The ability to check the status of IronPort's health and usage is critical. When IronPort fails, the entire email flow is shut down, meaning nobody in your organization can send or receive emails.
Xenia Von Wedel: Tell us about GSX Monitor supporting IronPort. To start, what is IronPort?
JF Piot, VP Product Management of GSX Solutions: The original IronPort Systems, Inc., was a company that designed and sold products and services to protect enterprises against internet threats. IronPort is now owned by Cisco Systems and called ESA (Email Security Appliance), and is mainly used for mail security such as email encryption, anti-spam, and antivirus.
How does IronPort fit into your overall mission at GSX?
At GSX Solutions, our mission is to create consolidated monitoring and reporting solutions for collaboration environments. A deep understanding of customer needs has helped us create comprehensive tools for monitoring everything from Exchange to Office 365, SharePoint to Lync, and BlackBerry Enterprise Server to IBM Notes. We are deeply knowledgeable about all these environments, and know how to retrieve and deliver the kind of information that will make a difference in day-to-day operations. When we add a new environment or platform, it is because we are able to provide IT departments with a global view of the performance of unified collaboration applications, including the network, the database, the OS, and so forth.
GSX has been known to create solutions for collaboration environments, so why IronPort?
IronPort is an essential part of messaging environments because of its critical role in email security (anti-spam, antivirus, and encryption).
Why is it important to monitor IronPort?
As mentioned before, we are expanding the scope of GSX Monitor & Analyzer to not only assess performance of the application itself, but to also monitor all components that might impact the quality of performance of applications.
The ability to check the status of IronPort's health and usage is critical - and we allow you to do so from the same dashboard that also monitors the messaging servers. When IronPort fails, the entire email flow is shut down, meaning nobody in your organization can send or receive emails.
So what happens, and why?
What is most likely to happen is that performance and health issues will have an impact on the global email performance and service delivered to the users.
There are a number of reasons that could cause issues with IronPort. Incorrect configuration can cause the reception of way too many emails, for instance. Problems may also arise from issues with DNS configuration, performance, and health.
How does GSX help?
GSX Solutions allows you to monitor and report on IronPort health and performance from a single dashboard. It will also provide insights into network availability and latency while continuously testing and troubleshooting the messaging environment.
At the same time, GSX Solutions provides in-depth usage metrics for IronPort so that you know which types of emails have been processed and which types have been rejected, as well as troubleshoot cache issues.
Can you share more details on how you monitor IronPort?
We monitor IronPort at multiple levels. We perform end-user scenarios to make sure that the IronPort is delivering service, help troubleshoot any cache or DNS issues, and alert on email and spam indicator statistics.
Regarding end-to-end scenarios, GSX automatically and regularly sends an email to an echo service on the internet. This allows admins to know the availability and performance of the interaction between the IronPort and the messaging system - if emails are able to go through the IronPort to an external domain, and if emails are able to go from an external domain to an end-user mailbox.
When it comes to system health and usage, GSX is able to define if the IronPort is overloaded and if it is doing its job properly. We also look into system availability and performance, including CPU and RAM usage. We provide the usage per process and can alert on any problems that arise.
GSX also checks the disk IOs, which are a good indicator to prevent the IronPort from being saturated with requests; for example, if too many emails are going in and out of the appliance or if the virtual machine has resource issues.
GSX monitors the queue utilization and availability status. In order to process thousands and thousands of emails, the IronPort first stores them quickly into a queue, where they wait for processing. This is important in order to validate the sizing of the architecture.
Furthermore, if some messages are in the queue for more than a certain amount of time, GSX will alert you. If messages are stuck in queues, there is obviously an issue. It might be a configuration issue, a problem with the email recipient, or the outside domain could have major issues.
When it comes to system health monitoring, we check the mail transfer threads by displaying the number of active processes that send and receive email at the same time. This basically measures the load of the IronPort.
What about IronPort License Management?
GSX checks every license option availability in real-time. This can prevent any unexpected critical service failures.
How about email processing?
The system will perform multiple check to monitor how the IronPort is processing the flow of email. GSX will retrieve multiple counters to provide real-time visibility in the main job of the IronPort. The purpose of this is also to look into those processes to detect abnormal usage. This includes ingoing and outgoing connections - meaning how many emails enter and leave the IronPort. GSX also identifies the total number of active recipients to define the email usage of your organization. On any given day, the company admin needs to know: the number of messages received, recipients received, delivered recipients, and all the actions that have been successful.
GSX will also monitor any message failure indicators - such as bounced recipients, rejected recipients, deleted recipients - to represent everything that failed or might fail.
If these counters are rising significantly, it means that the company is sending emails to email addresses that never existed or no longer exist. The problem is that your company will be considered a spammer if this situation happens too frequently.
That is why it is so important to understand what's going on with your IronPort.
What other benefits do customers get from monitoring IronPort?
The last part of the IronPort that needs critical attention is definitely the DNS and cache activities.
The purpose here is to analyze the health of the cache, as it gives a very good understanding of any IronPort resource, network, or spam issues. This enables the administrator to proactively manage the health of the IronPort.
To this end, GSX checks the DNS requests, network requests, the cache hits / cache misses ratio, as well as the cache exception and cache expired.
To conclude, GSX provides a global dashboard that monitors your messaging environment as well as critical parts of your infrastructure. IronPort monitoring enables the administrator to drastically reduce the MTTR while sharing the health and usage of the IronPort to every involved team in the company.
To read the full article please go to: http://news.sys-con.com/node/3644804