How to Monitor Mail Quality of Service

E-mail is one if not the most important services the IT department provides today and most companies do nothing at all to monitor the quality of this service.

With the Mail QOS monitor in Kasey Network Monitor you can monitor delivery times and availability, collect statistics, get alarm notifications and produce weekly, monthly or yearly trending reports.

The monitor works by sending an e-mail via an outgoing SMTP server and after a wait picking it up on a POP server.

When picking it up, KNM is able to measure the time it took for the e-mail to travel from KNM and land in the mail box at the POP server.

The time is encoded into the e-mail sent and can thus be derived by KNM when it picks it up from the POP server, that way KNM do not have to continuously poll the server but can wait until its sure the e-mail have arrived.

The only limitation of the monitor is that it requires one exclusive e-mail account.

In addition to measuring roundtrip times, the monitor also tests connection time to both SMTP and POP servers. Since at least the POP server will require a logon, this logon process will also indicate responsiveness of other backoffice systems.

The following metrics are stored:

  • Roundtrip time
  • SMTP send time
  • POP login time
  • POP receive time

How to configure the Mail QOS monitor

This short guide assumes that you are familiar with KNM and terms used in the program.

    1. Create an object that points to the POP server that is going to be used in the test
    2. Open the object information page and click “New monitor”
    3. Expand Web and e-mail monitors and select the Mail QOS monitor
    4. Enter the maximum allowed e-mail round trip
    5. Enter the interval which the monitor will check for the e-mail to arrive , this value should be less than the above value so the total wait time is minimized.
    6. Configure SMTP server address and port. Remember to check the SSL checkbox if the SMTP server uses a secure connection. Authentication is usally optional for internal e-mail servers, external e-mail servers requires authentication.
    7. The from address field should be a address that is accepted by the SMTP server
    8. Configure the POP  server port and remember to check the SSL flag if the connection is to be secure. Select an account to use to logon.
    9. Enter the e-mail address of the POP account to be checked, this e-mail address will be used in the “To:” field of the e-mail.
    10. Save the monitor.

Note that we did not change any common monitor parameters in this example, that will make the monitor use the default action list and test time.

Making use of the data

When testing the Mail QOS monitor saves data about roudtrip time and SMTP/POP server performance, this data can later be used in reports to analyze trends and look for patterns when problem arise.

Reports can be generated either by report templates, report templates are built by specifying what to display in the reports and later at generation they are populated with the selected monitors or you can use customized reports. Customized reports are custom made reports for a particular set of monitors.

All reports can be e-mailed on schedule or exported to an FTP server or network connected share.



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