Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) is a great ally when you need help troubleshooting Exchange Server problems. You'll find options for purchasing support on the Microsoft Support site at http://support.microsoft.com. If you have a PSS support contract, your Exchange support personnel need to be familiar with the process of logging calls and sending dump information to PSS. To minimize delays in getting help during an outage, ensure that all the information your support personnel need to log a PSS call (e.g., telephone numbers and PSS account details) is easily accessible. When logging a call, support personnel need to be able to provide information, such as MPS_Reports output, in a timely manner to reduce the turnaround time for problem diagnosis. I recommend performing a dry run for logging a call during an outage on a test server, then refining call-logging procedures based on the performance of the dry run.

Dump files are too large to email to PSS, so you'll first need to use WinZip to compress the files. By compressing the files, you can reduce their size by as much as 60 percent. If they're still too large, back up the dump information to tape, CD-R or CD-RW disks, or a USB drive, and courier the files to PSS. You can also FTP the dump information. PSS will provide you logon credentials and a folder on the Microsoft FTP site. If none of these options are feasible, Microsoft can use RAS or a VPN to access the server remotely and analyze the dump information-provided you have the appropriate RAS or VPN infrastructure in place and your network security policies allow remote access.