What's in the Tuning Toolbox?
Two tools can help you tune your server, reduce response time, and make your operation more efficient:
Performance MonitorThis utility ships with Windows 2000 Server and provides several graphical views on Exchange and the way that it utilizes hardware resources. During installation of the Exchange Administrator program, predefined monitors are added to the desktop window.
Load SimulatorThis program ships on the Exchange 2000 Resource Kit and generates the load of hundreds of virtual clients from one physical computer. You can specify the type of user, such as light (handling perhaps 10 messages a day) or too heavy (handling more than 50 messages plus attachments). Load Simulator determines the possible response time given your current server hardware and software configuration.
Using the Performance Monitor
An Exchange system should be structured so that its resources are used efficiently and distributed fairly among the users. Performance Monitor (PerfMon) monitors specific system resources so that you can meet your system structure goals.
Often, you might be motivated to solve all problems the instant they appear. In fact, you might find your motivation dramatically increasing when users loudly display their unhappiness. To be prepared for such problems, you should review PerfMon before moving too quickly in one direction. You can do that by using the set of overview counters presented later in this article. These counters keep you from plunging too quickly and deeply into a dilemma, only to discover that you've missed the problem. When your system is under a load that you want to monitor, bring up all the overview counters in PerfMon. Then you can determine which resource is being overworked.
PerfMon is powerful enough to be used as a console that runs 24 hours a day and includes thresholds for the various key counters. If a threshold is broken, the monitor might send a net broadcast or spawn a pager process to let an administrator know that attention is needed. This type of scenario helps to proactively solve problems before they affect end users too greatly.
The following sections are presented in order of their influence on Exchange's performance. Within each section, each counter is listed in the format Object: Counter. This will help you locate the particular counter within the Performance Monitor.
You might be wondering what a good figure is for Server: Bytes Total/Sec or for MSExchangeMTA: Messages/Sec. The truth is that there is no simple answer because each network has far too many variables.
Next, you might wonder what the maximum values are. Again, there are no simple answers. For example, how could you find out how fast your car can go? You can probably discover this by driving as fast as possible. But notice all the variables that will affect your maximum speed. Do you test drive the car up or down a hill, at sea level, or at 10,000 feet above sea level? Whether you test-drive on a cold or a hot day also will affect the result. For example, cold air is denser and provides a performance boost, especially for turbo and supercharged engines.
The best approach is to drive your system through many conditions until you get a feel for its normal ranges or personality. To assist you in this process, Load Simulator creates a synthetic load of hundreds of users on your system. While running your simulation, crank up PerfMon to monitor the load.