The Exchange Logon Simulator Test

This test emulates a user logging into an Exchange server and accessing a mailbox. In the process, the test reports the total duration of the simulation, time taken for the login, and the time taken for accessing the mailbox. Additionally, the test also captures failures (if any) at each step of the simulation. Using the real-time and detailed insights provided by this test, Exchange administrators can proactively detect logon slowness/failures and precisely pinpoint when the slowness/failure occurred - is it when accessing the web interface? during login authentication? or during mailbox access? This way, Exchange administrators are enabled to isolate the probable pain-points of the Exchange infrastructure, even before users complain.

Target of the test : Exchange 2013/2016 server

Agent deploying the test : An external agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for every email ID configured for monitoring

Configurable parameters for the test

  1. TEST PERIOD - How often should the test be executed. The default is 15 minutes.

    Note:

    Some parameter changes can sometimes impact the simulation duration. Most often, this can happen in the following situations:

    • If multiple mailboxes are configured for monitoring against Email id: In this case, the test will repeat the entire sequence of steps for every configured email ID - i.e., after a mailbox is accessed, the test will logoff and then log in again to attempt opening another mailbox. This can increase the duration of the simulation.
    • If the value of the Launch Timeout, web logon delay, and/or the Web Logoff Delay parameters of the test is significantly increased: If this is done, then the test will wait that much longer for the mailbox access or logoff to happen, thereby increasing simulation duration.

    Sometimes, these changes can cause the simulation to take more time than the configured Test Period.

  2. If this happens, the test will fail after logging an error to that effect in the <EG_AGENT_INSTALL_DIR>\agent\error_log file. To avoid this, it would be good practice to relook at the TEST PERIOD configuration every time one of the parameters mentioned above is modified, and increase it if required.

  1. Host - The host for which the test is to be configured
  2. Port - Refers to the port used by the Exchange server
  3. Exchange Server Type - Indicate how the test should access the Exchange server. If the test should access Exchange via the Outlook Web Access (OWA) interface, then select the MS Exchange option from this drop-down. If the test should access Exchange via the Office 365 portal, then pick the Office365 option from this drop-down. If the Office365 option is chosen, then make sure that the default start page of the Office 365 portal is set to Mail for every email ID that you configure for this test. The steps for achieving this are detailed in Configuring the Default Start Page for Office 365. Once this is done, make sure you clear the browser history.
  4. Exchange site url - Specify the URL for connecting to Exchange server. You can provide an HTTP or an HTTPS URL here.
  5. Email ID - To know how to configure the email IDs for the simulation, refer to How to Configure Email IDs for Monitoring?.
  6. Console Username - The Logon Simulator Agent needs to run in the account of a user who has local administrator rights on the simulation end point - i.e., the system on which the agent has been installed. Specify the name of this user here. This user should also be logged in at all times for the simulator to run continuously.
  7. console domain - Specify the domain to which the user configured against CONSOLE USERNAME belongs.
  8. launch timeout - By default, this parameter is set to 90 seconds. This implies that the simulator will wait for a maximum of 90 seconds (by default) for a configured mailbox to open. If the mailbox cannot be opened even after the 90 seconds have elapsed, then the simulation will be automatically terminated, and the simulator will report that the mailbox is unavailable. Accordingly, the Inbox availability measure for that email ID will report the value 0, and no Inbox folder access duration will be reported for the same.

    In some environments, it may be normal for some mailboxes to take longer than the rest to open. In such environments, you can instruct the simulator to wait longer for each mailbox to open, by increasing the launch timeout. The high time out setting for mailbox access ensures that the simulator captures and reports only genuine failures, and does not treat an access delay as a failure.

  9. web logoN delay - By default, this parameter is set to 30 seconds. This implies that the test will wait for a maximum of 30 seconds (by default) to login to the Exchange server. If the login does not happen even after the 30 seconds have elapsed, then the simulation will be automatically terminated, and the simulator will mark the login attempt as 'failed'. A login duration will hence not be computed or reported in this case.

    In some environments, even during normal operation, login may take longer. In such environments, you can instruct the simulator to wait longer for the login to occur, by increasing the web logon delay. The high time out setting for login ensures that the simulator waits for the login to complete and captures and reports the accurate login duration.

  1. web logoFF delay - By default, this parameter is set to 30 seconds. This implies that the test will wait for a maximum of 30 seconds (by default) after each mailbox access, for the logoff to occur. If the logoff does not happen even after 30 seconds, then the simulation will be automatically terminated, and the simulator will mark the logoff attempt as 'failed'. A logoff duration will hence not be computed or reported in this case.

