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Emails slow to appear in Outlook 2003

Posted on 2010-08-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We have a problem where emails take a long time (reletive to file size) to get from our exchange server (2003) to our outlook 2003 client.

The sent and received dates are fine, it's the time difference between the received and created dates (time the email is added to the local PST) which are a worry.  For each Mb in size add 2 minutes between these 2 times.  An email with a 10Mb attached takes about 20 minutes to get from exchange to outlook/OWA.

The same email going out gets to an external recipient in an acceptable time.

There is no delay on internal emails only those coming in.

There is no virus scanning in place on the server and we've tried clients with and without virus scanning (McAfee Virusscan Enterprise).  Incoming and out going email is scanned by Websense (mailcontrol).

We see this behaviour for emails dating back over 5 years we've just not picked up on it before as the 'cretaed' date field in outlook is not always used.

Any help greatfully received.
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Question by:paulleeson
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Expert Comment

by:stavros41
ID: 33445222
Have you tried this on a PC where cached mode is not enabled in Outlook? Cached mode can slow down when a mailbox gets large.
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Expert Comment

by:quake566
ID: 33448125
Hi Paulleeson (Paul?),

One or two questions to give us a little more information about the problem here.

1. Try stavros41's suggestion! If you see no appreciable difference, please answer the following for us:

2. Is this behaviour happening for all users and on all client computers?
3. Is OWA hosted on the same server as your MX?
4. Open up a mailbox on OWA and the same mailbox on outlook. Is there a significant difference in the time it takes for the email to reach the recipient?
5. Which protocol are you using to transfer the messages to clients? exchange, IMAP and POP3 all have slightly different characteristics for delays at certain points.

Best of luck!

c.
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Author Comment

by:paulleeson
ID: 33449016
Hi,

1. Try stavros41's suggestion! If you see no appreciable difference, please answer the following for us:
We tried this with no joy.
2. Is this behaviour happening for all users and on all client computers?
All users and all are running outllok 2003 + OS = XP or Vista (Minority)
3. Is OWA hosted on the same server as your MX?
Yes it is.
4. Open up a mailbox on OWA and the same mailbox on outlook. Is there a significant difference in the time it takes for the email to reach the recipient?
Both have the same delay on emails with attachments.
5. Which protocol are you using to transfer the messages to clients? exchange, IMAP and POP3 all have slightly different characteristics for delays at certain points.
Exchange - We have not set up POP, IMP or RPC over HTTP

All emails with NO attachments come through with no delay at all. It is only emails with attachments.

We also have access to another exchange server which aprat form the firewall + filtering is set up in the same way. This will recieve the same email with a 7MB attachemtn is wbout 2 to 4 minutes from sending. The same email on the Exchnage server with the issue will take about 20 to 25 Minutes.

All very odd.

Many thanks for any other tips you can give.

Paul
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Author Comment

by:paulleeson
ID: 33449051
This above should read :)

We also have access to another exchange server which apart from the firewall....
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Expert Comment

by:quake566
ID: 33452369
Hi Paul,

Thanks for the details. If the delay is the same for the email to arrive at the OWA and outlook clients, this suggests that the delay is entirely server based. If it is only attachments, then perhaps the problem is bandwidth or even connectivity based.

If you use the exchange server to download files from FTP or HTTP in the internet, do you notice connection problems? do you notice slow transfer speeds? Does anything relating to the network configuration (i.e. DHCP leases) change frequently (this might interrupt transfer to the server)? Finally, are there any network devices (firewalls/routers) with traffic shaping/QOS enabled on them for this subnet/server alone?

c.
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Author Comment

by:paulleeson
ID: 33452403
Hi Quake,

I will try the the FTP / HTTP  download tests.

Part of me also feels that it could be a connectivity issue as I would have though as soon as the mail hits exchange OWA would view this pretty quickly. I donlt think it will be a bandwidth issue as we have tested this outside of normal hours. We have a 2GB leased lined.

So we have a 2Gb leased line - Cisco Router - Riverbed - Gnatbox Firewall - Int Network.

As a sudden thought whilst typing . We have had an issue with the Riverbed before slowing certain traffic. I'll investigate this today.

Cheers all,

Paul
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Author Comment

by:paulleeson
ID: 33452424
Sorry, 2MB leased line.
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Author Comment

by:paulleeson
ID: 33484781
Update:
We have run tests on general uploading and downloading of files and the speed is fine, consistent and as expected.

We have also by-passed our Riverbed WAN accelerators and that unfortunately didn't make any difference.

Q.  The header time stamp for when an email is recieved by an exchange server - is that given by the exchange server when it gets it or by our web filtering provider when they release it to our exchange server dns name or something else?
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Expert Comment

by:quake566
ID: 33500372
Hi Paul,

I don't know enough to answer your header question - sorry! I think your question is going in the right direction though.

For further investigations, I would think about trying to find a way of *live* monitoring the activity of the exchange server during receiving a small and large email. i.e. like a console if that's possible. If not, detailed logs/debug logs might be a way to go. That way you should be able to see the exact timescale of receipt-process-deliver etc.

Best of luck Paul!

c.
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Author Comment

by:paulleeson
ID: 33500555
Cheers Quake,

I am looking at the logs and performing tests.

The time of travel between the Websense Mail Control is a matter of seconds. Internal mail with large attachments are also instant and we can see no delay in the Queues.

I personally cannot see it being the Exchange server. Mail with no attachment is instant and internal mail is instant no matter how large the attachement is.

I am now looking at our firewall which has an email proxy as well as a riverbed again.

I will of course post any results.

Cheers all

Paul
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Accepted Solution

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paulleeson earned 0 total points
ID: 33501531
After much hair pulling it was found to be our Gnatbox Firewall. A rather old but none th else reliable GB1000.

There was a setting for an email proxy. We bypassed this and all is now fine. A 20 minute attachment delay has now turned into a 2 minute.

I don't think this question will be much use to many as the GB1000 is so old. In anycase I want to thank those who helped.

Regards,

Paul
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by:Ingeborg Hawighorst
ID: 37163444
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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