These SolarWinds dashboards make the life of an Exchange Administrator so much easier.
- AppInsight for Exchange Overview
- Appreciate the AppInsight for Exchange Views
- Requirements for AppInsight for Exchange
- Watch the AppInsight for Exchange Video
SolarWinds statement: 'built by engineers for engineers' has always been a bold claim, but it really is true of their SAM AppInsight for Exchange. The proving ground for this technology has been SQL, and when all is said and done, a database is at the heart of the Exchange mailbox role server.
Under the covers it is PowerShell cmdlets that interrogate the data, and while amateurs soon master PowerShell for configuring simple Windows processes and services, creating PowerShell scripts for Exchange requires expertise. The AppInsight interfaces deals with all the hassle of writing code; furthermore, the end result displays the server and mailbox data in one of the most sophisticated dashboards you are ever likely to see.
The SolarWinds dashboard presents all the statistics that you would anticipate; for example servers with store performance details, mailbox quotas and replication data. Overviews such as aggregating mailbox data are impressive, and the ability to drill down to an individual's mailbox was easy.
I recommend you trawl the built-in 'Expert Knowledge' to discover useful features that you may not have thought of; I liked creating Alerts to tell users that not only are they about to reach their quota limit, but how many attachments they have, thus giving them a prompt to solve their own problem.
AppInsight for Exchange has many 'Details' views. If you are already familiar with SolarWinds SAM application, then these views are the equivalent of the Application Details. Here are the four views to concentrate on are:
- The AppInsight for Exchange Details view: (Overview).
- The Performance Counter Details View: (Unseen PowerShell scripts interrogate the counters)
- The Mailbox Details View: (The most useful display for Exchange troubleshooting).
- The Database Details View: (Current storage usage)
Note: AppInsight for Exchange is a component of SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM).
AppInsight for Exchange uses PowerShell scripts to automate routine data collection tasks, as a consequence you get a supply of Exchange performance metrics and alerts in the SAM dashboard(s). The benefit is you is that you can identify and diagnose Exchange related performance problems easily. I like to run through my checklists, volume usage, mailbox database size and transaction log size. Any problem, and I can drill into individual mailbox statistics.
The dashboard also allows us to see the top mailbox offenders, it's interesting to view historical mail usage patterns. If users have mobile devices, then you can check when they have been synching. The upshot of obtaining this user mailbox behavior could be to set up Alerts to prod users to take action when they are about to exceed their quotas.
Other projects for SolarWind's AppInsight for Exchange could involve creating alerts for replication status, failover and storage. Education establishments benefit from detecting and removing dormant accounts of students who have long since left the organization.
- Database copy status
- Database file size
- Database cache sizeMailboxes processed/second
- DAG (Database Availability Group) details
- I/O (Input / Output) Database latency
- RPC (Remote Procedure Calls) requests & latency
- Users by messages sent and by quota used
- Connection count
- Exchange event logs
- Replication status
Install Exchange 2010 with PowerShell 2.0, or better still, employ Exchange 2013 with PowerShell 3.0.
As usual with Microsoft Windows servers, you need Local administrator permissions for installation and configuration. Additionally, in order to collect the information assign the user object to Exchange's Mailbox Search management role. For monitoring however, you don't need to be an administrator, just a member of the View-Only Organization Management group. Better still, download the SolarWinds software and then test AppInsight free for 30 days.
Watch SolarWinds' experts Lawrence Garvin and Patrick Hubbard explain how to get the most from the AppInsight module by showing you a selection of SAM dashboards.
Note: AppInsight for Exchange is one component of SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM).
Thwack Forum for Troubleshooting AppInsight
If you have any problems with AppInsight for Exchange, be it installation difficulties, permission denials, or configuration frustrations, then just post your question in the Thwack forum, and an expert from SolarWinds will answer your question.
Another reason for visiting the Thwack forum is to browse the newest Application Monitor templates that techies have added to the Thwack community web site. Register or Browse SolarWinds' Thwack forum.
AppInsight for SQL
Using SAM 6.0, and it's AppInsight technology, even greenhorn systems administrators can monitor intricate SQL database easily. As for experts, for them tasks that took days of recording traces can now produce the results in minutes. See my review of AppInsight for SQL and IIS.
Full Reviews of the SolarWinds Licensed Family of Applications
Here are Guy’s comprehensive evaluations, comments and recommendations for SolarWinds licensed products. Each application offers a 30 day trial of a fully functional program, so check out the download links provided.