Turning to a PAL when troubleshooting Exchange…

I recently found myself working with a customer to troubleshoot issues with their Exchange Servers. The servers were losing contact with each other periodically and then doing what Exchange is designed to do in this circumstance, failing databases over to other servers. Unfortunately, whilst I’m not going to go into the exact details here for reasons of confidentiality, it did completely underline my opinion (backed up by Microsoft’s Preferred Architecture for Exchange) that virtualised Exchange solutions using SAN storage are overly-complex and will cause issues at some point…

After going through the basics (are all the servers patched up to date, including consistent BIOS and firmware for all disks, controllers, NICs, etc.; has anti-virus software been disabled on the servers, especially host intrusion protection features; is the virtual infrastructure correctly configured, especially virtual networks; are there any tell-tale issues in the event logs?), I contacted my former colleague, Fujitsu Distinguished Engineer and Exchange Master, Nick Parlow (who fixes people’s broken Exchange solutions for a living).  Nick gave me some very useful advice for troubleshooting Exchange that I’m going to share here…

A few more points that might be useful:

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