Monitoring with System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager

Hall Monitor

Managed Availability in Exchange Server 2013

In Exchange Server 2013, Microsoft made some changes to the architecture. One of the major changes was the new Managed Availability feature. All Exchange 2013 components have built-in monitors that identify problems and try to restore service availability automatically in case of failure. The Exchange 2013 Management Pack (EXMP) uses these functions. All problems that cannot be solved automatically by the managed availability feature are stored as warnings in EXMP. Every component in Exchange 2013 has a special group of tests, monitors, and response services for self monitoring. These collections of tests and monitors are known as integrity records.

A series of tests could, for example, collect data on different aspects of the Microsoft ActiveSync service for mobile communications. This data is processed by a particular group of monitors that triggers the appropriate response services to resolve problems detected by the ActiveSync service. Together, these components form the ActiveSync health set.

Importing EXMP

Before you import the current EXMP, you should also import the current Windows Server Management Pack (WSMP) on servers running Microsoft Exchange. WSMP monitors a series of parameters in the Windows Server environment that are also important for the performance and stability of Exchange 2013. Exchange also uses Windows subsystems such as failover clustering if you use the Database Availability Group (DAG), and it relies heavily on the Internet Information Service (IIS) for numerous Client Access Server (CAS) role tasks. A Management Pack for Microsoft IIS is available as well, and you should consider importing it.

EXMP is available for download from the Microsoft website, but you can also download it through the management catalog. For the files contained in the Management Pack, see Table 1.

Table 1

EXMP Components

File Management Pack Description Discovers the installed Exchange Server 2013 components and provides monitoring capabilities, as well as overviews of performance data.
Microsoft.Exchange.15.Reports.mpb Enables Operations Manager to use the Exchange 2013 monitoring logic interface to provide reporting features. The Management Pack does not implement any monitoring logic.
Microsoft.Exchange.15.Visualization.Components.mpb Implements the visualization capabilities of Operations Manager for Exchange in the form of Operations Manager widgets and dashboards.

EXMP automatically discovers the following Exchange components:

  • Exchange 2013 Server
  • Distributed applications: Exchange 2013 organizations, Exchange 2013 AD sites, Exchange 2013 DAGs
  • Health Groups: Exchange 2013 health sets (Customer Touch Points, Key Dependencies, Server Components, Service Components)
  • Exchange 2013 server components: IIS application pools, Windows services, mailbox database copies (DAGs)

Exchange components are discovered on every Windows server running the Monitoring Agent and installed Exchange services. The Management Pack allows you to monitor the health status of the entire Exchange Server environment, as well as Windows services on the Exchange servers after the import.

To import EXMP, go to the Administration workspace in the Operations Manager console. After you import the Management Pack, create a copy and configure any customizations, such as overrides. To set up the proxy agent required for Exchange, use the same procedure as for configuring AD proxy agents.

Active Alarms

After installing the Operations Manager agent and importing EXMP, information is immediately written to the Operations Manager database and displayed in the management console under Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 . In the Monitoring workspace, you can see all the alarms that occurred on the monitored systems at the top, assuming you have not confirmed these alarms and they have not been resolved automatically. The alarm overview gives you a good overview of the state of the Exchange environment.

Once you have determined an Exchange-relevant alert in the Operations Manager console, the next step is to review the Exchange organization's health state. Double-clicking on a alarm gives you detailed information in the Health Explorer and can trigger other actions.

With the help of a graphical representation of the Exchange organization and the associated components, you can quickly navigate to the point where the Operations Manager has detected a problem in the Exchange configuration. You should use the information under Organization Health as your first port of call for existing Exchange problems, because it shows information about the state of Active Directory and other subsystems. The chart of the organization configuration lists the individual Exchange servers and their roles and graphically shows you which Exchange roles are experiencing problems.

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