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Email Loopback Monitoring


Email Delivery Service level Compliance

Topper Email Loopback Testing confirms that Email servers running Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, and SMTP are sending and receiving email in a rapid manner. Also called Email Route Delivery Testing, Topper supports Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000, Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007, Exchange 2010, Notes Domino 6, Notes Domino 7, Notes Domino 8, and Notes Domino 9 as well as all SMTP server implementations.

Proactively Timing Email Delivery At Regular Intervals

Topper expects the Email test to go to the remote server and elicit a response, e.g. confirmation of delivery, an agent set up to auto-forward, etc. You set the thresholds in time when you want to raise an email testing alarm from Warning to Moderate Alarm to Major Alarm and the staff that should be immediately notified.

24 by 7 Email Loopback Testinging confirms that email is being delivered. If something breaks, whether hardware, software, queues, services, appliances, filters, carriers, and providers, the email loopback is interrupted and an alarm is raised and support staff notified.

Straightforward Star Topology for Email Service Level Delivery Compliance Monitoring

Electronic Mail Delivery Service Level MonitorThe above approach is very often expanded to include originating tests from multiple sites, i.e. multiple Exchange, Notes, and SMTP Servers, and picking up the tests from multiple sites, i.e. Exchange, Notes, Pop3, and Imap4 Servers. It is hardly more complicated than what you see above as Topper is quite easy to set up. And once you set it, you can let Topper do it's work as a loyal guardian of the messaging routes it is monitoring.

Unobtrusive Email Delivery Stats with No Negligible Overhead

Monitor Exchange, Lotus Notes Mail, and IP-based SMTP/POP3/IMAP4 email servers and routing using Topper's award-winning email monitoring. Real emails sent to remote email servers and the deliver is timed. These email delivery times are recorded for alarming and reporting purposes. The delivery time is recorded under the Elapsed column as hh:mm:ss. The times seen below are representative of the normal functioning of most modern email systems with delivery times taking hardly but a few seconds. You set the time thresholds and if any email tests are delayed, then selected network personnel are immediately notified. Since 1992, Topper has been monitoring email networks of small to Fortune 100 Companies both domestically and internationally. Real emails sent through the production email system is the surest method of monitoring service levels. Email monitoring using this probing method reflects exactly what the users are seeing. If anything is broken: software, hardware, network, DNS, etc... Our email monitoring uncovers the delay!
Below we see email monitoring of of 15 servers in 15 cities. The time the 15 tests went out is the same 10:55 PM and 56 seconds. The delivery times are quite good - between 1 to 3 seconds.


Email Route Delivery Monitoring Via Test Emails and Loopback Techniques


Most email environments consist of a single technology set (Notes or Exchange or SMTP/POP3/IMAP4). Other networks often have multiple technologies with email gateways and email routers to connect them. Enterprise email monitoring sends probes throughout that network from one or more email servers to other remote email servers. These are real emails sent at regular consistent intervals. Also included are one or two tests to confirm that internet gateways are also functioning. There are several different ways to test your email routes and their delivery times. There are loop-back probes which go to the remote servers and return immediately. Loop-back tests can done with to any email system where a server rule to return-to-sender can be set up. This would include Novell GroupWise and the many IP-based email servers.

Other tests can be sent by Topper from one server and picked up by Topper at the remote site. In heterogeneous email environments, Topper's flexible email teasing can initiate probes from one environment, such as Exchange, and receive and record delivery to another environment such as Lotus Notes Mail. These are point-to-point tests which test gateways and routers between these environments. Topper can do this because it can attach to multiple email systems concurrently both sending and receiving. This gives you the flexibility to test any route on a 24 by 7 basis.

This flexibility can be used in many creative ways depending upon what your needs are. Most email monitoring use email test probes in a single Star Topology (one-to-many) where Topper sends out it's tests and receives responses from a single email account. These tests utilize the loop-back technique mentioned above. This approach can be extended into two or more sending and/or receiving points. It just means that Topper will use several concurrent email mailboxes to route tests to and from different email sub-nets in a multiple Star Topology (many-to-many). This can be as straightforward as one or more Exchange mailboxes positioned within different email sub-nets or as interesting as having Topper send into many SMTP gateways positioned throughout the enterprise and have the responses received at one or more different mailboxes. The point being that Topper flexibly perform round-the-clock confirmation that email delivery routes are flowing.

You can have many good and useful monitoring tools that detect specific problems. Delivery testing using test emails is at the highest level where the users are. Regardless of what condition the network is in, email probing gives you the user-view and the reporting statistics to demonstrate it.

Now there may be some who say that any statistics about delivery times must be based upon all of the actual emails or the delivery data is not valid. This view has it own problems as to what is a delivery and not simply a forward. (But let's not go there.) We do take seriously the statistical implications of our approach here. As a rule of thumb, in the statistical world, a random sample size of 30 is said to closely approximate the population it is taken from. In Topper we draw our daily statistics from samples sizes larger than that. And certainly Weekly and Monthly Email Service Level Reports with samples that as closely represent the actual total volume to emails as to have not a hair of daylight between the two results - and at a fraction of the effort and cost.

These statistics can be used report on service levels throughout the organization. The two most important metrics being: Service Level Percentage and Average Delivery Time. Service Level Percentage reports on the number of Topper email tests which met the current service level. That service level might be published as mail be delivered within 15 minutes. Topper would then simply tally up those email tests that exceeded that limit and subtract that from 100%. Average delivery time would be the average of all delivery tests. The reporting periods that seem most useful are: a Daily Report and a Monthly Report.

In addition to email probing, Performance Monitoring of Windows counters, services, and event logs will alarm on trouble spots. Performance Monitoring can target key areas such as MTA process, work queues, and remote connections. On the Notes side, some of the same counters are very important as well as the monitoring of Mail.Box, making sure that messages are not building up too high and alarming if that number reaches pre-defined thresholds.


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