How to Diagnose and Improve Outlook and IMAP Performance

Posted on 2007-10-15
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I am looking for ways to improve Outlook 2003 and IMAP performance and how to diagnose problems:

Hardware Software:
Clients: Outlook 2003 on Core2Duo boxes
Server: RHEL 4 IMAP4rev1 on Xeon Dual-core processors

1)  Checking mail will take up to 2-3 minutes sporadically on accounts with many mailboxes and/or large mailboxes (in excess of 2000 messages).
2) If checking mail (Send/Recieve) is ongoing and the user tries to use their mail for another purpose (i.e., move a message to another mailbox, Outlook locks up and rarely ever recovers.  Outlook process must be killed and restarted.

Note: None of these accounts are in excess of 2GB - size of PST file is not this issue.

Since the hardware is pretty powerful, I expect that something else is hindering performance.  I would love some tips or troublshooting techniques to improve this performance since IMAP is where I want my company to be on.

Question by:the_griz
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    by:Kerem ERSOY

    To test the speed of your IMAP server you might  setup a fresh Thunderbird installation and see how fast it is doing send / receive. IMAP is generally a better alternative for Outlok when you don't use Exchange Conenctor.

    With files of 2TB any system will get lots of troubles. It is obvious that it might not perform like an IMAP server with small files.
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    same comment as the other question. it all depends on which imap server you choose. you can greatly improve performance with, say, courier IMAP :

    You can try to tweak your IMAP server performance. many imap servers have extensions to sort messages locally, activate multi thread and other extensions.

    if your imap server does not provide any performance improvements, there are some imap proxies that can help also.

    you can give these links a check:
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    I object since what was requested was answered. in any case, I would say it can be deleted but no points refunded.

    An imap proxy can help with the speed, and the user can test different imap servers to see which one is fastest. I know courier imap does sorting and many other functions on the server thus greatly improving performance, and that was what was requested.


    Author Comment

    The issue involved was how to get Outlook IMAP performance improved in an exisiting environment, not to build out new infrastructure (i.e., proxy) to overcome failings with Outlook.  Thunderbird works great with the existing IMAP environment (just not the company's client of choice) therefore I was looking for tuning parameters for Outlook or things on the exisitng infrasture that could improve performance.

    Since it appears that this request is just not possible, the I would like to see the question deleted as not solved.  As far as refund of point,s no points were awarded so I don't know how a "delete with refund" would impact.

    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    Hi The griz

    You stated you need to improve outlook when accessing inbox with more than 2000 emails on them. Tere is clearly a problem with imap servers that do not sort (sort is not part of the imap standard). I posted some web pages talking about how to improve performance on different imap servers due you never stated what imap server you are running.

    I also commented you can use (on your same infrastructure) a different imap server (this is an addition as you can work with many imap servers at the same time, just not in the same port) -or- to add an imap proxy to speedup performance.

    Outlook in itself does not have that tuning parameters. this is a server issue.

    Due this I recommended the question not to be closed with points refunded. I would however like to see this question PAQed with no points awarded if you want =^)
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Closed, 250 points refunded.
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