|Chapter 10 - Monitoring Exchange|
|Monitoring and Managing Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server|
|by Mike Daugherty|
|Digital Press 2001|
Many companies fund their corporate e-mail systems by taxing the corporate business units. In return for providing the funding, the business units typically ask for a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that guarantees that the e-mail environment will meet specific goals. SLAs generally contain explicit agreements of the data to be collected, the frequency of collection, and the content and distribution of service level compliance reports .
Among other things, SLAs usually specify the end-to-end delivery-time target. Once a target delivery time has been set, there must be some way to measure the actual delivery times for comparison with the target time. This information is then periodically reported back to the funding business units. Third-party monitoring products are often used in this area to augment the standard Exchange tools.
The common method of measuring message delivery times is to send test messages from one server to another. The receiving system replies to the message, including data on how long the first message took to be delivered.
Some third-party monitoring software requires an agent to be configured on each server. This introduces a minor overhead that is acceptable since it helps provide quality data. It is not necessary to monitor connections between all Exchange servers, but instead, to monitor only the connections between Exchange sites that are directly connected to each other. Most third-party monitoring tools include the ability to combine individual probe results to produce a total average delivery time.
Some third-party tools also include functionality to continually compare the current performance measurements against the performance targets specified in the Service Level Agreement. An alert can be automatically generated when a target is not being met.