When installing and configuring Mimecast Synchronization Engine, it is important to be aware of requirements for your environment. This article aims to assist with best practice guidelines.
Consider the following installation recommendations:
- Mimecast recommends that the Mimecast Synchronization Engine should not be installed on either an Exchange server or Domain Controller. Instead it should be installed on a member server within the same domain as Exchange. A standalone server may also be used.
- Installing Mimecast Synchronization Engine alongside other LOB application(s) should be avoided. This is because scheduled tasks require resources when in operation. These may impact performance of LOB application(s) or Mimecast Synchronization Engine.
- For companies with more than 1000 users, an additional Mimecast Synchronization Engine server should be deployed for every 1000 users.
- A separate instance of Mimecast Synchronization Engine is recommended for File Archive tasks.
- For Instant Messaging Archive, a separate instance of Mimecast Synchronization Engine with access to the Lync SQL database is recommended.
Mimecast Synchronization Engine tasks are applied to groups of users, and should adhere to the specifications below:
- Groups should remain fairly static.
- The recommended maximum number of users per group should be:
- Exchange 2007/2010/2013: 250 - 300 users / group.
For troubleshooting purposes, Mimecast recommends creating an additional troubleshooting group. In the event that an issue should arise with syncing a single user / group of users, they may be removed from their original group and placed into the troubleshooting group. This will ensure that other members of the group and the task are not affected.
Mimecast recommends that Mimecast Synchronization Engine tasks be enabled in the following order, if there are available.
Not all functionality may be required by your organization.
- Folder replication can be quite time and data intensive on it's first full synchronization. This is because all folder information must be collected. Subsequent synchronizations are incremental, and only need to synchronize the changes from the previous synchronization. This makes the task less resource intensive. For the first full synchronization, the task should be enabled over a period of low Exchange activity (e.g. a weekend).
- Calendar replication is a relatively low resource intensity task, but the same group size recommendations as mentioned above should be followed.
- Managed folders tasks are dependent on the requirements of the organization, but generally affect smaller and more specific amounts of data, and are subsequently low resource intensity tasks. This task can be run in test mode. This allows administrators to evaluate the amount of changes that will be effected before updating the task to action the changes. It is recommended to run these tasks in test mode first, and to then monitor the activity logs.We recommend discussing your managed folder requirements with Mimecast Support before setting up this task.
- Mailbox storage management is a very high resource intensity task. Planning for this task is important, and the options for stubbing should be considered carefully. This task is also equipped with a test mode. It is recommended to run stubbing tasks in test mode ,before updating the task to action the changes. Stubbing tasks should be applied to groups as recommended above, and should run during periods of low Exchange activity (e.g. weekends). As Stubbing is designed to reduce Exchange storage load, you can apply a task to email attachments older than six months, and run it once per month.
- User and network file archiving tasks may affect large volumes of data, depending on which files should be archived. Consider the effect on internet and network bandwidth, and monitor the activity of the tasks through the File Archive Dashboard. These tasks should activated once a day during weekdays, and during low periods of file server activity or out of business hours.
- As Lync Instant Messages (IM) are text-based, they generally are smaller files. IM Archive tasks can be run on a frequent schedule, depending on the available hardware and network resources.
For all tasks, it is important to plan around regular backup and maintenance tasks.
When configuring schedule definitions for any daily recurring tasks, create one schedule per task, and ensure that these schedules are staggered by 5-15 minutes at an interval of every two hours. Depending on the task and the needs of the organization, separate schedules should be created to run on daily, weekly, and monthly intervals. Some examples of the application of different schedules could be:
These tasks affect the Exchange servers and should be staggered:
- Folder Replication: Schedule for Group A starts at 7:00 pm and runs until 23:00 pm every 60 minutes daily (weekdays).
- Folder Replication: Schedule for Group B starts at 7:30 pm and runs until 23:00 pm every 60 minutes daily (weekdays).
- Calendar Replication: Schedule for Group A starts at 4:00 am and runs until 8:00 am every 60 minutes daily (weekdays).
- Calendar Replication: Schedule for Group B starts at 4:30 am and runs until 8:00 am every 60 minutes daily (weekdays).
- Managed Folders: Schedule for Group C starts at 1:30 am and runs until 3:30 m every 30 minutes (Tuesdays and Thursdays).
- Mailbox Storage Management: Schedule for Group D starts at 1:00 pm and runs until 11:00 pm ever 120 minutes (one Saturday per month).
File Archive Tasks
File archive tasks may affect different servers (e.g. a file server). For the initial folder archive, all files (except for those listed as excluded extensions) will be archived. This results in the first task run being the most resource intensive. Subsequent archive jobs will only archive any differences to those existing files, or any new files. The Mimecast Synchronization Engine application pushes the files to Mimecast, where they are converted to emails, and as such added to your archive. It is important to monitor the load on the selected servers, and the success of the Mimecast Synchronization Engine tasks, in order to ensure that the hardware requirements are suitable for the relevant tasks.
The examples below assume that user files are stored on a separate server to network files:
- User Drives: Schedule for Group A starts at 7:00 pm and runs until 23:00 pm every 60 minutes daily (weekdays).
- User Drives: Schedule for Group B starts at 7:30 pm and runs until 23:00 pm every 60 minutes daily (weekdays).
- Network Drives: Schedule for Group C starts at 7:00 pm and runs until 23:00 pm every 60 minutes daily (weekdays).
For File Archiving tasks the account running Windows Service: Mimecast Synchronization Engine will require access to the network folders shares in order to archive files. By default the installer sets this account as NETWORK SERVICE. This must be changed to a domain user account with sufficient access to files required to be archived.
Instant Messaging (IM) Archive Tasks
IM archive tasks interact with the SQL database where Lync stores the IM data. As with other Mimecast Synchronization Engine tasks, the first task run is the most resource intensive, as all existing data in the database must be uploaded to Mimecast. The task has a built in execution limit of 1000 conversations, and it may be necessary to run the task frequently initially to capture all existing data. Subsequent archive jobs will only archive new data added to the store, and as the data is text based, it is likely that little resource load will be placed on the Mimecast Synchronization Engine server.
One task is required per SQL database, and it can be configured to run once or several times each day.
For IM archiving tasks use the Integrated Windows Authentication authentication type for increased security when authenticating to SQL Server.
We would also suggest that you set disclaimers so that users of Lync® IM conversations are aware that the conversation is being archived. For more information, view the related article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../gg182584.aspx
Automated Reporting and Alerts
- Scheduled Task Reports: Email based high level overview of all tasks assigned to a site running v4.x or later.
- Scheduled Task Alerts: Email based notifications triggered by task executions while assigned to a site running v4.x or later.
See the Mimecast Synchronization Engine: Automated Alerts page for further details.
Synchronization Engine Administrator Role
- A dedicated role for Mimecast Synchronization Engine v4 Microsoft Mailbox accounts.
- New Application Permission: Sync
See the Mimecast Synchronization Engine: Synchronization Engine Administrator Role page for further details.