Exchange Store Test

A mailbox database in the Exchange Store is said to be in good health if:

  • The mailbox database processes RPC requests from clients quickly;
  • The message load on the mailbox database is commensurate to its processing ability;
  • The mailbox database does not consist of any quarantined mailboxes
  • The mailbox database is well-maintained by configuring maintenance schedules

This implies that a slowdown in processing RPC requests, a delay in email delivery/submission, or one/more corrupted mailboxes in the database, can severely hamper mailbox database health. This in turn can significantly impact the user experience with the mailbox server. If this is to be avoided, administrators should keep a watchful eye on all aspects of performance of every mailbox database on the Exchange server, so that they can proactively capture current/potential failures/delays. This is where the Exchange Store test helps. For every mailbox database on the Exchange server, this test measures the load on the database, the processing ability of the database, and the overall health and upkeep of the database. In the process, the test accurately pinpoints those mailbox databases where something is wrong and provides pointers to what could be wrong!

Target of the test : A Microsoft Exchange 2013/2016 server

Agent deploying the test : An internal agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for each mailbox database

Configurable parameters for the test
  1. Test period - How often should the test be executed
  2. Host - The host for which the test is to be configured.
  3. port – The port at which the host listens.
  4. xchgextensionshellpath - The Exchange Management Shell is a command-line management interface, built on Windows PowerShell v2, which enables you to administer every part of the Microsoft Exchange Server. This test uses the Exchange management shell to run scripts and collect the desired performance metrics from the Exchange server. To enable the test to load the Exchange management shell snap-in (exshell.psc1) for script execution, you need to specify the full path to the Exchange management shell in the XCHGEXTENSIONSHELLPATH text box. For instance, your specification can be, c:\progra~1\micros~1\exchan~1\v14\bin\exshell.psc1.
  5. 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
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Percentage of RPC requests:

Indicates the percent of MAPI RPCs that are currently in progress in this database as compared to the maximum allowed. 

Percent

If the value of this measure keeps growing close to 100% at a rapid pace, it could indicate increased RPC load or a bottleneck in one or more resources. If the value touches 100%, then the mailbox database will deny new connections.

To resolve this problem, determine the resources that are creating a bottleneck, and then try to mitigate the problem. Possible bottlenecks are disk reads or writes, processor time, available memory, and network configuration.

Active mailboxes:

Indicates the number of active mailboxes in this database.

Number

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know the names of the active mailboxes and the number of items in each mailbox.

Database maintenance rate:

Indicates the rate at which database level maintenances are processed by this database.

Maintenances/Sec

A high value is desired for this measure.  Compare the value of this measure across databases to know which database is processing database-level maintenance tasks slowly.

Full-refresh rate of lazy indexes:

Indicates the number of lazy indexes being full refreshed per second by this database.

Refresh/Sec

 

Incremental refresh rate of lazy indexes:

Indicates the number of lazy indexes being incrementally refreshed per second by this database.

Refresh/Sec

 

Invalidated lazy indexes:

Indicates the rate at which lazy indexes are being invalidated by this database due to the version incompatibility.

Invalidation/Sec

A low value is desired for this measure.

Lazy indexes creation rate:

Indicates the rate at which this database creates lazy indexes.

Created/Sec

 

Lazy indexes deletion rate:

Indicates the rate at which this database deletes lazy indexes.

Deleted/Sec

 

Mailbox maintenance items:

Indicates the number of mailbox maintenance items in this database.

Number

 

Mailbox maintenance rate:

Indicates the rate at which this database processes mailbox level maintenances.

Maintenances/Sec

A high value is desired for this measure. Compare the value of this measure across databases to know which database is processing mailbox-level maintenance tasks slowly.

Mailboxes with maintenance items:

Indicates the number of mailboxes with maintenance items.

Number

 

Message delivery rate:

Indicates the number of messages delivered to this database per second.

Msgs/Sec

 

Message submission rate:

Indicates the rate at which messages were submitted by this database for delivery.

Msgs/Sec

Ideally, the value of this measure should be high. Compare the value of this measure across databases to in which database mail delivery is bottlenecked.

