Category Archives: Exchange

vCheck Exchange Updated

imagePhil has been doing some fantastic work with the Exchange 2010 version of vCheck, his latest version now even supports Exchange 2007 !

He has also updated most of the plugins with new and exciting data, if you have Exchange and you have not yet tried it make sure you give it a whirl, if you have already been using the previous version make sure you update to this great new version.

Download

To download this version of vCheck you can download the following file which includes the base script and all exchange plugins:

http://www.virtu-al.net/vcheck-pluginsheaders/vcheck/

For more information on the base vCheck script and its framework including a demo of how to use it visit this page.

Plugins

All Exchange Plugins are accessible via the Exchange plugins page located here.

Example Page

An example of the Exchange 2010 report can be viewed by clicking here.

Update Log

New in Exchange Plugins v2.0:

Exchange 2007 support

Report on drives with <= x% free space

MAPI Latency report where latency is above user specified threshold

Active DB not mounted on preferred server report

Various bug fixes and code cleanups

All the plugins have been renumbered into a more logical order

Plus, a bonus plugin to select (via vCheck.ps1 -config) the report header image

Added plugin “20 Exchange 20xx Largest Mailboxes by Total Size”, like 18 and 19,
but sorted by the sum of mailbox and dumpster sizes

————————————————————————————-

00 1st Plugin – Select Report Header Image
Sets report header image
For example, download the Exchange header from
http://www.virtu-al.net/featured-scripts/vcheck/vcheck-headers/
and save as vCheck\Headers\Exchange.png, and this will work out of the box
Falls back to vCheck\Header.jpg if specified header can’t be found

10 Exchange 20xx Load Snapin.ps1
Loads Exchange 2007 / Exchange 2010 powershel snapin

11 Exchange 20xx Basic Server Information.ps1
Basic Exchange server info: OS & Service pack, Exchange version, hotfix rollups,
Exchange Edition and Roles

12 Exchange 20xx Drive Details.ps1
Drive details for each of the Exchange servers.  Can be configured to report only
on drives with less than a specified percentage free space

13 Exchange 2010 Database Availability Groups.ps1
Basic info about your DAG groups – Exchange 2010 only

14 Exchange 20xx DB Statistics.ps1
Database statistics – number of mailboxes, sizes, circular logging, and last
backup dates

15 Exchange 2010 DB Status.ps1
Database status info

16 16 Exchange 2010 Active DB not on Preferred Server .ps1
Reports on databases not mounted on their preferred servers

17 Exchange 20xx MAPI Connectivity.ps1
List MAPI connectivity latencies – can be configured to only report on latencies
above a specified level

18 Exchange 20xx PF Statistics.ps1
Public Folder stats

20 Exchange 20xx Largest Mailboxes.ps1
Report on largest mailboxes by Mailbox size

21 Exchange 20xx Largest Dumpster.ps1
Report on largest mailboxes by Dumpster (deleted items) size

22 Exchange 20xx Largest Total Size.ps1
Report on largest mailboxes by Total size (Mailbox + Dumpster)

For each of the above three reports, you can report on the top n mailboxes by size
either across organisation or per DB, and you can also specify a threshold size to
report on.  For obvious reasons, I wouldn’t advise reporting on all mailboxes without
a non-zero threshold

Plugins for Exchange not up to date or installed.ps1
Report on out of date / missing plugins

Report on Plugins.ps1
Report on which plugins were invoked in current run

vCheck for Exchange 2010

imageOne of the main areas I redesigned in vCheck 6 was the new plugin concept, In my mind this was a nice HTML output which could be used for more than just vSphere checks, the plugins could potentially be any product which has a PowerShell snap-in or module, and even some which don’t 🙂

Shortly after the release I was contacted by Phil Randal who had done just this, he has taken the vCheck framework and written some Exchange 2010 plugins, this now turns the vCheck report into a Exchange monitoring report too.  Awesome stuff !

Now you can have a daily email with your Exchange 2010 details and issues.

Phil has added 6 initial Exchange 2010 plugins which add some great details, these include:

  • Basic Server Information
  • Database Statistics
  • Database Status
  • Public Folder Statistics
  • Mailboxes larger than x amount of MB
  • Mailboxes with deleted items above x amount of MB

So if you have Exchange 2010 then be sure to download this version of vCheck and give it a go, after all it doesn’t cost you a thing and could save you work in the future. Make sure you thank Phil for his hard work on Twitter, his account is @philrandal

Example Page

An example of the Exchange 2010 report can be viewed by clicking here.

Download

To download this version of vCheck you can download it here which includes the base script and all exchange plugins.

