MConsole (Message Console) is Isode's central tool for M-Switch Configuration and Operational management for both Internet and X.400 Messaging deployments. On this page you'll find information on MConsole Operational Management features for both X.400 and Internet deployments. On other pages you'll find information on MConsole configuration management features for Internet Messaging and MConsole configuration and operational features specific to X.400 Messaging.

MConsole M-Switch Monitoring Capabilities

MConsole Monitoring

MConsole is a GUI management tool, with multiple views, that connects to one or more M-Switch servers as illustrated above using the SOM protocol described below. MConsole also connects to the Audit Database (described below) and to the M-Vault directory for M-Switch configuration management.

MConsole's Switch-view mode provides a monitoring oriented view of one or more M-Switch instances, with a hierarchical view of objects in the left hand window, and information on a selected object in the right hand window.

MConsole provides a graphical display which gives a structured overview status of one or more M-Switch servers. Monitoring features of MConsole include:

  • Overall queue status, including number and volume of messages in the queue, and processing totals.
  • Information on message priority (civil or military values).
  • Information on each M-Switch channel. Channels are a logical grouping of messages for different protocol, delivery, conversion and management functions. For example, one or more channels may be associated with SMTP email transfer. This will include the number of messages, message delay and number of the channel processes currently running.
  • There may be one or more "peer MTAs" (Message Transfer Agents) associated with a channel. A peer MTA will have one or more messages queued for transfer to the remote system.
  • There may be one or more messages associated with each peer MTA, and information is available on each message.
  • For each message, information is displayed on each message recipient for which M-Switch is responsible for transfer or delivery.
  • Information on each quarantined message can be displayed including sender, recipient and spam score. Actions can be performed on quarantined messages.
  • Display the content of messages that are in the queue and additional envelope information read from the message queue.
  • Display the Security Label associated with a message.
  • For each monitored entity (overall switch, channel, MTA group, peer MTA, message, recipient), MConsole has a configurable definition of "badness", which is recorded for each entity. This is displayed graphically, so that an entity with zero badness is green and an entity that has reached the defined threshold is shown red. Intermediate levels have an intermediate color, to give a clear graphical image of components with varying levels of problem.
  • Graphical display of important operational information, such as number of messages and number of channels running.
  • Access to configuration information about MTAs, Channels and permanently connected MTAs in Switch view, on a Configuration tab for the entity in question. This allows configuration to be changed, which can be convenient when making changes in response to operational condition or to understand the configuration associated with an element being monitored. It is a subset of the full configuration that is managed in System view.
  • Show inbound and outbound connections associated with peer MTAs, including permanent and scheduled connections.
  • Show information on partially received messages. (This capability is generic, but currently only supported by the STANAG 4406 Annexe E/ACP142 channel).
  • Show percentage of data transferred or received.
  • Configuration storage on connection information for M-Switch instances that are regularly monitored.
  • Authentication of MConsole users, with differing monitor and control rights.
  • Automatic refresh.


M-Switch Operational Control: MConsole

As well as monitoring M-Switch, MConsole (Switch-view mode) can be used to control the queue, and provide operator functions which are a critical part of a managed messaging service. Control features provided by MConsole include:

  • Disabling channels and peer MTAs, for inbound and/or outbound connections. Disabled status, including disabling in on direction only is clearly displayed.
  • Add (or clear) a configurable for all components (Channels, peer MTAs, messages, recipients).
  • Request immediate processing (i.e., over-ride normal scheduling) for channels, peer MTAs, and messages.
  • Request reprocessing of a message (or all messages for a peer MTA). This causes a complete new routing calculation to be performed. This is used when routing changes have been made, typically to deal with operational requirements, in order to apply these changes to messages in the queue. Note that some routing changes, and in particular alternate MTA and forced alternate MTA are automatically picked up without a requirement for this reprocessing.
  • Delete messages or individual recipients from the queue (no other actions).
  • Redirect a message or selected recipients to another address.
  • Forward a message (message content) to any recipient.
  • Time out messages or individual recipients. M-Switch will behave as if the message had timed out, and send appropriate delivery reports.
  • Non-deliver messages or individual recipients, with reason code selected by the operator. M-Switch will then non-deliver the message.
  • Limit the priority of message that is processed by a channel or the whole MTA (all channels). This is useful in periods of high activity to restrict message processing to higher priority messages, and in support of military "minimize" condition.


