For many organizations, Exchange is the communications
lifeblood without which business comes to a standstill. Without it, customers
become detached from support and sales personnel. As such, keeping these
Exchange servers in good health is of prime importance.

Exchange includes some built-in resource monitors that will
alert you when some component of your server has gone awry and needs attention.
To get started, open the Exchange System Manager. Once open, expand the
Administrative Groups > First Administrative Group > Servers branch and
right-click the server for which you would like to configure monitoring. From
the resulting shortcut menu, choose the Properties option and, from the
Properties window, select the Monitoring tab.

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With this tab, you can configure a number of different
monitors, including:

  • Available
    virtual memory: Determine at what point warning and critical states are
    initiated for virtual memory. When virtual memory on your Exchange system
    gets too low, Exchange may stop working. Use this option to alert an
    administrator via e-mail when available virtual memory drops below a level
    that specify. With this option, you need to tell the monitoring service
    for how many minutes virtual memory needs to be below the target
    percentage before an administrator is notified.
  • CPU
    utilization: Consistently high CPU utilization on your Exchange server may
    indicate a need to add additional resources to your Exchange environment. Again,
    you can tell the Exchange monitor at what point warning and critical
    states are initiated and an administrator can be notified when these
    targets are hit. Like virtual memory, CPU utilization needs to stay peaked
    beyond your target percentages for a certain number of minutes (that you
    specify) before any action is taken.
  • Free
    disk space: Allows you to define warning and critical states that are
    based on the amount of disk space available on your Exchange system. Exchange
    is very disk intensive, and having enough space to grow is critically
  • SMTP
    queue growth: If a queue continually grows, it can signal that one of your
    connectors is on the fritz and not sending messages. For this monitoring
    object, you can specify the number of minutes of continual growth after
    which the queue is placed into a warning or critical state.
  • Windows
    2000 service: Allows you to watch specific Windows services and throw an
    error and notify an administrator when a service stops.
  • X.400
    queue growth: Same as SMTP queue growth, but watches the X.400 queue.

To add one of these items, click the Add button. From the
Add Resource window, choose the resource from the list above that you want to
monitor. For any selection, you will have to make some choices about warning
levels and timing. (For example, if you choose CPU utilization, you’re asked to
provide a duration and CPU thresholds.) Click OK when
you’re finished.

Now, in order to notify an administrator via e-mail when one
of your warning thresholds is violated, you need to tell the Exchange System
Manager who should get these reports. Here’s how:

  • In the
    manager, go to Tools > Monitoring and Status > Notifications.
  • Right-click
    Notifications and choose New > E-mail Notification
  • In the
    resulting window, provide the e-mail address of an administrator and
    decide under which condition–warning or critical–you want to email the
    administrator. You can set up separate notifications for each state.
  • Also,
    specify the name of the mail server that should be used to send the
    notification. If possible, use a different server that the monitored
    system to send the message.
  • Click
    OK when you’re finished.