure 21), click Open and then click the Install button (Figure 22).


Figure 20: Import Management Packs


Figure 21: Select Management Packs to import


Figure 22: Import Management Packs

  1. You may receive 2 security warning after the previous step. One regarding the source of the management pack (Figure 23), and the other is a prompt indicating that the management pack presents a security risk (Figure 24). This is due to the management pack’s use of agent proxying. Click OK and Yes to allow the import.


Figure 23: Security Warning


Figure 24: Security Warning

  1. The Import Management Packs page appears and shows the progress for each management pack. After the import process is complete and the dialog box displays an icon next to each Management Pack that indicates success of the importation (Figure 25), click the Close button.


Figure 25: Import Succeeded

After importing the Exchange 2010 MP, it will start immediately discovering Exchange machines. This behavior is one of the key changes in this management pack, when compared with the Exchange 2007 version. Each discovery in the management pack is enabled by default. No additional configuration should be necessary in most customer environments.

So, after importing the Exchange 2010 MP, if you browse to the Discovered Inventory pane on the Operations Console (Figure 26), all the Exchange 2010 servers should be listed. Notice that the Database Availability Group (DAG) is also listed, although its state is Not monitored. This is a normal behavior, since the physical nodes of the DAG are already being monitored.


Figure 26: Discovered Inventory

2.     Configure Synthetic Transactions

Synthetic transactions run on Client Access servers and perform transactions against the Client Access server itself and also the back-end Mailbox servers within the same site. Examples of these transactions are to check Exchange ActiveSync, Outlook Web Access, and Web Services connectivity.

Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access, Exchange ActiveSync, Exchange Web Services, POP3 and IMAP services are tested by running some PowerShell cmdlets, supported by the Exchange 2010 MP:

  • Test-OwaConnectivity

  • Test-ActiveSyncConnectivity

  • Test-WebServicesConnectivity.

  • Test-PopConnectivity

  • Test-ImapConnectivity

These cmdlets require a special test mailbox on each Exchange Server 2010 Mailbox server managed by Operations Manager. If the test mailbox is not created, the management pack will raise a warning alert like the one depicted in Figure 27.


Figure 27: Test mailbox not initialized

To create the test mailbox, on each Exchange 2010 Mailbox server, open the Exchange Management Shell, locate the Scripts directory under the installation path for Exchange Server 2010 (usually \Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\Scripts) and execute the script New-TestCasConnectivityUser.ps1 (Figure 28).


Figure 28: New-TestCASConnectivityUser.ps1

To monitor external Outlook Web Access URL, you must set an external URL on your Outlook Web Access virtual directory, by running a PowerShell cmdlet or by using the Exchange Management Console:

Exchange Management Shell:

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

Exchange Management Console (Figure 29):

  • 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 29: owa (Default Web Site) Properties

3.     Enable Event Collection for Synthetic Transaction Rules

The Exchange 2010 Management Pack uses synthetic transactions, such as the running of the Test-MapiConnectivity, Test-OwaConnectivity, and other commands, to scan your Exchange organization for basic connection responses and to test simple operations such as logging in to a mailbox. Whether these tests succeed or fail, their output is useful for investigating the state of the Exchange environment. However, since there is a significant amount of output for each task, the event output is not stored by default. The views for these tests in the Operations Console are populated if you enable the event collection rules for each respective test.

Please be aware that enabling these event collection rules will dramatically increase the size of your warehouse database. Each task creates from 4 through 12 event messages every time it runs. Each test runs every five minutes by default. When you enable these collection rules, make sure that you have sufficient disk space to accommodate this additional data.

To enable the event collection rules for synthetic transaction output:

  1. In the Operations Console, click Authoring, expand Management Pack Objects, and then click Rules. In the Rules pane, click Change Scope. In the Scope Management Pack Target(s) by object dialog box, in the Look for box, type “Exchange Server 2010”. Click View all targets. Click Select All if it’s not disabled (it is only disabled when all rows are already selected). Click OK to close the dialog box (Figure 30).


Figure 30: Scope Management Pack Objects

  1. After the rules have loaded, type “Script event collection” in the Look for box near the top of the console and click Find Now (Figure 31).


Figure 31: Script event collection rules

  1. For each test task that you would like to enable, perform the following steps. Right click on the rule and select Overrides > Override the Rule > For all objects of class: [class name] (Figure 32). Click the Override checkbox. Set the override value to True. Select the Exchange Server 2010 MP Customizations as the destination managed pack and click OK (Figure 33).


Figure 32: Script collection rule override


Figure 33: Override Properties

It will take some time for the overrides to be picked up by the agents and for events to appear in the built-in views.

Summary

After the end of this part, we now have the Exchange Server 2010 Management Pack installed and configured. While some fine tuning may be required for certain environments, the Exchange 2010 Management Pack discovery process generally loads the correct monitors on the various servers in an Exchange organization. For example, performance threshold rules are based on scalable calculations and not fixed digit thresholds, allowing the MP to scale from small deployments to large datacenter environments. Nevertheless, in the next part we’ll take a look of some tuning that can be done and we’ll also cover reporting and troubleshooting.

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