How to Configure an Exchange 2010 SMTP Connector
The golden rule with Exchange 2010 SMTP connectors is don't do more than you have to. You probably need internet access, therefore by all means configure an SMTP connector to your ISP. However, if you have multiple Exchange 2010 servers in the same site then they can communicate effectively without SMTP connectors.
One surprise is that Exchange 2010 SMTP connectors are uni-directional, thus to link two servers, you need one connector to receive and another to send email.
Topics for Configuring Exchange 2010 SMTP Connectors
Routing Strategies For Local Email
Emails addressed to recipients in the local Active Directory site are handled by the Hub Transport server. It's the job of the categorizer to deliver the email to the correct mailbox server; whereupon the message is retrieved by a version of Outlook.
Routing Strategies For Remote Email
Receiving email uses the same routes as above, but in reverse. Thus it follows that you can categorize messages into four groups: inbound or outbound, and local or remote.
Because every delivery strategy involves the Hub Transport server, you can appreciate why every Exchange 2010 organization needs at least one server with this role. Indeed, Microsoft's recommendation is to have one server with the Hub Transport role in each Active Directory site.
Supporting Components for the Exchange 2010 SMTP Connectors
While the categorizer is at the heart of the message system, let us get to know the other important components, the Microsoft Exchange Mail Submission service, store driver and the submission queue.
In addition to local delivery, email can also enter the submission queue from an SMTP Receive connector, or even from the Pickup directory. The submission queue stores all messages safely on disk until the categorizer is ready to process them.
It is the categorizer that is responsible for calculating the best routing path, for converting content format, and applying any organizational message policies. Incidentally, the categorizer on an Edge Transport server verifies the recipient's SMTP address of an inbound message before it places it in the delivery queue.
The incoming message is then routed to a Hub Transport server. In a new development in Exchange 2010, the categorizer makes copies of messages that have multiple recipients.
The categorizer processes each message in the submission queue in turn. If a message is intended for a Mailbox server in the same Active Directory site, the categorizer places the message in a local delivery queue. The store driver then takes over and delivers the message to the Mailbox server role by using MAPI.
SolarWinds' Network Performance Monitor will help you discover what's happening on your network. This utility will also guide you through troubleshooting; the dashboard will indicate whether the root cause is a broken link, faulty equipment or resource overload.
What I like best is the way NPM suggests solutions to network problems. Its also has the ability to monitor the health of individual VMware virtual machines. If you are interested in troubleshooting, and creating network maps, then I recommend that you try NPM now.
The logical place to create an SMTP connector is on the server(s) with the Hub Transport role. The other place to configure these Exchange 2010 send and receive connectors would be on the Edge Server.
Receive connectors represent a gateway through which all inbound messages are enter your Exchange 2010 Server. You need a receive connectors for each server, and they control how that server takes delivery of messages from the Internet or email clients.
Luckily, the receive connectors required for internal mail flow are automatically created when you install the Hub or Edge Transport server role.
Once you create a Receive Connector you can tweak its Properties. Suppose you have a partner company, you can specify the source IP addresses from where you receive messages. Also, in the Limits tab you can adjust the maximum size of messages and configure permissions. And for troubleshooting messages, you could enable protocol logging on the General tab of Exchange 2010 SMTP connector.
As an alternative to configuring through the Exchange Management Console, is to use PowerShell to manage the Exchange 2010 SMTP connectors.
Get-ReceiveConnector -Server YourExch
Note 1: You need to change the value for '-Server YourExch'
Note 2: This is how you could research more of these cmdlets:
This reveals the ReceiveConnector family of Powershell Cmdlets
New-ReceiveConnector -Name 'Receive from ISP' `
New-ReceiveConnector -Name 'Receive from Central' `
In Exchange 2003, all internet mail is directed through the SMTP virtual server. However in Exchange 2010 server, the SMTP virtual server no longer handles internet email, instead this task is performed by the new SMTP connector.
Internet emails are typically routed by the Hub Transport via an Edge server subscription. Alternatively, you could create a Send connector on the Hub Transport server itself, and configure it to deliver outgoing internet email.
Alternatively you can use the New-SendConnector cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell. Note, as you create the new Send Connector, observe the PowerShell code on the last screen, just before the wizard completes.
NTM will produce a neat diagram of your network topology. But that's just the start; Network Topology Mapper can create an inventory of the hardware and software of your machines and network devices. Other neat features include dynamic update for when you add new devices to your network. I also love the ability to export the diagrams to Microsoft Visio.
Finally, Guy bets that if you test drive the Network Topology Mapper then you will find a device on your network that you had forgotten about, or someone else installed without you realizing!
Download your 14 day free trial of SolarWinds Network Topology Mapper
Exchange 2003 Features not supported in Exchange 2010
Maximum message size
Other Restrictions not enforced
Firewall Rules - Suggestions
Here is an utility where you can review firewall settings such as access control lists (ACL), or troubleshoot problems with network address translation (NAT).
Other reasons to download this SolarWinds Firewall Browser include managing requests to change your firewall settings, and testing firewall rules before you go live.
Guy recommends that you download a copy of the SolarWinds free Firewall Browser.
Send connectors create a logical connection to remote email systems and are responsible for outbound transmissions. When you use the EdgeSync process, it will configure the Send connectors automatically. Alternatively, you can create the Send Connectors manually with either the EMC or the Shell.
When designing outbound message flow in Exchange 2010, consider the following factors:
Will you use a single location for routing all messages to the Internet? Or will you enable message routing through multiple locations? If your organization has more than one location with an Internet connection, you can enable message routing through each. To do this, you can either:
On the one hand, the advantage of a single route is security. You need be concerned only with a single connection, from the internal network to the Internet. On the other hand, multiple routes provide redundancy and load balancing.
Internal Send Connectors
Partner This type of connector is used to forward messages to partner domains. Partner connectors allow connections only to SMTP servers that authenticate using TLS certificates.
Custom Send Connector
In addition to the security v redundancy factors, which apply email in both directions, inbound message flow has extra challenges. Firstly remember that receive connectors just affect the local server, whereas send connectors affect the entire Exchange organization.
The key point with a receive connector is that it must contain a unique combination of: IP address bindings, port-number assignments, and the remote IP address ranges. One reason of creating extra receive connectors is that particular sources require authentication.
How are you are going to plan for MX record with multiple inbound routing points? If you configure MX records with different priorities, then the SMTP servers with the lowest priority MX record references are contacted first for all inbound messages. MX records with higher priorities are only referenced when the first SMTP server is not available.
Here is a free tool to monitor your Exchange Server. Download and install the utility, then inspect your mail queues, monitor the Exchange server's memory, confirm there is enough disk space, and check the CPU utilization.
This is the real deal - there is no catch. SolarWinds provides this fully-functioning freebie, as part of their commitment to supporting the network management community.
In Windows Server 2008, the Telnet Client is disabled by default. Therefore you need to enable it by:
Using Telnet in Exchange Server 2010
Telnet is a marvellous command for basic SMTP troubleshooting.
There are two tricks to using telnet in this situation:
Launch a cmd or PowerShell session
Hopefully you get a reply such as:
Type: Quit. This will exit Telnet.
More Info Testing SMTP with Telnet