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Server monitoring with Exchange 2000

How Exchange 2000 will let you know what's going on with your servers.

The best way to confirm that services are running on a target server is to use server monitors. What's a good, available server monitor? How about Exchange 2000?

Exchange 2000 implements the same basic principles as server monitors but refers to them as notifications. The first step is to establish a set of conditions that you want to monitor on a server and then assign a server to monitor those conditions.

Exchange 2000 uses RPCs or remote procedure calls to retrieve information from your server. This means you can monitor a server only when the network connection between the two servers supports RPCs.

Exchange 2000 also supports both e-mail notifications and script notifications. The difference is easy to decipher. The e-mail notification will result in Exchange 2000's sending an e-mail message to a predefined set of e-mail addresses.

A script notification performs several different programs and other operation in sequence in case an error condition arises, and is much more powerful than an e-mail notification.

You can define the monitoring parameters in two different ways. In the first instance, you can expand the Administrative Groups folder, and select a server from the list, open the properties, and go to the Monitoring tab. In the second instance, you can open the ESM's Status node, select a server from the right pane, and then open the server's Properties sheet. Each method opens a Properties dialog box. Be aware that the disks that you can monitor for the Free space threshold will differ from server to server. It is important to know this because services such as the IS or MTA will stop when a disk they use runs out of free space. Do not use the Disable all monitoring of this server check box, unless you have a good reason for not wanting to monitor the server.

Once monitoring conditions have been established, Exchange 2000 will send notifications if the server meets the specified threshold condition. The Customize button will let you select a set of servers from a dialog box that lists all the know Exchange Server machines in the organization. The ESM validates the to and Cc fields against AD so you can send alerts to users, contacts, or specific groups. Edit the subject and content of the message so long as you are careful not to change the predefined fields that Exchange Server will insert values into.

Barrie Sosinsky ( president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.

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