Sunday, February 21, 2010

Understanding the SMTP log

Starting with Exchange 2003, all inter-server communication is by default done via SMTP. This makes the SMTP log a convenient way to see the high-level communication between your Exchange server and other SMTP systems. In particular, the SMTP commands and the responses to those commands.

Depending upon the amount of traffic your Exchange server handles, SMTP logs can get large. There is no automatic purging, so carefully consider where you are storing the log files. It is enabled/disabled on the General tab of the Default SMTP Virtual Server properties.

One of the unfortunate issues with the SMTP log is that there is no thread-organization. In other words, it is not possible to tell which log entry belongs to which thread. The entries are posted in the order received. If multiple threads are running concurrently, the entries will all be mixed together. That said, you can typically figure it out because of the sending address and recipient address.

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