Tuning Exchange Server 2003 overview

Author Scott Schnoll provides an overview of Exchange Server performance tuning and explains why the Performance Optimizer was removed from Exchange 2003.

For the most part, Exchange 2003 is self-tuning. In Exchange 5.5 and earlier versions, Exchange shipped with a

wizard-based tool called the Performance Optimizer. An administrator would launch this tool and answer a series of questions about the server's role, the number and type of users on the server, and what disks were available for use by Exchange. Behind the scenes, the Performance Optimizer would examine available resources and, based on all of this gathered information, it would make some adjustments to the Exchange configuration to tune Exchange properly for each server.

You are reading tip #1 from "7 tips in 7 minutes: Exchange Server 2003 tips and tricks," excerpted from Chapter 10 of the book "Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Distilled," by Scott Schnoll, copyright 2004, published by Addison-Wesley Professional.
The Performance Optimizer could be used to move databases and transaction log files to different (presumably faster) disks, and it could also be used to limit the amount of memory that the information store (STORE.EXE) could consume. The Performance Optimizer was removed from Exchange starting with Exchange 2000, and it remains missing from Exchange 2003. It was removed because Exchange 2000 (and now Exchange 2003) was made to be self-tuning. If you need to move the databases and transaction logs, that functionality is now found in ESM; however, if you want to limit the amount of memory used by Exchange, you are out of luck—there is no longer any supported way to do this.

There are, however, plenty of opportunities to tune and/or control Exchange's behavior. Some of these settings have already been discussed in previous chapters. For example, in Chapter 2, I wrote about using some new BOOT.INI switches to tune memory allocation on your Exchange server. Chapter 4 covered how to tune ESE buffers, and in Chapter 9, I showed you how to use OWA spell-check throttling to prevent spell-check requests from overwhelming your Exchange server. In this chapter, I'll continue down that path with various settings and other practices you can employ to change and tune how Exchange behaves.

Generally speaking, the goal of performance tuning is to decrease server response time while supporting more users. Most of the tuning and performance boosts you can get from Exchange come from choosing appropriately sized hardware and from employing best practices for the design and deployment of Exchange. Because this was covered in Chapter 2, I won't repeat that information here. Instead, we'll focus on tuning other areas of Exchange. Because many readers are already using Exchange 2000, I'll start by reviewing Exchange 2000 tuning parameters that are no longer necessary in Exchange 2003.


7 tips in 7 minutes: Exchange Server 2003 tips and tricks

 Home: Introduction
 Tip 1: Tuning Exchange Server 2003 overview
 Tip 2: Exchange 2000 vs. Exchange 2003 tuning parameters
 Tip 3: Exchange 2003 tuning parameters -- Outlook Web Access
 Tip 4: Exchange 2003 tuning parameters -- Microsoft Outlook
 Tip 5: Exchange 2003 tuning parameters -- Exchange Server
 Tip 6: Must-have Exchange Server 2003 tools
 Tip 7: Exchange Server administration resources and links

 Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Distilled This chapter excerpt from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Distilled by Scott Schnoll, is printed with permission from Addison-Wesley Professional, copyright 2004.

Click here for the chapter download or purchase the book here.

This was first published in June 2007

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