MConsole (Message Console) is Isode's central tool for messaging system 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 SMTP and X.400 deployments.

M-Switch Operational 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:

  • 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.
  • Access to configuration information about MTAs, Channels and permanently connected MTAs
  • Show inbound and outbound connections associated with peer MTAs, including permanent and scheduled connections.
  • Overall queue status, including number and volume of messages in the queue, and processing totals.
  • Graphical display of important operational information, such as number of messages and number of channels running.
  • Information on messages, including:
    • the content of messages that are in the queue and additional envelope information read from the message queue.
    • the security label associated with a message
    • priority (civil or military values)
    • information on each message recipient for which M-Switch is responsible for transfer or delivery
    • quarantined message information (sender, recipient and spam score), actions can be performed on quarantined messages

M-Switch Operational Control

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.
  • 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).
  • 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.

Tracking and Archive Access

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/management views that access the audit database:

  • Message and Acknowledgement Tracking
  • Quarantine Tracking

Message & Acknowledgement Tracking and Management

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.
  • 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.
  • Forward SMTP and X.400 messages stored in archive to any recipient, with operator comment using a user agent 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. Further information is provided in the whitepaper  [Using Message Acknowledgements for Tracking, Correlation and Fire & Forget].

Some remote systems will not provide reliable acknowledgements, and so it makes sense to exclude them from message correlation. Information on “Alertable Missing Acknowledgements” is stored in the Audit Database using a flexible rules based approach and can be managed with MConsole.

Message Correction

When an error in message transfer occurs, normal action is to send a delivery report to the message sender, indicating the error. An alternative approach, often used in military “fire and forget” scenario is to have errors handled by an M-Switch operator. M-Switch supports a “correction” capability to support this, so that when messages fail they are queued on a corrections channel. M-Switch provides a Web corrections interface, so that operators can deal with failed messages and take actions such as address correction to enable successful delivery.

Switch Operational Management (SOM) Framework

Isode's approach to operational management is client/server. Access to and control of M-Switch operational information is provided using the SOM protocol to the M-Switch Queue Manager. 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 and Isode provides a SOM Client API to anable this.

M-Store X.400 Operational Management

MConsole's X.400 Message Stores view connects to one or more message stores, showing both mailboxes and open P3 and P7 connections. MConsole also enables:

  • Manage mailbox backup.
  • Configure auto-actions, such as auto-forward. These are managed through the message store, in a manner similar to that of a P7 client.
  • Mailbox monitoring, to show unread messages and to help deal with messages that have not been read.
  • Shows information on a specific message.
  • Show information on a specific connection to the Message Store.

X.400 Mailbox Management

MConsole's X.400 Mailbox management GUI provides two views in MConsole: 'X.400 Mailbox' and 'X.400 Message Stores'. X.400 Mailbox View enables:

  • Easy setup and management of mailboxes (P3, P7, and Remote)
  • Configuration of advanced mailbox and routing parameters
  • Easy handling of mailbox and directory white pages relationship, including flexible management of white pages data
  • Configuration of redirects, aliases and synonyms
  • Creation and management of X.400 Distribution Lists (DLs)
  • Aviation (AMHS) support, including templates for standard XF and CAAS format addresses, and capability to handle a hybrid UA/DL

Where mailboxes are provided by a local X.400 Message store, the X.400 Message Stores view allows detailed management of the local mailboxes, including; backup/restore, connection monitoring, message management and forwarding, auto-action management and monitoring unread messages.

A modern X.400 system will generally use a 'white pages' directory to hold user entries that will be used to identify and select users. MConsole allows you to:

  1. Create a new white pages entry (with a configurable default location) and name derived from the OR Address holding core information, that can be later editing with a general purpose directory tool (e.g., Isode Sodium or DSI Web App).
  2. Locate an existing entry. MConsole will add the user’s OR Address to this entry.