Exchange Server 2007 Management and Maintenance Practices : Prioritizing and Scheduling Maintenance Best Practices (part 1) - Daily Maintenance

10/2/2014 9:32:54 PM
Exchange 2007 is a very efficient messaging system. However, as mailboxes and public folders are used, there is always the possibility of the logical corruption of data contained within the databases. It is important to implement a maintenance plan and schedule to minimize the impact that database corruption will have on the overall messaging system.

This section focuses on tasks that should be performed regularly—on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly schedule. Besides ensuring optimum health for an organization, following these best practices will have the additional benefit of ensuring that administrators are well informed about the status of their messaging environment.


Administrators should thoroughly document the Exchange Server 2007 messaging environment configuration and keep it up to date. In addition, a change log should be implemented that is used to document changes and maintenance procedures for the environment. This change log should be meticulously maintained.

1. Daily Maintenance

Daily maintenance routines require the most frequent attention of an Exchange administrator. However, these tasks should not take a significant amount of time to perform.

Verify the Online Backup

One of the key differences between disaster and disaster recovery is the ability for an organization to resort to backups of their environment if the need arises. Considering the potential impact to an environment if the data backed up is not recoverable, it is amazing to see how often backup processes are ignored. Many organizations implement a “set it and forget it” attitude, often relying on nontechnical administrative personnel to simply “swap tapes” on a daily basis.

Whatever method is used to back up an Exchange environment, daily confirmation of the success of the task should be mandatory. Although the actual verification process will vary based on the backup solution being utilized, the general concept remains the same. Review the backup program’s log file to determine whether the backup has successfully completed. If there are errors reported or the backup job set does not complete successfully, identify the cause of the error and take the appropriate action to resolve the problem.

Some best practices to keep in mind when backing up an Exchange environment are as follows:

  • Include System State data to protect against system failure.

  • Keep note of how long the backup process is taking to complete. This time should match any service level agreements that might be in place.

  • Determine the start and finish times of the backup process. Attempt to configure the environment so that the backup process completes before the nightly maintenance schedule begins.

  • Verify that transaction logs are successfully truncated upon completion of the backup.

Check Free Disk Space

All volumes that Exchange Server 2007 resides on (Exchange system files, databases, transaction logs, and so forth) should be checked on a daily basis to ensure that ample free space is available. If the volume or partition runs out of disk space, no more information can be written to the disk, which causes Exchange to stop the Exchange services. This can also result in lost data and the corruption of messaging databases.

Although it is possible to perform this process manually, it is easily overlooked when “hot” issues arise. As a best practice, administrators can utilize Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) or a third-party product to alert administrators if free space dips below a certain threshold.

For organizations without the resources to implement such products, the process can be accomplished utilizing scripting technologies, with an email or network alert being generated when the free space falls below the designated threshold.

Review Message Queues

Message queues should be checked daily to ensure that the mail flow in the organization is not experiencing difficulties. The Queue Viewer in the Exchange Management Console toolbox can be accomplished for this task.

If messages are found stuck in the queue, administrators can utilize the Message Tracking and Mail Flow Troubleshooter to determine the cause.

Check Event Viewer Logs

On Exchange Server 2007 servers, the application log within the Event Viewer should be reviewed daily for any Warning or Error level messages. Although some error messages might lead directly to a problem on the server, some might be symptomatic of other issues in the environment. Either way, it is best to evaluate and resolve these errors as soon as possible.

Filtering for these event types can assist with determining if any have occurred within the last 24 hours.

Alternatively, if a systems or operational management solution (such as Microsoft Operations Manager) is utilized, this process can be automated, with email or network notifications sent as soon as the error is generated.

  •  Exchange Server 2007 Management and Maintenance Practices : Best Practices for Performiming Database Maintenance (part 2) - Offline Database Maintenance
  •  Exchange Server 2007 Management and Maintenance Practices : Best Practices for Performiming Database Maintenanceng (part 1) - Automatic Database Maintenance
  •  Exchange Server 2007 Management and Maintenance Practices : Auditing the Environment (part 3) - Message Tracking
  •  Exchange Server 2007 Management and Maintenance Practices : Auditing the Environment (part 2) - SMTP Logging
  •  Exchange Server 2007 Management and Maintenance Practices : Auditing the Environment (part 1) - Audit Logging - Enabling Event Auditing , Viewing the Security Logs
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