Over the past few months I've been having problems with my servers, particularly in the active directory and exchange arenas. SQL and IIS have had no problems at all (so I guess I had THAT going for me, if you want to look on the bright side) but I had tons and tons of red alerts in the application logs that contained really impressive looking techno-babble which I absolutely did not understand.
It was Thursday night that I decided I was going to take the plunge and completely reinstall a fresh domain and directory from scratch and go from two servers down to one. I had the original version of Small Business Server running on a 200 MHz Pentium with 64 megs of RAM several years ago, so I knew that a single-server solution would work for a network as small as mine. So I decided that my Dell PowerEdge 600SC with a 2.4 GHz processor and 512 megs of ram (another 512 is already on the way) was going to be responsible for everything.
I'm very happy to announce that the installation of all of the following (in the order specified) went absolutely perfectly:
- Windows Server 2003
- Active Directory and DNS
- SQL Server 2000 with SP3
- Exchange 2003 with SP1
- Exchange IMF (Intelligent Message Filter)
The last item, the Intelligent Message Filter is something that I downloaded several weeks (if not months) ago from Microsoft's web site but never installed out of fear that my already fragile Exchange installation could break down. My friend Ken installed it a couple of weeks ago and said he had no problems, so I took the plunge. To that end, I'd like to say "thank you" to the team up at Microsoft that wrote this thing. I used to get up to 150 junk emails each and every day, and I hated having to sift through my junk mail folder looking for real emails on a regular basis. Since this thing went live just past 8:00 am yesterday, it has caught 317 junk emails. Only about 15 have made it through to my junk mail folder. THAT is progress. I am considering increasing the SCE level one more notch to see if it might catch them all, but I'm a little worried about false positives. After looking at the junk email that it has archived using Notepad (I examined probably 50 messages or so) it looks like the thing is doing a fantastic job.
One of the reasons I wanted to use this Intelligent Message Filter was because I wanted to use the "Always up to Date" feature of Exchange 2003. This is a method by which new emails you receive are pushed out to the Inbox on your Smart Phone. The problem is that since I was getting so many spams I'd get a few of them each hour on my phone. And homey don't play that.
So, in conclusion, I now (knock on wood) have a great fresh domain and server installation, a great spam filter, and my Smart Phone getting my emails. One of the most comforting things - there are no red alerts in the server's application log.
If anybody has any stories about the IMF please post a comment or shoot me an email.