Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Creating a sub-domain can save the day


By Diane Poremsky

This week's column is for Exchange administrators. I experienced every administrator's nightmare: the email server is thousands of miles away and goes offline. We discovered there was a problem with the co-location provider, and I needed to set up a mail server quickly. I discovered a neat "wish I had thought of it" trick my administrator used while I was configuring the server and restoring email addresses.

The DNS changes propagated faster than we expected, and the mail-bagger began releasing messages long before I had the new server ready. To my relief, I don't believe we bounced even one message. We use a Windows 2000 SMTP server on a Gateway computer that runs our spam filter, so I created virtual SMTP servers for each of our two domains, setting the servers to hold the queues and disabled NDRs on the Exchange server.

We have a lot of mailing lists subscribed to Public Folders, and the administrator used the second domain for all public folders. Only business mail used the main domain address. What a great idea, since we have hundreds of mail-enabled public folders, and we can't get to the servers for a few days to retrieve a list of addresses. Because the messages are for two different domains I could get the business mail up and running and hold the public folder messages for a few more days. The messages are queuing locally, and once we pick the servers up from the provider, we can get the public folder email addresses set up and release the messages.

You can use this trick with one domain, creating a sub-domain for use with mail-enabled public folders or less important messages, then queue them when you need to slow or stop mail flow. I'm going to start doing this with my personal server, using one domain for newsletters and Web site registrations.

What are your favorite administrator tricks? Now that my email flowing again, you can send them to outlook@cdolive.com, and I'll use the best ones in a future column.

Diane Poremsky is the president of CDOLive LLC and a Microsoft Outlook MVP. She's coauthor of Word 2002: The Complete Reference (Osborne, 2001) and Beginning Visual Basic 6 Application Development (for Wrox Press). For questions or suggestions for future columns, write her at outlook@cdolive.com.