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Email Server 'UP' monitoring?

We are an exchange 2007 shop but use a different SMTP gateway in our DMZ (Mail Marshal brand software).

Presently, we use a home-grown solution to monitor that everything is up:

Every 10 minutes, we send an email.  It is received by 'Mail Marshal' and forwarded to the exchange account mailbox, which does an auto-reply back to the sender.

Basically, if we send a message, but we don't get a reply, that's a problem.

Generally, it works pretty well but I'd like to use a professional service that doesn't reply on there being power in our computer room, and our mobile broadband internet service on that pc being up.

Question:

What's the best email monitoring solution which will test OUR COMPLETE ENVIRONMENT: e.g. our smtp gateway in the DMZ and our exhange servers?

At a minimum, we would want SMS notices going to cell phones, but it would be nice if it could call people as well.

Though we do extensive monitoring with what's-up-gold , if our T1 lines are down (which is what happened last night), none of those monitors are effective.

Any ideas?

Thanks,
Mike
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mike2401
Asked:
mike2401
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1 Solution
 
kevinhsiehCommented:
I use IPSentry to monitor the complete environment. The trick is getting messages out if there is a problem. If you have someplace offsite to monitor from, that is great. You could then run PING, SMTP, http, and other tests over WAN/Internet. If anything fails, you could then send a page via SMTP/SMS to your phones. Other option is to run monitoring locally and then send out via page or alternate network connection. IPSentry includes a license to monitor the monitoring application, so you still get notified if your main monitoring application goes down.

www.ipsentry.com
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mike2401Author Commented:
Thanks.  I took a quick look at it looks like our current "what's-up-gold" windows server which monitors our environment from the inside.

I'm looking for an outside company which provides the service,

and

specifically, looking for a solution which will send an email, let it auto-reply back from our environment, and call my cell if that doesn't happen.

Mike
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kevinhsiehCommented:
Here's a company I found. I have never used them. IMHO the important thing to check is that you can monitor if What's-Up-Gold is running and can send out messages, because What's-Up-Gold should let you know if anything is down, and you only need to pay to make sure that What's-Up-Gold is working properly. If you just monitor email externally, you know that your email is up and that your Internet connection is working, but everything else could be down and you wouldn't know it. If you can somehow tell that What's-Up-Gold is running and that it can send out email, it is hard to imagine that you could have a major failure and not know that there was an issue, because you should be notified by either What's-Up-Gold or the external monitoring service that there is an issue.

http://www.websitepulse.com/
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mike2401Author Commented:
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

This is PERFECT, and exactly what I was looking for!!

BTW, what keywords did you use when searching for this?

This works perfectly in our mixed exchange / mail marshal smtp environment.

Here's how I set it up in case it is helpful to others:  (MM0 is the name of our mail marshal host in the DMZ which forwards all mail to our exchange environment on the inside). The pop3 box that is checked in our test domain.  Mail1 is the name of our exchange server.

Summary of monitoring process:
•      Monitoring Service sends email to: FromOutsideFWMail1@curtis.com .  This is received on MM0 and automatically forwarded to exchange like any other curtis.com email.
•      FromOutsideFWMail1@curtis.com is an Exchange mailbox on mail1 and is configured to automatically forward all messages to: FromExchangeMail1@curtisTESTING.com  on (a pop3 box on MM0).  Exchange deletes the message from the exchange mailbox so they don’t accumulate.
•      Monitoring service checks FromExchangeMail1@curtisTESTING.com on MM0.
•      If the message is there, that is good and it deletes the message from the pop3 box on mm0.
•      If not, the monitoring service will call, SMS and send emails to designated Curtis folks on non-curtis email accounts.
•      The above was duplicated for mail2 so both exchange servers are monitored.
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mike2401Author Commented:
This was extremely helpful and a wonderful find. Thanks a million !!!
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kevinhsiehCommented:
I don't remember what I searched on. Something like "remote server monitoring", but that didn't return the company I recommended on the first page of hits. I am glad to have helped you find exactly what you need.
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mike2401Author Commented:
It really was a huge help.  Last week, we lost both our Verizon T1's at 10pm at night, and didn't discover it till 6:30am.  It wasn't restored till 2:30pm.  The home-grown end-to-end monitoring pc failed to alert us. It has previously worked great, but for some reason, it didn't work this time.  

There are too many potential points of failure for a single drive windows pc at our data center location (not on a UPS), communicating through a linksys router & verizon mobile broadband card.

The service you found is awesome!  

I setup 2 monitors (one from Washington to monitor mail1), and another from New York to monitor Mail2 every 15 minutes.  

Their tech support was friendly and responsive, and their service is feature rich.

I really love the voice call notifications to my home-phone & cell phone.

Indeed, for everything else, we'll rely on whats up gold.

I'm completely pleased!

Regards,
Mike
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