Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Microsoft released new tool
So Microsoft released their much-anticipated Exchange Best Practices Analyzer yesterday.
I've already run it against a test server (Exchange 2003), so I wanted to share my thoughts. First of all, I was impressed with how much information it gathered. It was able to detect that I was running Exchange on a VMWare instance :-o and that I was running Exchange on a Domain Controller :-o. Overall I was impressed with the interface and how easy it was to use. I kept thinking that - man, this will be a great tool to tell people to run and send me the export so that I can review it with them.
Most releases aren't without glitches, and when I first ran the tool yesterday, none of the links indicating how to learn more about the problem or how to fix it seemed to work. This problem was fixed very quickly though and all the links seem to work now. I was a bit surprised about one message that it came up with when I displayed the full issues list. It displayed a message indicating that Cache Age Limit has been set. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that it displayed this, but at least it wasn't displayed as an error, but rather just as a non-standard configuration. However, the KB article that the more information page includes doesn't include Exchange 2003 yet (thought I'm sure that will be updated). That particular registry entry used to be VERY useful on Exchange 5.5 when dealing with permissions propagation, but I think usage died out quite a bit with Exchange 200x. It was nice to see that it noted (on the link) that this particular registry key could be used to offset the typical "up to 2 hours" it might take for mailbox limits to take effect.
It was also nice to see that the error about "no primary WINS server" really included some good information as to when WINS is and is not required.
Overall, I was very pleased with how the tool works. While I think many "seasoned" Exchange admins may already know and avoid most of the issues this may come up with, it will be super useful for a lot of people.
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