Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, June 28, 2002

Jerry Cochran discusses the true measurement of Exchange Server availability. Also, find out about Exchange resources and products.

Editor's Note: Because of next week's US Independence Day holiday, the next issue of Exchange and Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, will be on July 12, 2002.

Exchange and Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition—brought to you by Exchange & Outlook Administrator, a print newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that contains practical advice, how-to articles, tips, and techniques to help you do your job today.
http://www.exchangeadmin.com


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(below COMMENTARY)


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June 28, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • Exchange Server Availability: The Big Picture

2. NEW AND VIEWS

  • Support WebCast: Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Connectivity Through a Firewall
  • Microsoft Releases Update to Exchange SDK
  • Submit Top Product Ideas

3. ANNOUNCEMENT

  • Special 2-for-1 Subscription Offer!

4. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)

  • Web Phone Book and Aerosmith, Ozzy or Who Tickets
  • Gain Total Control of Exchange PST Files
  • Link UNIX & Linux Users To MS Exchange 2000

5. RESOURCES

  • Exchange HOW TO: Create Mailbox-Enabled Accounts Using LDIFDE in Exchange 2000 Server
  • Featured Thread: Content Management
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: If you use Exchange 2000 Server, have you installed Service Pack 2 (SP2)?
  • New Instant Poll: Do you use Exchange 2000 Conferencing Server?

6. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Appliance Can Optimize Exchange Server Operation

7. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY
(contributed by Jerry Cochran, News Editor, [email protected])

  • EXCHANGE SERVER AVAILABILITY: THE BIG PICTURE

  • How do you measure reliability in your Exchange Server environment? You can use a standard military specification that factors failure rates and the mean time between failures (MTBF) into the total operational period. However, reliability measurements are best suited to individual physical system components. Do these values really mean anything to you as an Exchange administrator?

    I prefer to think about availability rather than reliability. However, most Exchange administrators look at availability from a binary point of view (i.e., is your Exchange server up or down?) or as a measurement of the percentage of time a system is available for a given operational period (e.g., 99.999 percent). These views might not be the most effective way to measure availability in your Exchange environment.

    When you want to accurately measure Exchange availability, where should you start? First, you need to understand that downtime isn't simply about the server. The poor Exchange server often takes complete blame for an entire outage period, the majority of which isn't necessarily the server's fault. Suppose your Exchange server is down (i.e., unavailable) for 8 hours. Rather than simply blaming Exchange, look deeper. You might discover that you weren't notified of the problem for 2 hours, you took 1 hour to decide what to do, 2 hours to find a good backup tape, and another 3 hours to restore the server to operational status. In this case, you can contribute only a small part of the downtime to software or hardware—most relates to personnel, procedural, and process issues (e.g., monitoring, alerting, disaster recovery). When you understand that downtime and outages actually consist of multiple components, you start to rethink how you measure downtime. For an Exchange deployment, you need to identify the components of downtime, then figure out how to address each component to reduce downtime and thereby increase availability.

    You also must come to terms with how you measure availability. Most people think that Exchange availability is synonymous with Exchange server uptime. However, this definition might not provide an accurate picture of true availability (i.e., the availability of Exchange services to users). An Exchange server might be up and running, but that doesn't mean that users can get the services they require. For example, if a user's mailbox is accessible but the user can't get to an important public folder on another server, the Exchange service (or a subset of it) is unavailable—even though the user's mailbox server is running just fine. Likewise, if Exchange points of access (e.g., mailbox and public folder servers) are fully operational but all the bridgehead (i.e., routing) servers are down, mail won't flow between sites and routing groups or the Internet—thus, the Exchange service isn't completely available. The measurement of availability in your environment should be well thought out and should provide a picture of Exchange availability from your business's perspective.

    Should you measure Exchange availability from the server's point of view (which can be a bit myopic), or should you primarily consider the client or user's perspective? The best approach seems to incorporate both viewpoints by focusing on the availability of Exchange "service elements," an approach that's in line with defining appropriate service levels for your Exchange environment. Service elements might include message routing, mailbox access, public folder access, protocol (e.g., POP3, IMAP4, HTTP, Messaging API—MAPI) access, recovery services, security protection (e.g., protecting against viruses, blocking spam), and other Exchange functionality that you can treat as a service for measurement purposes.

    I'm not talking about something new or revolutionary—I'm encouraging you to change the way in which you think about and measure Exchange availability. Whether you use Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 5.5, reevaluating your definition of downtime and availability and focusing on the availability of service elements can help you get a more accurate picture of how your Exchange environment operates and measure availability in a way that's meaningful to your organization and how it does business.