Active background tasks:

Indicates the number of background tasks currently executing in this database.

Number

 

Active WLM tables under maintenance:

Indicates the number of active WLM LogicalIndex maintenance tables under maintenance in this database.

Number

 

Mailboxes with WLM tables under maintenance:

Indicates the number of mailboxes in this database that are marked for WLM LogicalIndex maintenance table maintenance.

Number

 

Currently processing maintenance tasks:

Indicates the number of maintenance tasks that are currently processed by this database.

Number

This is a good indicator of the maintenance workload on the database.

Maintenance tasks scheduled:

Indicates the number of LogicalIndex maintenance tasks scheduled for this database.

Number

This is a good indicator of the potential maintenance workload on the database.

Rate of property promoted messages:

Indicates the rate at which properties were promoted for messages in this database.

Messages/Sec

Property promotion refers to the process of extracting values from properties of a message and writing those values to corresponding columns on the database where the document is stored. When the message property changes, the changes can be automatically written back to the database.

Property promotions rate:

Indicates the rate at notepwhich this database promoted message properties.

Promotions/Sec

Ideally, the value of this measure should be high. A low value is indicative of a bottleneck when performing property promotions.

Quarantined mailboxes:

Indicates the number of mailboxes in this database that are quarantined.

Number

Ideally, the value of this measure should be 0. A non-zero value is indicative of a quarantined mailbox in the database.

Quarantining is designed to detect clients that are taking up too much of the Store’s attention because something is going wrong. MAPI clients like Outlook use multiple threads within the Store process when they connect to mailboxes. If one or more of these threads “freeze” for some reason, they can cause the Store to consume more CPU than it should in an attempt to service the thread. The problem might be caused by corrupt mailbox data or a software bug in either the client or Store process or some other reason such as network failure. In any case, the freezing of threads or their abnormal termination is bad news!

Quarantining is performed by a background thread that runs every two hours within the Store to check the number of crashes experienced by mailboxes. If a mailbox exceeds the crash threshold it is deemed to be a threat to the overall stability of the Store and is therefore put into quarantine.

Compare the value of this measure across databases to know which database has the maximum number of quarantined mailboxes. If this value is very high, it could be because a very small crash threshold has been set for that database. If so, you may want to change this crash threshold, so that fewer mailboxes are quarantined.

RPC average latency:

Indicates the amount of time spent by this database in RPC request processing.

Secs

This value should be below 0.05 seconds at all times. A slowdown in RPC packet processing can adversely impact the user experience.

RPC operations rate:

Indicates the rate at which this database processes RPC operations.

Operations/Sec

Generally, spikes in RPC requests that do not increase RPC operations rate indicate that there are bottlenecks preventing the store from fulfilling the requests in a timely manner. It is relatively simple to identify where the bottlenecks are occurring with regards to RPC requests and RPC operations rate. If the client experiences delays, but the RPC requests are zero and the RPC operations rate is low, the performance problem is happening before Exchange processes the requests (that is, before the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service actually gets the incoming requests). All other combinations point to a problem either while Exchange processes the requests or after Exchange processes those requests.

RPC packets rate:

Indicates the rate at which RPC packets are processed by this database.

Packets/Sec

A consistent drop in this value could indicate a slowdown in RPC request processing.

Pending pool RPC async notification calls:

Indicates the total number of async notification calls pending in all RPC context handle pools of this database.

Number

Async MAPI Notifications use Asynchronous RPC to receive notifications from the Exchange Server. This allows MAPI to park a request with the Exchange Server and not have to wait for the next remote operation to get notifications. 

Active RPC context handle pools:

Indicates the number of active RPC context handle pools of this database.

Number

 

RPC requests:

Indicates the number of MAPI RPC requests currently in progress in this database.

Number

This is a good indicator of the current RPC workload of the database.

The detailed diagnosis of the Active Mailboxes measure reveals the names of the active mailboxes on a particular mailbox database and the number of items in each mailbox.

Figure 9 : The detailed diagnosis of the Active mailboxes measure