Microsoft Application Development – A Brief Overview

Digital communications are the lifeline for many businesses. Due to the importance of email and collaborations, the health and functionality of your Microsoft Exchange Server communication platform directly influence the stability of your business. While there are literally hundreds of tools designed to streamline the efficiency of Exchange Servers, the following tools are regarded as essential items in your administrator tool box.


Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment


The integration and deployment of your Microsoft Exchange Server is one of the most critical steps when it comes to revamping your communication platform. While this is a vital step, it’s also one of the most confusing. Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment was designed by the Microsoft Exchange Team to assist in the implementation of this platform. This tool offers administrators:


  • Deployment Type – The installation and deployment of Microsoft Exchange Servers is based upon the type of hosting solution you use, such as Hybrid, Cloud-Based or On-Premises. This tool also helps answer the most common questions associated with utilizing public folders, Unified Messaging features and other essential elements of this enterprise.
  • Custom Checklist – Due to the complex nature of this platform, it’s easy to become bogged down and ultimately confused regarding its deployment. One of the most common scenarios encountered by Exchange administrators is forgetting to accomplish vital steps in the deployment process. Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment offers a customized checklist based upon the deployment type and other unique variables.


Exchange Management Shell


Any business who utilizes Microsoft Exchange Server as their primary communications platform should begin using Exchange Management Shell. This vital tool for Exchange administrators simplifies tasks and offers features, such as:


  • Automation of various administrative tasks. This feature can save you a significant amount of time when it comes to the daily duties associated with managing an Exchange Server (click here to learn more about features like that).
  • Connection Creation – Administrators often need to create new Send and Receive connectors. This process is simplified through this powerful and dynamic tool.
  • Implement New User Accounts – As your enterprise grows, you’ll need a simple way to create and implement new user email accounts. This Microsoft Exchange tool offers a streamlined process, and easy interface, to create new accounts in the least amount of time possible.
  • Database Configuration – Because Microsoft Exchange Server relies heavily on the health of its databases, it’s essential administrators continually monitor and establish parameters to maintain optimum performance and functionality. Exchange Management Shell offers a powerful interface to customize database configurations for the best performance based upon your unique enterprise needs. 

Further reading:

Web Application Monitoring Tools – Essential Features

Regardless of your business and its functions, the functionality of its mail system is critical to ensure fluid operations. No matter how well the Microsoft Exchange Server implementation went, in order to maintain consistent availability and functionality, Exchange Server must be continually monitored. Automatic monitoring solutions offer continual insight into the functionality of your critical mail system. If you’re looking to implement a monitoring solution for your Exchange Server, it’s essential your solution consists of the following elements for comprehensive management.


Elements of an Effective Monitoring Solution


The components of an effective Exchange monitoring tool vary according to vendor; however, there are several universal elements that result in comprehensive monitoring.


Key elements include:


  • The tool must automatically discover the roles of all installed Exchange servers
  • Provide real-time alerts based upon your designated parameters, along with best practice parameters established by the vendor.
  • Provide custom recommendations based upon performance and functionality of Exchange infrastructure.
  • Identify the various attributes of an Exchange Server, which include: logical drives, physical drives and information stores.
  • Record and analyze domain controller response times, which are responsible for the overall functionality and performance of your Exchange Server.
  • Provide continual system-wide monitoring, which includes monitoring: Operating System Health, External Storage Performance, Exchange Application Functionality. If you’re looking for a comparison of the available web application monitoring


Essential Exchange Metrics


When browsing monitoring solutions, make sure to review several critical metrics to ensure the most comprehensive monitoring service. These metrics include:

  • Database Performance – The solution must continually monitor the performance of the Exchange database. This metric should provide information, such as real time and historical performance; cache performance, latency; IO requests; request queue logs.

  • Mailbox Server Performance – The most effective solutions are those that detect and monitor all client protocols in operation, which includes mailbox server functionality and performance. As more protocols are deployed, the solution must automatically adjust its monitoring capabilities to account for this expansion.

  • Client Access Server Performance – Client Access Server monitoring is essential to gather detailed insights regarding connection speeds, search logs, response times, Web service requests as well as ActiveSync trends.

  • Hub Transport Functionality and Performance – This level of monitoring ensures all Hub Transport Servers are operating at their optimum performance levels. Metrics to be monitored within this category include: message rates, delivery queue trends, IO Bottlenecks and database operations.

  • CPU Utilization Rates – The utilization rate of your central processing unit, or CPU, can provide insights regarding whether or not your allocated resources are large enough to handle request loads and activities. When operating at high levels, the overall performance of Exchange Servers can be negatively affected.

How to Keep Your Web Application Servers Running Efficiently

Microsoft Exchange is one of the most complex and dynamic platforms available to small and large businesses. Due to its comprehensive infrastructure, and its ease of customization based upon your specific needs, many organizations have turned to this platform for their critical communications. If you’re seeking out different ways to keep your Exchange servers in proper working order, then you should follow these tips and guidelines.


Establish Frequent Server Backups


Perhaps one of the most effective ways to keep your servers running smoothly is to establish frequent and thorough backups. Due to the continuous transaction logging and various storage capabilities, Exchange is among one of the most complex systems to effectively backup.


In order to properly backup this complex system, it’s essential that you deploy a backup mechanism that’s compliant with Exchange. These Exchange-specific backup systems are aware of the multiple databases and various levels of log files. In case of a disaster, these Exchange-specific backup systems are able to safeguard database integrity and information.


Establish the Ample Storage Requirements Based on Use


One of the most common errors established by enterprises is not allowing ample disk space within the Exchange. As your data begins to soar through use, and storage allotments do not match this expansion, Exchange will actually stop storing mail. For both large and small businesses, this can be a critical problem.


The most effective way to combat this issue is by properly planning the amount of space you currently need, and what you feel will be needed in the future. While there are many ways to calculate and determine how much disk space your enterprise requires, perhaps the most effective of all these is the storage calculator found on the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog. This calculator can be found Here.

Maintain Proper Mailbox Quotas


A common problem many businesses come across is having a mailbox quota that’s too small to fit all the storage requirements for its user. While the exact size of a mailbox quota varies based upon the usage requirements for that particular user, many IT directors suggest setting the average mailbox storage quota to 2GB; however, it may be necessary to create larger quotas. Best practices when it comes to this scenario is to review each user and their email habits/requirements. It’s only when these habits are reviewed that you can set an effective mailbox quota.