Once upon a time, when Exchange Server administrators needed to stress test Exchange Server to see how well it...
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performed under the load of a given number of MAPI clients (read: Microsoft Outlook users), they used a Microsoft application called LoadSim (or Load Simulator). That tool has just been replaced with the final version of a whole new program called the Exchange Load Generator, which is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions.
Just like with its predecessor, you run Exchange Load Generator on a number of different client computers to simulate an adjustable level of activity. The idea is to use live activity statistics to get an idea of what load the Exchange server in question can handle -- by stress testing it remotely, across the network, and by actually making requests to messages in a "live" mail store.
The Exchange Load Generator is one of a number of tools that's used to test Exchange Server. Another is the Exchange Server Stress and Performance Tool, which is designed to simulate extremely high-load stresses. It does not simulate specific user activity though; the Exchange Load Generator is more for that purpose.
Several things should be kept in mind when using the Exchange Load Generator to stress test Exchange Server:
- In order to run Exchange Load Generator, you'll need to have Exchange Server's Client Management tools installed on the machine that generates the load.
- If you plan on using a battery of machines to perform testing, you may be best served by creating a system image or using a push install to make the software available on all test machines simultaneously.
- The Exchange Load Generator should not be used on a network segment that has any connection to a production environment -- you don't want to create network traffic that might interfere with a real Exchange server.
- Finally, you should always run Exchange Load Generator with user credentials that have permission to manage Exchange Server recipients. For the sake of security, do not use your main Exchange administrator account; create an account specifically for testing that doesn't have other privileges.
About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.
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