|Monitoring and Managing Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server|
|by Mike Daugherty|
|Digital Press 2001|
The world of computing is less disciplined today than it was in the past. Computers and software are so easy to install that people forget that these components need a great deal of care if they are to meet expectations. In the world of mainframe and minicomputer operations it simply is not good enough to accept that system crashes will occur, that software will have bugs , or that performance will not achieve predicted levels. The notion of accepting that a blue screen of death can be easily rectified by turning a computer on and off again has not gained credence with those responsible for managing mainframe and minicomputers. Yet, a large proportion of the technical community accepts these issues with a certain degree of equanimity when their computers run Windows and Windows applications. The world has certainly changed.
As Windows 2000 matures and becomes a major part of the computing infrastructure at corporations around the world we should all attempt to impose more discipline on the way Windows 2000 systems are managed in production environments. A careful and measured approach to system management and monitoring becomes even more important as larger user populations are supported on Windows 2000 servers, especially due to the close integration between Windows 2000 and applications that use the Active Directory. Today, we see companies plan to support up to 5,000 users on a single Windows 2000 server and 10,000 on a Windows 2000 cluster. The question must be asked whether these companies have a systems management and operations strategy to match their ambition to run very large Windows 2000 servers.
It is simply unacceptable to take a cavalier approach to the management of any application that a company depends on. Today, Microsoft Exchange Server enjoys a large share of the market and is growing its user community at a faster rate than any other messaging system has done before. Exchange provides e-mail and groupware functionality as well as being a platform for workflow, document management, fax connections, and all the other features provided by add-on software products. Exchange is therefore an important application that deserves tender loving care.
Microsoft provides a selection of management tools for Exchange. Its always difficult for a company to imagine how many varied ways their product will be deployed, so you cannot expect that the out-of-the-box tools will satisfy all requirements. Problems start when multiple servers need to be managed across a distributed network. How can you be sure that the quality of service offered to users is being preserved, that messages are getting to their destination in a reasonable time, that the servers are all running the right version of software or that the right components are installed, that people are using Exchange more today than yesterday , or that the network is capable of handling the load? It all looks so easy when the first server is installed, but whats it going to be like when you have twenty, thirty, or even a hundred servers to manage? The need for service has spawned a large number of third-party system and monitoring tools, but it is always hard to know whether you actually need the features these tools offer.
Compaq Global Services has a huge amount of experience deploying Exchange in real-life environments. We are all too aware of the need for system monitoring and management because we generally have to help pick up the pieces when things go wrong. That experience has moved Mike Daugherty to write this book.
I think there are two distinct Exchange user communities today. The first is from small businesses that run single-server operations, connected perhaps to their customers and other businesses via the Internet. The second is from the corporate sector, where the typical operation might involve five to ten computing centers, each of which has a number of servers. This book is of more interest to the second community, but I suspect that even if you only have one server you will find some solid background information here.
I hope you enjoy the book. I have enjoyed working with Mike Daugherty to refine the thoughts and the text you find here. As you read, always keep in mind the fact that computers do need care!
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Compaq Global Services