Using Exchange Control Panel (ECP) to manage an Exchange Organization (Part 2)


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

Managing Transport Rules…

One of the coolest features in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 in my humble opinion is the ability to manage Transport Rules using ECP. We can do that by clicking on Mail Control and then Rules, the initial page will list all current Transport Rules in the organization and from that list we can start managing the existent Transport Rules (Figure 01). Let’s talk about the interface. Each rule has an On column and that column controls if the rule is enabled or disabled. When we have more than one rule we can control the priority by selecting the desired rule and then using the up or down arrow buttons.


Figure 01

We can also create new transport rules by clicking on New… button, a New Rule page will be displayed where the administrator can select a Condition and an Action from several values pre-populated in the fields, as shown in Figure 02.


Figure 02

The process creation is very user friendly and every time that we select an option that requires us to choose from a list, a link will be displayed on the right side. From that link the Global Address List will be shown where we will be creating a Moderation Transport Rule for a specific user in this section. These are the few steps required to get it done:

In the If… field select The sender is…, then click on Select people and pick a name up from the GAL, we can add one or more conditions for the same rule if we want to. After that select Forward the message for approval to… and the wizard will automatically give you the Global Address List to find a name. Then click on Save and the Transport Rule will be operational. Bear in mind that in some environments with multiple sites, replication must take place before testing the new Transport Rule. Also, a Transport Rule is done at Organization Level so be cautious about the rules being created.

We can also use the advanced mode which allows us to define an exception for the rule by clicking on More Options button. This action also allows us to change the Transport Rule name by changing the Name of rule field (Figure 03).


Figure 03

Managing Journaling…

We can use ECP to manage Journaling in an Exchange Server 2010 organization. Journaling by definition has two possible options: Standard and Premium. The Standard cannot be configured at the ECP level and what it does is just configure a mailbox database to journal all mailboxes located within that database to a specific Journal Mailbox. The Premium requires the Enterprise CAL license and it is more flexible than the Standard option. Using the Premium we can define a mailbox or a distribution group with the report option enabled. All messages sent or received from or to those recipients will be stored in the Journal Mailbox.

In the main page of Journaling we are able to see all Journal Rules (Figure 04) of the exchange organization, and like the Transport Rules we can enable or disable by checking the On column. We can double click Details on a selected rule to edit it, and in a single glance we can see the Journal Rule and all parties involved in the Journal rule. The only thing that we cannot see from the main page is the scope of the Journal rule which can be (Global, Internal or External).


Figure 04

In order to create a new Journal rule, let’s click New… and the new page will provide a simple wizard where we can define a specific mailbox or group, the scope of the journal and the address destination for all journal reports, and also the journal rule name, as shown in figure 05.


Figure 05

As stated earlier on, Journal Rules are defined at organization level, so if we open Exchange Management Console, expand Organization Configuration, and then click on Hub Transport and then Journal Rules tab we will be able to see the rule that we have just created using ECP, as shown in Figure 06.


Figure 06

Managing Delivery Reports…

The Delivery Reports is a really nice tool that allows administrator and end-users to track messages effectively. Using the Message Tracking information we can track the entire message path from a single location while in a single view we can define the status of the messages and even if an Inbox Rule was applied to a particular message.

The Message Tracking component changed on the new release of Exchange Server 2010, even when we try to open the item using Exchange Management Console (Figure 07) we will be redirected to the ECP location.


Figure 07

The feature Delivery Reports is also available to end-users when they go to the See All Options and Organize E-Mail item. There is a slight difference when you use this feature in the organization scope because you can choose which mailbox to search for. We can refine our search by defining who that mailbox sent to (Search for messages sent to: option):, or from whom that selected mailbox received from (Search for messages received from: option), and we can also use subject line to narrow down the message tracking process, as shown in Figure 08.


Figure 08

From an administrative point of view, Delivery Reports assist admin staff with end-users problems. Let’s use a scenario where a user (in our article Andy’s mailbox) has a folder on his mailbox and he created an Inbox rule to move all messages coming from a specific mailbox (in our scenario the mailbox name is Lidi) to that folder. Let’s say that after 5 minutes of creating the rule he cannot see messages coming from Lidi on his Inbox and he believes that this is a mail problem (in this scenario the root cause is his gold fish memory but anyways, it will impact your help desk because the poor help desk guy that is going to assist our user won’t have any clue what the user has done so far..).

Using Delivery Reports we can empower the help desk team to fix this kind of issue using just a couple of steps. Let’s say that we use Mailbox to search the user with the issue (Andy) and the field Search for messages received from. Select Lidi and click on Search, the result will list all messages that she sent to our user. Then, double click on the last message and here we go, we have the Delivery Report of the message with details, for example we can see on the last line that the message was moved to a specific folder.


Figure 09

Now that the help desk knows the root cause (yes, the gold fish memory issue) we can even use the E-mail This Report link to the user in case he needs more information.

Conclusion

In this second article we went through the process to manage the Transport Rules, Journal Rules and Delivery Reports at organization level. In the articles to come we will be covering the Phone & Voice, and Roles & Audits sections of Exchange Control Panel.

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

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