Windows Services

MConsole provides the capability to manage Windows services, both locally and remotely. Windows services can be configured, started and stopped from an MConsole view.

Tracking and Archive Access


MConsole Tracking


M-Switch writes audit logs that records information on messages transferred, and the location of where each message is archived (so that management tools can access message content). These logs are processed into an Audit Database.

MConsole provides two tracking views that access the audit database:

  • General Purpose Message Tracking
  • Quarantine Tracking

General Purpose Message Tracking

The first view is a general purpose tracking view. This provides:

  • Flexible searching for messages (using information in the audit database), based on time period, message parameters such as originator and message id, and message handling stated (delivered, transferred, quarantined, deleted etc.).
  • Searching for messages on a single MTA or on all MTAs handled by the audit database.
  • Display of key parameters of each message matched.
  • Display of SMTP and X.400 Message Content, retrieved from the online archive via SOM access to M-Switch.
  • Access to a separate view with message details with all associated information about transfers, checking etc.
  • View of the delivery reports (X.400 DRs and/or SMTP DSNs) and read receipts (X.400 IPNs and SMTP MDNs) associated with each message.
  • Automatic refresh at operator defined intervals, to enable new delivery reports to be identified.
  • Forward SMTP and X.400 messages stored in archive to any recipient, with operator comment using a user agent view. This provides a flexible mechanism to retrieve and manage archived messages.

Acknowledgement View

An acknowledgement view enables tracking of delivery reports (SMTP DSNs and X,400 DRs) and read receipts (SMTP MDSs and X.400 IPNs). This has two primary goals:

  • To track errors, in particular delivery reports. This will give the operator immediate information about problems, and enable the operator to take pro-active action, such as forwarding a mis-addressed message.
  • To warn about delay in delivery report or read receipt. This can facilitate detecting operational problems, and ensure that messages are correctly delivered and processed.

Acknowledgement view can provide automatic refresh, to facilitate directory operator tracking of problems. This can also be achieved with alerts from the quality of service daemon described below.

Further information is provided in Using Message Acknowledgements for Tracking, Correlation and Fire & Forget.

Quarantine Management

The third view is specifically for quarantine management. This offers:

  • Optimized view to display only messages associated with quarantine (having one of quarantine states).
  • Automatic refresh at operator defined intervals, to enable new delivery reports to be identified.
  • Flexible searching for messages in quarantine (analogous to this one in general view) and all options known from general message tracking view.
  • Options to release/delete messages from quarantine.

Quality of Service Daemon

The Quality of Service Daemon connects to the Audit Database, and monitors for delivery report and read receipt errors and delays. It can report errors by email or by Isode events leading to SNMP, Windows Event or syslog alerts. This provides an automated mechanism to provide the services of Acknowledgement View, giving alerts of problems detected by Acknowledgement View described above.

Messages may also be forwarded to Guaranteed Action Point (GAP) to ensure that critical messages are appropriately processed.

Switch Operational Management (SOM) Framework

Isode's approach to operational management is client server, as described in the white paper "The Isode Management Architecture: Client/Server and Directory". This is implemented in M-Switch using the Switch Operational Management Architecture (SOMA).

Access to and control of M-Switch operational information is provided using the SOM protocol to the M-Switch QMGR (Queue Manager). These services are accessed by management tools, built over the SOMClient API. The central capabilities provided by SOM are:

  • Authenticated client access, using SASL, including X.509 based strong authentication using SASL EXTERNAL.
  • Optional anonymous access.
  • Optional data confidentiality using TLS.
  • Authorization, with per user controls on services available (e.g., access to message content and envelope information).
  • Log access, monitoring and searching.
  • Queue status information and control at various levels:
    • Overall queue
    • Channel (inbound and outbound)
    • Peer MTA and Peer MTA Group
    • Recipient
    • Association (inbound and outbound)
    • Partially received message object
  • Access to messages in the M-Switch queue.
  • Deletion, redirection and other control operations on messages in the M-Switch queue.
  • Access to messages in the message archive.
  • Access to messages in the quarantine store, and ability to release messages.

SOM provides the framework for implementing Isode tools, including MConsole, the Event Viewer, and Quarantine message resubmission.

SOM is also intended for integration with third party tools. Isode provides a 'C' version and Pure Java version of the SOM Client API to enable this. This API can be purchased from Isode as a development kit.