The Exchange management pack includes a mail flow check, both between internal mail server and cross organization. With the management pack we get good monitoring of all the Exchange components and also that mail servers can communicate with each other. The challenge I see sometimes is that you want to verify e-mail from a client to a client, trough all mail server, spam filters, firewalls and Internet connections. Not only between mail servers, but between clients.
One way is with Opalis. Opalis can integrate with Operations Manager 2007 R2 and there is a community integration pack for Exchange. There are some legacy exchange objects in Opalis too, but you don’t want to use legacy objects. They are there only for backwards compatibility with old Opalis versions. This legacy category is hidden by default in the console, this is all so that new customers would refrain from trying those activities in fresh work flows. More info about legacy objects here.
The Exchange Opalis Extension can be downloaded here. This integration pack is built on Exchange Web Services and is compatible with Exchange 2007 SP1, Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2010 SP1. Please note that this integration pack is not from Microsoft and is not support and tested in the same way as integration packs included in the product.
In this example the policy sends a e-mail every 15 minutes. Then it waits 5 minutes and checks if it has received a answer. The recipient of the e-mail should be a echo mailbox that simple sends a reply pack. If it has received a reply it will empty the inbox and report OK. If not it will generate an alert in Operations Manager.
- Every 15 minutes. Trigger the policy to run every 15 minutes
- Send Exchange mail. This sends a e-mail. The recipient needs to be a mailbox that simple sends a reply direct.
- Wait 5 minutes. There is a trigger delay on this link that waits five minutes, this is the time we give the mail environment to recive the reply
- Find mail. This object checks in the inbox for a new e-mail from the echo mailbox. There is always a risk some other mail has been received, so the object makes sure it has the correct subject and from address
- Compare Values. This object verifies that the “Find mail” object did find a e-mail. If not it will generate an alert in Operations Manager as there is something not working in the mail flow. If there is a e-mail it will return true and the work flow will move on
- Empty Inbox Folder. We don’t want to fill up this test mailbox, therefor we clear the inbox
- Write OK to eventlog. We write a simple OK to the event log. Always good with a note that we ran the policy and it was working
This policy will send a e-mail as a client would have, to a e-mail address somewhere on the Internet. The recipient will reply instant and the policy will verify there is a reply received within five minutes. The really nice thing with a mail flow check like this is that you verify everything between the recipient mailbox and your “Opalis client” mailbox. When this policy returns “OK” we know the external mail flow is really working.