There are many maintenance tasks that should be performed on any computer system in order to keep it in tip-top condition. Enterprise Vault 10 is no exception to this rule, but the question I'm often asked is "What should I do?". In this article I'll give you four really quick maintenance tasks that you should perform on your Enterprise Vault environment. My advice is to do each of them regularly, once a week or so depending on the size of your environment and the importance of it to end-users.
Task 1 - Check your partition sizes
Running out of disk space is not something that you want to see happen in your Enterprise Vault environment, so it's important to regularly check the size of the Vault Store partitions. If you don't do this the most obvious thing will happen - archiving will stop. This can impact users especially if you run with Exchange quotas, and it can impact your compliance needs if you have Exchange journaling.
If you record the space used on a regularly basis you'll be able to use this information to predict growth over time, and of course to see when you will eventually need to consider getting more space.
It's also worth mentioning that you should check the size of your index locations too. That's another aspect of Enterprise Vault where you don't want to run out of disk space.
Note: The Enterprise Vault Admin Service will shutdown Enterprise Vault if it detects a low disk space condition, which disks are checked can be overridden, but I would rarely advise overriding that feature in a production environment.
Task 2 - Review your archiving reports
Enterprise Vault 10.0.3 introduced some fantastic mailbox archiving reports. Prior to Enterprise Vault 10.0.3 it was actually quite difficult to see what the Exchange Archiving Task had done during it's run through mailboxes on an Exchange server. That's all changed though with Enterprise Vault 10.0.3, and I highly recommend upgrading to 10.0.3 just for the benefit of the archiving reports alone! The reports give an overview of what was archived in each mailbox, and allows you to get more detail if you need to. It's a great resource for troubleshooting why some items aren't being archived, or even why a whole mailbox is not being archived. On top of this you can use it to see whether you're getting through your nightly task of archiving the mailboxes in your environment, and to see overall what's happening in relation to end-user archiving policies.
I can't emphasise it enough, it's a powerful tool.
Task 3 - Check index health
One of the best features of Enterprise Vault is the ability to search your archive. If you have Exchange mailbox archiving configured and indexing is working normally, you can go back and find any email archived at any time since you were enabled for archiving. If you have Exchange journal archiving configured then it's even more powerful because you can search for any mail to/from any users in your organisation since almost 'forever'. That can be years ago, and you can have hundreds of thousands or even millions of archived items. The results will still come back pretty much instantly.
Obviously the key message here is '… and indexing is working normally'. This generally falls under index health, and there is a really quick way to get an overview of an individual archive and see whether there are any problems.
Note: I don't think that tis proves categorically that the index is healthy, but it's a pretty good start!
You can also, as the Enterprise Vault administrator, run an 'index verify' command to verify a batch of indexes, rather than an individual index as we just did. To do this you launch the 'Manage Indexes' wizard, and select the 'Verify' option. You then walk through the wizard and add one or more indexes to the task, and at the end you can even opt whether you want to do a basic or complete test:
Task 4 - Review your event log
Last but not least is that you should check your Application, System, and Enterprise Vault event logs. You don't want to see errors, obviously. Worse still you don't want to see a 'sea of red'. That's the term given to the event log when there is nothing that you can see other than red error symbols. Remember though that you're not just looking for errors (and warnings) relating to Enterprise Vault, you should be generally checking for issues relating to other installed components and the Operating System itself. Even seeing that particular services are stopping, and then starting, might give you cause to investigate more why this happening, this means you've also got to keep an eye on the information events too.
In summary there is a considerably long list of maintenance tasks that you can perform on an Enterprise Vault environment. This of course becomes more necessary as the size of the environment grows, and the number of servers involved. There are tools and products that can be purchased to help an administrator in monitoring and maintaining the environment, but of course many of these cost a lot of money. In the end, a few simple checks such as these will help maintain a healthy Enterprise Vault environment, and whilst it might not be free from errors you do have much more chance of spotting things ahead of time.
Do you do regular maintenance tasks on your Enterprise Vault environment? Let me know in the comments ...
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