Testing Options and Additional Tests

The Microsoft Exchange Load Simulator (LoadSim) 2000 doesn’t create client profiles that use offline folders (OSTs), but if you want to test the effect of OSTs in your environment, try the following method. As LoadSim creates each profile, open the profile’s Properties dialog box and choose the option to enable offline folders, using a unique name for each folder. Obviously, this approach is time-consuming, so you won’t want to try this process for numerous clients (unless you can automate it through another method).

Perhaps you’re preparing an environment that will use email and unified messaging for voicemail or faxes. To simulate this load, you need to modify the messages that LoadSim uses, adding .wav files or .tif files as attachments.

Another item to add to your test mix is a virus scan. To evaluate the performance and detection rate of Microsoft Exchange Server–based or SMTP-based scanners, you can select a test message file that contains an attachment and replace the attachment with an infected attachment. One word of caution: Be careful if you use real viruses, as one wrong click can let them loose in your test environment. (Trust me, I know.) For safety’s sake, you can use the Eicar test string, which is an inert viral string. (Your antivirus vendor should be able to provide the string, which you can also find on the Internet.) I prefer to use macro viruses embedded in .zip files, just to see how well the antivirus scanner handles the resulting .zip file and document after removing the macro virus.

If you plan to run additional tests, you need to restore the databases that you backed up before your first run. To add additional users to your next test runs, you can restore the databases, then run the initialization process with the additional users. However, you shouldn’t restore the databases, then run the test with fewer users—the numbers will be off because LoadSim will send messages to distribution lists (DLs) that contain mailboxes that are no longer part of the test. (In other words, your test environment might include terminated employees.)

To restore an online backup, take each store offline and select the This database can be overwritten by a restore check box, which Web Figure A shows. Next, restore the backup, making sure that you indicate that you’re using the last backup set and that the store should be brought back online. (For details about using the Windows 2000 Backup application, see Joseph Neubauer, "Restoring the Exchange 2000 Store Step by Step," http://www.exchangeadmin.com, InstantDoc ID 20015.

I prefer to use online backup, but you can optionally use an offline backup, which involves stopping the Exchange Information Store service and copying all the .edb, .stm, .log, and .chk files from their current locations to the backup location. (Obviously, this method requires quite a bit of drive space.) Alternatively, if you have imaging software (e.g., Norton Ghost, Altiris eXpress) you can image the database volumes. When you’re ready to prepare for another test, stop the Information Store service and delete all the .edb, .stm, and .log files in the test run location (not the backup location). Copy the backup location’s versions of the files to the appropriate locations, keeping the backup copies for future use. Start the Information Store service and mount the databases by right-clicking each Store and selecting Mount from the context menu.

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