In my opinion the Exchange Best Practices analyser Tool is the coolest tool Microsoft released last year. I think all product groups at Microsoft should create such a tool, just like they all make management packs for MOM. Well good news, this is exactly what is going to happen next year! [:D]
Beginning in 2006, Microsoft will release versions of the free tool for all of its platforms, said Paul Flessner, senior vice president of server applications, at the recent TechEd 2005 conference. The system analyzers follow the company's Windows Server System Common Engineering Criteria, aimed at making integration and management of its products easier, he said.
Ed Donnelly, senior systems engineer with Kaplan Inc., in New York City, has been using the Exchange Best
It gives a good baseline for building forward, depending on the server build we do.
Practices Analyzer and plans to use the other tools as they become available.
"It gives a good baseline for building forward, depending on the server build we do," said Donnelly, whose company provides educational and career services. After matching best practices with Microsoft, he said, you can tailor your own environment as needed, knowing you've met the company's suggested standards. "Each [analyzer tool] should also tell you what you're missing, and be updated with each service pack."
In March, the company released an update for the Exchange tool, adding support for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM).
The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer automatically examines a Microsoft Exchange Server deployment, including Active Directory, to check the configuration and general health of the system. To use the tool, administrators need to be running Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 on each Exchange server.
"It's nice to find out what we're supposed to be doing correctly and have some kind of game plan," said Scott Semrau, a network administrator with touch-free car wash system maker PDQ Manufacturing Inc., in DePere, Wis. His organization has downloaded the Exchange tool and is in the process of testing it.
Systems that will see best practice analyzers in 2006 include SQL Server, Content Management Server and Microsoft Office Live Communications Server. Administrators will have the ability to compare the configuration of their systems against Microsoft's best practices database, monitor system health and access online documentation of reported issues.