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    2. NEWS AND VIEWS
    (contributed by Jerry Cochran, News Editor, [email protected])

  • SUPPORT WEBCAST: MICROSOFT EXCHANGE 2000 SERVER CONNECTIVITY THROUGH A FIREWALL

  • Tuesday, July 9, 2002, 8:00 A.M. Pacific Time:
    Learn about the requirements for connecting to an Exchange 2000 Server system through a firewall. Hear about various firewall-related topics, in particular those relating to port filtering and which ports you must open for Exchange to function correctly.
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=http://support.microsoft.com/servicedesks/webcasts/wc070902/wcblurb070902.asp

  • MICROSOFT RELEASES UPDATE TO EXCHANGE SDK

  • To help developers build Exchange 2000 Server applications, Microsoft released a June 2002 update to the Microsoft Exchange Software Development Kit (SDK). The updated SDK includes the following:
    • New and updated documentation
    • New WWW Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) XML elements
    • Instant Messaging (IM) components and documentation
    • Sample applications, including Calendaring, Cancel Appointment, Conferencing Server, Create New Store, Instant Messaging, New Appointment, WebDAV, and Workflow Support header files and libraries
    • Security module

    For more information, visit the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) .NET Enterprise Servers, Microsoft Exchange Server, Exchange SDK site and look for the Microsoft Exchange SDK Documentation and Samples June 2002 page and the Exchange SDK Development Tools June 2002 page.
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads/default.asp?url=/downloads/topic.asp?url=/msdn-files/028/001/373/topic.xml

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads/default.asp?url=/downloads/sample.asp?url=/msdn-files/027/001/834/msdncompositedoc.xml

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads/default.asp?url=/downloads/sample.asp?url=/msdn-files/027/001/833/msdncompositedoc.xml

  • SUBMIT TOP PRODUCT IDEAS

  • Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

    3. ANNOUNCEMENT
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • SPECIAL 2-FOR-1 SUBSCRIPTION OFFER!

  • Windows & .NET Magazine can help you find the right answer to an urgent problem, discover better ways to manage your enterprise, or prepare for an important migration. How can we improve on a resource this good? Subscribe now at our regular rate, and bring on a friend or colleague for free! This is a limited time offer, so act now!
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    4. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)

  • FREE ROCK CONCERT TICKETS AND WEB PHONE BOOK

  • WebDir provides Web-Based user and group management for AD and Exchange 5.5. WebDir users/delegates search and update users and groups with their browser. Forget Galmod because with WebDir, administrators predefine available directory fields using dropdown boxes. Download to win tickets!
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  • GAIN TOTAL CONTROL OF EXCHANGE PST FILES

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  • LINK UNIX & LINUX USERS TO MS EXCHANGE 2000

  • Eliminate secondary PCs and parallel mail systems. Ximian Connector lets Solaris 8 and Linux users use MS-Exchange 2000 to manage email, personal calendars, group schedules, corporate address books and tasks. Simplify your messaging. Get your FREE Ximian Evaluator's Guide:
    http://info.ximian.com/link_en

    5. RESOURCES

  • EXCHANGE HOW TO: CREATE MAILBOX-ENABLED ACCOUNTS USING LDIFDE IN EXCHANGE 2000 SERVER

  • Each week, Microsoft posts several Exchange Server how-to articles to its Knowledge Base. This week, learn how to create a user account in Active Directory (AD) and how to use the Windows 2000 ldifde.exe utility to mail-enable the account for Exchange 2000 Server.
    http://support.microsoft.com/search/preview.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;q313819

  • FEATURED THREAD: CONTENT MANAGEMENT

  • Milt is looking for content-management software for Exchange 2000 Server. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:
    http://www.exchangeadmin.com/forums/thread.cfm?cfapp=72&thread_id=108043&mc=1

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS INSTANT POLL: IF YOU USE EXCHANGE 2000 SERVER, HAVE YOU INSTALLED SERVICE PACK 2 (SP2)?

  • The voting has closed in Windows 2000 Magazine's Exchange & Outlook Administrator Channel nonscientific Instant Poll for the question "If you use Exchange 2000 Server, have you installed Service Pack 2 (SP2)?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 676 votes:
    • 66% Yes
    • 11% Not yet, but we plan to do so within the next 6 months
    • 22% We don't run Exchange 2000

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: DO YOU USE EXCHANGE 2000 CONFERENCING SERVER?

  • The next Exchange Instant Poll question is "Do you use Exchange 2000 Conferencing Server?" Go to the Exchange & Outlook Administrator Channel home page and submit your vote for a) Yes, b) Not yet, but we plan to within the next few years, or c) No, and we have no plans to do so.
    http://www.exchangeadmin.com

    6. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Bob Kretschman, [email protected])

  • APPLIANCE CAN OPTIMIZE EXCHANGE SERVER OPERATION

  • Expand Networks states that its ACCELERATOR network optimization appliances can help you optimize Exchange Server collaboration tools and accelerate Exchange synchronization by as much as 400 percent. ACCELERATORs use Expand's ECT Technology to increase the network capacity available to all enterprise applications. The appliances, which operate on all network traffic on both ends of a WAN, remove repeat data patterns from the network to achieve bandwidth savings. For pricing and more information, contact Expand Networks at 973-618-9000 or 888-892-1250 or by email at [email protected].
    http://www.expand.com

    9. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

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    Thank you for reading Exchange & Outlook UPDATE.

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