Exchange Performance Monitor tracks domain controller communication

Using Performance Monitor counters is an effective way to keep an eye on Exchange Server health. Learn which Performance Monitor counters you should watch to ensure that your Exchange Servers are communicating effectively with your domain controllers.

Performance Monitor counters can be used to ensure an Exchange server is running at its optimum level. This article from Microsoft Exchange expert Brien Posey focuses on a few Performance Monitor counters and their threshold values so you can monitor how well an Exchange Server is communicating with domain controllers. Keeping an eye on these counters can help you effectively gauge an Exchange organization's overall health.

MSExchange ADAccess Domain Controllers\LDAP Read Time -- This counter tracks the amount of time it takes Exchange Server to send a request to a domain controller and receive a response. This is an important counter since Exchange depends heavily on Active Directory (AD), which stores the majority of Exchange Server's configuration and user mailbox information.

Note: Much like the LDAP Read Time, several other domain controller-related counters should be under 100 milliseconds -- with an average ideally below 50 milliseconds.

MSExchange Domain Controllers\LDAP Search Time -- This counter measures the amount of time it takes Exchange Server to issue an LDAP search request and receive a response.

MSExchange ADAccess Processes\LDAP Read Time and MSExchenage ADAccess Processes\LDAP Search Time -- The LDAP Read Time and the LDAP Search Time counters associated with the MSExchange ADAccess Domain Controllers performance object measure the amount of time it takes to receive a response from a specific domain controller.

In contrast, the LDAP Read Time and LDAP Search Time counters associated with the MSExchange ADAccess Processes performance object track the amount of time it takes to communicate with any domain controller.

MSExchange ADAccess Domain Controllers\LDAP Searches Timed Out Per Minute -- This counter measures the number of LDAP searches that have occurred within the last minute and timed out. It's normal to have some LDAP searches time out, especially in high-demand situations. Even so, this counter should never have a value higher than 10. Values higher than 10 suggest that there may be issues with your domain controller's performance.

More on monitoring Exchange Server performance:
Exchange Server capacity planning with Performance Monitor 

Why too much memory can hurt Exchange 2007 performance
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 performance tutorial

MSExchange ADAccess Domain Controllers\Long Running LDAP Operations/Min -- By default, most LDAP operations are given 15 seconds to complete. This counter reports the number of LDAP operations within the last minute that took longer than the allotted time to complete.

It's normal for some LDAP operations to take longer to complete than others, especially during peak periods of activity. According to Microsoft, the number of long-running LDAP operations within one minute should always be less than 50. Higher values may indicate that domain controllers are having trouble keeping pace with demands.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a five-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his work with Exchange Server, Windows Server, Internet Information Services (IIS), and File Systems and Storage. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal website at

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