How to manage the Hub role?
The Hub role is more than central. What is the first use of an Exchange Infrastructure? To send and receive mails! The Hub role takes care of it and GSX Monitor and Analyzer takes care of the Hub!
GSX Monitor & Analyzer main features
GSX Monitor and Analyzer test the performance of the service delivered by the Hub servers through multiple PowerShell tests and end-to-end scenarios. It also gives instant information on the health and the usage of this critical role, providing reporting capabilities on capacity, performance and mail flow across your global Exchange Hub Infrastructure.
Manage the service delivered by the Hub
The service handled by the Hub is mainly composed of the categorization and the transport of the mails. It also acts as an SMTP server to deliver the mail internally and externally.
GSX Monitor and Analyzer check that at different levels. The first level is at the role and queue level.
Manage the Exchange Queues
The primary job of the Hub server role is to manage mail queues. GSX Monitor and Analyzer, via PowerShell constantly check and report on the availability of the Hub Role server. It also checks the critical Hub Windows Services and collects, like for every server, system statistics to help you identifying any system performance problem.
At the application level, GSX Monitor and Analyzer checks the mail queues that sit on the Hub server in order to see any problem on the Mailbox Delivery Queue, Remote Delivery Queue, Poison message Queue and Unreachable Queue.
Queue should be Active (processing), Ready (healthy waiting for processing), could be in Retry (Processing again after errors) or Suspended (disable, not working anymore).
If a mail queue is suspended, it means that your Hub experiences problems routing the mails. As a consequence, your users will soon be impacted. That is why GSX alerts you on a Hub role down.
If a Queue is in Retry state, errors have been detected by the Hub trying to process the email. In this case, the service is still provided by the Hub but you may experience problems. As a consequence, GSX sends a Warning to inform you on potential problem.
Doing that, GSX also collects the total number of mails waiting for submission in the queues, displays them directly in the Main View and provides thresholds to be alerted when their number exceed them. It shows the current number of submitted messages not yet processed by the transport layer and can indicate connectivity issues in case of a too high number.
Hence you’ll be alerted in real time when the number of mail in all queues but undeliverable is higher than the number you want and when the specific threshold on mail in the undeliverable queue is exceeded. In addition GSX Monitor and Analyzer supports the Exchange Hub Transport Queue and retreives statistics related to the Next Hop Domain in order to better identify the criticity of the queue.
GSX Exchange Manager
The GSX Exchange Manager allows administrators to directly take actions on the email queues. GSX displays all the queues and administrators can Show mail, Resume Queue or Suspend Queue if there is any issue.
Moreover administrators can displays all email (subjects only) in the queue and actions can be taken like Resume Mail, Suspend Mail, and Remove Mail with NDR or simply Remove Mail.
The next Level for Hub service monitoring is to use it as a user, with internal and external mail routing scenarios, to see how the service is delivered by your multiple Hub servers.
Three different types of Mail Routing scenarios are available.
Internal: The first one only tests the Hub role. GSX regularly sends an email at a defined interval, inside the same Active Directory organization and calculates the time it takes for this email to be delivered.
Alerts are sent if the test fail and details of the errors are available in the Scenario View.
The second combined a test of the Hub server with a test of the EDGE or Gateway server.
External: GSX sends an email from any mailbox to an Internet Echo service (automatically sends back an email received). The email is sent back by the Echo service and transported to the right mailbox on the way back. As a result, this check tests the ability of the Hub to transport the emails from the DB, through the EDGE/Gateway to the Internet in both ways and provides data on the time it takes for a user to send and receive email from the Internet. The result of this test is one of the fundamental statistics to monitor, as it tests the main usage of the Exchange architecture.
Once again, alerts are sent if the test fails and details of the errors are available in the Scenario View.
Exchange – BlackBerry: Finally, this test can also be made with a BlackBerry cell phone. The email is sent by GSX to a BlackBerry cell phone. This ghost email is encoded to send a message confirm. GSX checks the mailboxes for this automatic answer. This check tests all of the connectivity between a mailbox and a BlackBerry cell phone, through the Hub and the BlackBerry Infrastructure (server, SRP, NOC, Cell phone).
GSX Monitor and Analyzer play these scenarios constantly providing you historical data for each scenario on:
- Average routing Time
- Maximum Routing Time
- Minimum Routing Time
- Access Failure
- Success / Failure / % of Success compare to a determined threshold
You can now easily trend for the last days, weeks or month the performance of your Mail delivery Infrastructure and forecast the results with GSX Analyzer.
These statistics reflects the availability and the performance of:
- The whole service delivered by the Hub and EDGE/Gateway servers of the organization when the probe is sent to the Internet.
- The Hub service when internal Mail Routing tests are configured.
- All the architecture from the mailbox database to the BlackBerry Infrastructure when it sets with a BlackBerry device.
Monitor and report on Mail flow
GSX Monitor and Analyzer provide a set of mail flow statistics that can be used in real time or for trending and forecasting.
Because it is more than critical to know how your infrastructure is used you can directly see in the Graph sections, in real time the number of message proceeded, server per server.
Statistics available for Real Time Graphs are:
- Number of connections currently Inbound and Outbound
- Size received and sent in messages
- Number of message in the local queue
- Number of message delivered in local mailboxes
- Number of message that have been categorized but not routed
GSX Analyzer enables you to trend all these statistics, to forecast them and of course like for every other role to compare the load of your servers to identify bottlenecks in your Infrastructure.
You can compare the mail flow against all you Hub server to check which is the mostly used, on which server most of the problem occurs, etc.
GSX Analyzer adds these mail flow statistics for trending and capacity planning:
- Message delivery locally
- Recipients having received a message
- Total message received
- Total message sent
With GSX Analyzer, reporting, sizing, troubleshooting become easy!