The cornerstone of keeping your Exchange servers running as smoothly as possible is to establish a configuration that works with how the servers maintain their functionality. While there are many variables that determine the overall success of your Microsoft Exchange Servers, the following tips are designed to be implemented across all platforms for optimum performance.
Configure Database Maintenance Frequency and Duties
Throughout every working day, the Information Store within your Exchange Server is bombarded with activity and data. As time progresses, these transactions can destroy the speed and functionality of a database. Thankfully, Microsoft Exchange was designed to run maintenance each night to eliminate unnecessary data, which ensures your email client runs at optimum performance levels. While there are different variables that go into this configuration, the following should be implemented for all Exchange Servers:
- Tombstone Maintenance on all public folders and in all user mailboxes
- Deletion of expired messages from public folders and from the “Trash” file within each user account
- Automatic deletion of messages found in public folders that are more than 180 days old (unless certain rules were attached to the specific messages)
- Daily server updates for public folders
- Removing duplicate folders
- Fine-tuning deleted mailboxes and its associated folders
- Fine-tuning message conflicts
Configure Free Space
As your Exchange Server completes its nightly maintenance, deleted folders and files leave what’s known as “free space.” While this removes the actual files and folders, it does not consolidate the size of the database. Instead, there’s a virtual “hole” left in its spot, which can significantly reduce the functionality of your servers. While this may not alter the performance of all servers, it’s a good idea to configure free space on a quarterly basis. Establish a monitoring solution that alerts administrators if this “free space” consumes over 15% of your overall database storage.
Configure Database Growth Alerts
Perhaps the easiest way to configure your Exchange Server so it continually operates in the most efficient manner is to configure alerts that monitor the growth of your database. You should strive to check the growth rate of each database on a monthly basis to prevent accidentally exceeding your set limits, which can cause downtime in email availability. There are many techniques you can implement when configuring this monitoring solution. The best of these is dependent on the overall usage rates of each mailbox. Because Exchange is technically a web application, it might be worthwhile to explore various real time web application monitoring options so that you can keep tabs on your Exchange server without having to manually check.
Configure Nondelivery Reports
Sometimes, an email can get “stuck” in the queue of your server. This can create many issues. First, it takes up unnecessary space within your database, which can result in sluggish response times. Secondly, if this was an important message, you could lose the trust of a customer or vital information for a specific employee or department could become lost. Eliminate this scenario by configuring automatic Nondelivery Reports, or NDR messages, for the emails that have become stuck in the Exchange Server queue.