Exchange Exchange Server 2003 - SMTP Queues
Introduction to Exchange Server 2003- SMTP Queues
When the email is not getting through, examine the SMTP queues. Your Microsoft Exchange System Manager displays a Queues folder under each server's icon. The purpose of this page is to examine all the menus and to develop troubleshooting skills.
Topics for Exchange Server 2003 SMTP Queues
I feel that the Queues are a neglected area of Exchange Server 2003 configuration. There is lots of interesting information in the queues folder. If you take the trouble to trace these queues they lead to features like SMTP connectors and Stores, the result is that you appreciate how the Exchange 2003 components interact.
Each version of Microsoft Exchange makes the queues easier to troubleshoot. One strange paradox is the more menus Exchange 2003 provides, the harder it is to find the feature that you're looking for. What I would like to do is show you all the features under the queue folder.
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One minor surprise is the sheer number of queues. Thankfully, this makes troubleshooting a delight because you can narrow down the search and so find the message blockage. Another interesting feature is that each SMTP Connector displays its own queue. Moreover, each queue tells its own story. Can messages be delivered locally? Are there lots of messages waiting to be routed?
Note: DSR means delivery status notification, more commonly known as NDR (Non Delivery Reports).
When you are in troubleshooting mode, the first column to examine is 'Number'. Start with the biggest Number and check the State column. What you are looking for is clues as to why there are so many emails in the queue. In the above diagram you see that there are three conditions, Ready, Active and Retry. Not shown are three more states, Frozen, Scheduled and Remote.
All Exchange 2003 interfaces need a refresh button. The equivalent in the Queues folder is, Force Connection. What 'Force connection' does is to change the status to active and so give another chance for Exchange to deliver the messages.
One useful technique is to click on, 'Find messages..' what you are looking for is a common factor. Is there any sender or recipient information that can shed light on why they are all stuck in this queue.
Another technique is to Freeze messages, this allows other messages to be send while you investigate one particular message.
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Even when all servers and routers are available, sooner or later you will be curious to know who, or what, is hogging your precious network's bandwidth. A GUI showing the top 10 users makes interesting reading.
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Firstly, message spikes are normal. If a user sends a message to a distribution group, or a whole group of users suddenly all send messages at the same time, then inevitably queues will build-up. The problem is only serious when the queues keep growing and no messages get delivered.
Determine SMTP Queue Threshold.
Messages awaiting directory lookup
Messages waiting to be routed
(SMTP Connector) Remote Delivery
Messages Queued for Deferred Delivery
A good question to ask is, 'Did it ever work?' If yes, what was the last thing that changed? My speciality is lateral thinking, could I try another physical or logical route?
Encouraging computers to sleep when they're not in use is a great idea - until you are away from your desk and need a file on that remote sleeping machine!
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Windows Exchange Server 2003's Queues are easy to find. Launch the Microsoft Exchange System Manager, and navigate first to the server icon, then to the Queues folder. When troubleshooting in the Queues folder, home in on the Number and Status columns. If you trace the queues back to the source you will gain an understanding of how the messaging components interact.