For more information on the base vCheck script and its framework including a demo of how to use it visit this page.

Plugins

All Exchange Plugins are accessible via the Exchange 2010 plugins page located here.

Should I virtualise Exchange ?

For a long time the answer was no, but developments in the VMware Products have lead to major improvements in disk/network/memory and CPU performance so now the question is…
Where do I start ?
If your looking for a good starting point I would listen to the recent podcast from the VMware community round table which was specifically on virtualising Exchange..
Also you may want to check out the VMware pages written especially for virtualising Exchange, make sure you check out the resources tab….
It would seam that after years of advising against it even Microsoft are jumping on the band waggon:

With the release of Microsoft Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, a virtualized Exchange 2007 SP1 server is no longer restricted to the realm of the lab; it can be deployed in a production environment and receive full support from Microsoft. 

Check out the full article on the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog here

Powershell-Tastic!

On the back of some of the work i’ve done implementing Exchange 2007 recently, here are some vaguely useful powershell scripts!..

Change All mailbox Database settings
Having to apply new limits to databases etc can be a bit painful through the GUI. use this script to apply mailbox limits etc
80mb warning limit
100mb send prevention
35 day deleted item retendion
35day deleted mailbox retention

Get-MailboxDatabase -Server set-mailboxdatabase -IssueWarningQuota 80MB -ProhibitSendQuota 100MB -Prohibit SendReceiveQuota unlimited -DeletedItemRetention 35.00:00:00 -MailboxRetention 35.00:00:00 -RetainDeletedItemsUntilBackup:$true

Testing a server

These built in commands test the functionality of Exchange 2007, SCOM uses these for part of the manegement pack i think!

test-systemhealth
is a wrapper for ExBPA through the command shell, a good first point for call for testing

test-mapiconnectivity
tests MAPI access to all mailbox databases on the server

test-owaconnectivity
tests OWA access to a Client Acces Server, either run on a CAS server or specify in the syntax, you may also need to run new-testcasconnectivityuser.ps1 script to create the test account i.e
get-mailboxserver new-testcasconnectivityuser.ps1

test-mailflow
tests mailflow to and from a system mailbox on the server specified

test-servicehealth
A fast way to check the status of Exchange related services

Public Folder replication
There are a number of “builtin” scripts with Exchange 2007 that live in the \scripts folder in the exchange root
some useful ones

AddReplicaToPFRecursive.ps1
adds a server to a list of public folders and to its subfolders, I had some problems with this one, initially getting to to add a whole IPM_SUBTREE seemed a bit impossible. The script requires a top level folder parameter, but wouldn’t accept the root. which is a pain in organisations where they create all folders under the root. You can add folders explicitly, but this is painful if there are a lot!
if you specify “\” as the top level folder it appears to work…
Its a way of saving some effort, but I did find folders where replicas hadn’t been added and no errors reported so I added them manually…

get-publicfolderstatistics
get the list of public folders replicated to the server and theirs stats, useful to see if the list is approximately what it should be!

Public Folders in Exchange 14…

Looks like Ms has done a slight u-turn over public folders,
ever since I’ve known they have been planning to “remove” or “de-emphasise” public folders in the next version of Exchange, they attempted this in Exchange 2007, but demand (and development timescales) meant they reintroduced a lot of the management tools via SP1.
Now via a statement made in passing it looks like they are still planning support!

Public Folders and E14 – The Next Version of Exchange
Just like a certain segment of the blogosphere is concerned about Windows versions and gets excited every time a notice about “Windows 7” (the succeeding product to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008) comes out of Redmond, I follow, instead the segment that gets excited about E14 – the next release of Exchange Server.
At this point, I would say that we probably know less about E14 than we do about Windows 7!
One of the MAJOR issues that came out of E12 (Exchange Server 2007) was that Microsoft chose to de-emphasize Public Folders. What this means is that they said they would support public folders for E12, but would not guarantee that they would be supported in releases after E12, nor would additional feature content be added to Public Folders.
Microsoft’s stated direction for public folders is the SharePoint product suite. Which, while it does a GREAT job at some things (document libraries come to mind) does poorly at other things (threaded conversations) and does not do some things at all (replication of content to many sites).
Well, in a conversation today it came out that Microsoft will support public folders in E14. Many of us were shocked, surprised, and very happy! The Microsofties in the conversation were surprised that we were surprised – they said that they had told us this ‘way back in 2006! They pointed to
this blog post by Scott Schnoll from June of 2006.
Well, now we know! I’m sure we’ll hear more about this Real Soon Now ™. 🙂