The Microsoft Exchange Operational Support Tools Team has released two new Exchange tools (ExDRA and ExPTA).
Last year, they delivered the Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer, or ExBPA for short. Since then they've made several upgrades to that tool as well as published monthly updates to the validations the tool does. They hope to establish this same kind of success for a couple of new tools they have released: the Microsoft Exchange Server Disaster Recovery Analyzer (ExDRA), and the Microsoft Exchange Server Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer (ExPTA). These two tools build on the framework of ExBPA and allow them to define a set of iterative steps to be performed to achieve a particular goal. In the case of ExDRA, that goal is to guide an admin through the disaster recovery process, automating as much as possible. For ExPTA, the goal is to move from a symptom of a performance problem to a root cause and resolution.
The two tools are built off the same framework: a configuration driven engine that knows how to execute a series of steps. Those steps are of two kinds: present UI to the user to get information from them, or execute the ExBPA engine to get information from the system. It then applies ExBPA analysis to the results and determines what step to take next. This provides MS with a very flexible framework that they can use to do any number of complex tasks. While ExDRA and ExPTA are initial offerings, more will probably be released in the future.
For more info, see http://188.8.131.52/exchange/archive/2005/11/01/413463.aspx