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Outgoing email is being delayed with increasing frequency

I'm sysadmin of a small (9 user) domain running Windows 2003 Small Business Server (SBS).  Email is handled by Exchange.  Server is 3GHz, 4GB RAM, RAID5, etc.  Internet connection is broadband.

Our incoming and outgoing email has been operating without any significant problems for over 2 years.  Suddenly, about a week or so ago, we started receiving <delayed> and < not delivered> messages around 24-48 hours after an email message is sent out.  One user, in particular, is having most of her outgoing messages undelivered.  Some other users have occasional undelivered messages, and some are having no problem at all.

We are running Norton Corp Anti-Virus v10, which scans all outgoing messages, so delays and rejections from virus scanners are unlikely (though possible).

How would I go about tracking down the source of the problems?

Thanks,

Phil
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wienerp
Asked:
wienerp
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1 Solution
 
SembeeCommented:
What does the NDR say?
That is the first thing to look at.

DNS might be the cause.
Reverse DNS, server announcement etc.

Put your domain in to dnsreport.com and see whether it throws any errors.

Simon.
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wienerpAuthor Commented:
The NRS says:

Final-Recipient: rfs822;<recipient's email address>
Action:  delayed
Status: 4.4.7
Will-Retry-Until:  (date/time is approx 24 hrs later than NDR)
X-Display-Name:  <recipient's email address>

The status code of 4.4.7 seems to indicates a timeout problem with the recipient's server.  However, there are too many different recipients, including 2 to my own email accounts which should not timeout.  

I'm not very familiar with Exchange, as it was set up on the domain controller when WinSBS2003 Server was set up, and has been trouble-free for at least the past 2 years.  I'll try reversing the DNS order.  What is dnsreport.com, and how do I use it?

Thanks,

Philip
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SembeeCommented:
DNS Report is a web site.

http://www.dnsreport.com/ 

Enter your domain name - domain.com for example and it will run a series of tests.

You misunderstood what I said. Reverse DNS has nothing to do with your DNS server order - it is a setting made on the Internet where the internet can lookup your IP address and should get your server name back. Regular DNS looks up the name and returns the IP address.

Delay NDRs are next to useless. You need the final failure NDR.

Simon.
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wienerpAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the clarification, you meant Reverse DNS Zones.

I went to dnsreport.com and found one discrepancy.  There was one FAIL entry, indicating that our SOA MINIMUM TTL is 0 seconds, although it is set to 1 hr (I just verified this, and in fact changed it to 2 hrs, per the dnsreport.com recommendation of 1-3 hrs).

Unfortunately the users have deleted all of the emails containing NDR messages.  I'll have them send some more emails and get the failure NDRs to me.

Thanks,

Phil
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SembeeCommented:
That value wouldn't have caused any problems, so now it is matter of waiting for the NDRs to find out more.
If that was truly the only error it threw up, then you have done very well.

Simon.
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wienerpAuthor Commented:
Problem is repaired - it was at the recipient's end.  Our exchange server sends outgoing mail to our web host, which it turns out, was hanging on to the messages and not passing them on down the pipe.  I'm not quite certain why, but when we went to the web-host's msil server we found all of the messages waiting there.  We deleted one email (that appears to have been clogging the artery so to speak) and whoosh, the rest were released and flooded out to their destinations - successfully received.

I'm going to have to speak with our web-host (SBCBusiness) about this, to find out exactly what happened and why.

Thanks to all of you, for your thoughts and ideas.

Regards,

Phil
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SembeeCommented:
Don't forget to close the question.
If you don't want to award the points, then post in the Support TA (top right corner) with a link to the question and your reasons for not awarding points and the moderators will do the rest.

Simon.
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wienerpAuthor Commented:
PostScript:  This was a false fix, but it's repaired now.  I want to share the fix with you.

A few minutes after the pipeline appeared to have been opened, incoming mail stopped again and outgoing mail was erratic.  We installed a realtime blacklist (RBL) but still no email traffic.

I then noticed that Symantec Email Security had recently expired and thought that was the problem, in that we were being attacked by viruses (viri?).  (The previous tech had set notifications to go to "administrator" but nobody was monitoring the administrator inbox, only their own inboxes).  So we renewed SES along with an upgrade from v4 to v5, but still no email, however SES didn't seem quite right, so we disabled it and VOILA! email traffic flooded in and out, as it was being held up at the Exchange by SES.  

Now we have to find out why SES was blocking message traffic - but that will be another story.

Thanks for all your suggestions,

Phil
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CetusMODCommented:
PAQed with points refunded (125)

CetusMOD
Community Support Moderator
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