Email has become the core of every organization. It is the primary source for communication that everybody turns to, regardless of the type of email server they are running. Who doesn’t have email??? When email is down, communication is down, resulting in lost productivity and potentially thousands to millions of lost dollars.
Microsoft Exchange Server is the most widely used on-premises enterprise email system today. When it works…it works great. But, when Exchange is not working correctly, it can be a nightmare to deal with.
For an Exchange administrator, dealing with Exchange issues can be challenging because there are so many variables when it comes to email. Having a user complain about email being “slow” can be the result of many different factors. It could be a network issue, a desktop client issue, or even a poorly performing Exchange Server. So many possibilities of what is wrong and 1 unhappy user.
Not only do issues arise in everyday working situations, but if you are preparing for a migration or an Exchange upgrade there are always “gotchas.” These are things that get overlooked until something breaks and then everybody is scrambling around to fix it and do damage control later. These are probably the most annoying to me because often times somebody else has run into the problem first. So, if I had known about the gotchas I could’ve been prepared.
I recently had the opportunity to present a webinar, “The Top Troubleshooting Issues Exchange Admins Face and How to Tackle Them.” One of the great things about the IT community is that it’s there for us to share our knowledge, so others can learn from our experiences. That’s what I hoped to share in this webinar—some tips on solving annoying problems, as well as providing some true tried lessons from managing Exchange myself. We discussed some of the challenges with Exchange migrations, mailbox management issues (client issues), and even discussed Office 365. You can view a recording of the Webinar here.
Since our time was limited, I could not answer all the questions that were asked during the webinar, so I wanted to take an opportunity to answer some of them here:
1. Is there a size limit on outlook 2010/exchange 2010? We had a laptop user with a 20GB mailbox with cache mode enabled who had an issue with his offline address book dying within a day of his cache being resynced - we saw it as an issue with him trying to view other users calendars.
This type of issue can be many things and could be a whole blog in itself so I will keep it short. Large mailboxes will create large OST files locally on the machine they are using and can become corrupt. If that is the case, then creating a new OST file may resolve your issue. When trying to view others calendars, you can try removing the calendar and re-adding the shared calendar again. Also double check calendar permissions!
2. Do you know the issue when installing EX2010 SP3 it fails at 'removing exchange files'? SP3 is needed for upgrading to EX2013.
There is a known issue for Exchange failing to remove setup files with SP3 when PowerShell script execution is defined in Group Policy. For more details on this issue use the Microsoft KB# 2810617 site.
3. Any other resources we should review for Exchange Best Practices &/or Monitoring Tips (Other than Thwack?)
The Microsoft TechNet site has Exchange Best Practices, as well as Monitoring tips that be helpful. There are also various Microsoft MVP sites that can be helpful as well, such as:
4. Any advice for having Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2010 coexist until migration is completed?
Coexistence periods can be a challenge to manage and is best if kept to a short period if possible. Microsoft provides some checklist and documentation that can help with coexistence which can be found here on their TechNet site.
5. Is it possible to add more than 10 shared mailboxes to outlook 2010 client?
Yes, it is possible to have more than 10 shared mailboxes. By default, Outlook 2010 & Outlook 2013 has a default limit of 10 mailboxes with a maximum supported of up to 9999 accounts. To configure outlook for more than the default limits, you will need to edit registry settings or apply a Group Policy.
6. Is there a way can we enable "On behalf of" for the shared mailbox, so the end user who receives the email knows who sends the email?
To enable send on behalf for a shared mailbox, you can configure delegates for the shared mailbox. You can also apply the send on behalf of setting under the mail flow settings in the mailbox account properties.
I had a great time participating in the webinar with Leon and hope our viewers were able to take some tips back with them to help within their Exchange environment. Exchange is the core of most businesses and Managing an Exchange environment can be challenging, I know that from personal experience. However, given the right tools by your side you can tame the beast and keep the nightmare events to a minimum.