    In some environments, even during normal operation, logoff may take longer. In such environments, you can instruct the simulator to wait longer for the logoff to occur, by increasing the web logoff delay. The high time out setting for logoff ensures that the simulator waits for the log off to complete and captures and reports the accurate logoff duration.

  2. DD FREQUENCY - Refers to the frequency with which detailed diagnosis measures are to be generated for this test. The default is 1:1. This indicates that, by default, detailed measures will be generated every time this test runs, and also every time the test detects a problem. You can modify this frequency, if you so desire. Also, if you intend to disable the detailed diagnosis capability for this test, you can do so by specifying none against dd frequency.
  3. DETAILED DIAGNOSIS -To make diagnosis more efficient and accurate, the eG Enterprise suite embeds an optional detailed diagnostic capability. With this capability, the eG agents can be configured to run detailed, more elaborate tests as and when specific problems are detected. To enable the detailed diagnosis capability of this test for a particular server, choose the On option. To disable the capability, click on the Off option.

    The option to selectively enable/disable the detailed diagnosis capability will be available only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

    • The eG manager license should allow the detailed diagnosis capability
    • Both the normal and abnormal frequencies configured for the detailed diagnosis measures should not be 0.

Measurements made by the test

 

Figure 1 : The measures reported by the Exchange Logon Simulator test

Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Logon availability:

Indicates whether/not the simulator logged into the Exchange server successfully, when attempting to access this mailbox.

Percent

The value 100 for this measure indicates that logon was successful, and the value 0 indicates that logon failed.

If this measure reports the value 0, then no other measures will be reported for that mailbox.

You can also use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to view the output of the simulation script, scrutinize it, and isolate the failure and problem points of the Exchange infrastructure at first glance.

Logon duration:

Indicates the time taken by the simulator to login to the Exchange server (via the OWA interface or Office365 portal), when attempting to access this mailbox.

Secs

If the Total simulation duration for a mailbox exceeds its threshold, compare the value of this measure with that of the other duration values reported by the test to know where the bottleneck lies - in login? or mailbox access? or log out?

If the comparison reveals a bottleneck at login, then use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to view the output of the simulation script. This will point you to the exact login step where the delay/failure occurred - was it when launching the chrome browser? was it because the login form took too long to open? or was it due to a delay in authentication?

Inbox folder availability:

Indicates whether/not this mailbox was successfully opened.

Percent

The value 100 for this measure indicates that the mailbox was successfully opened, and the value 0 indicates that access failed.

Inbox folder access duration:

Indicates the time taken for this mailbox to open.

Secs

If the Total simulation duration for a mailbox exceeds its threshold, compare the value of this measure with that of the other duration values reported by the test to know where the bottleneck lies - in login? or mailbox access? or log out?

If the comparison reveals a bottleneck at login, then use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to view the output of the simulation script. This will point you to the exact login step where the delay/failure occurred - was it when launching the chrome browser? was it because the login form took too long to open? or was it due to a delay in authentication?

Logoff duration:

Indicates the time taken by the simulator to log out of the OWA interface or Office 365 portal, while simulating a user access to this mailbox.

Secs

If the Total simulation duration for a mailbox exceeds its threshold, compare the value of this measure with that of the other duration values reported by the test to know where the bottleneck lies - in login? or mailbox access? or log out?

Total simulation duration:

Indicates the total time taken by the simulator to simulate a user access to this mailbox.

Secs

An abnormally high value for this measure could indicate a logon slowness. In such a case, compare the value of all the duration values reported by the test to know where the bottleneck lies - in login authentication? application enumera in login? or mailbox access? or log out?

If the comparison reveals a bottleneck at login, then use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to view the output of the simulation script. This will point you to the exact login step where the delay/failure occurred - was it when launching the chrome browser? was it because the login form took too long to open? or was it due to a delay in authentication?

Use the detailed diagnosis of the Logon availability measure to view the output of the simulation script, scrutinize it, and isolate the failure and problem points of the Exchange infrastructure in a single glance. A summary of the simulation is also provided as part of the detailed diagnostics. This includes the Site URL configured for monitoring, the email ID configured for the simulation, and the exact time at which the simulated user logged into the site.

Figure 2 : The detailed diagnosis of the Logon availability measure