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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Friday, November 04, 2005
 
New Exchange tools released
Microsoft released a bunch of new tools on November 2nd.  Along with PFDAVAdmin, which I mentioned the other day, they have released the following tools:
 
1.  New version of Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA).  The new version is version 2.5 and includes some enhancements and additions to both the UI and the database.
 
2.  A new tool called the Exchange Server Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer Tool (ExPTA).  At first glance, this would appear to be a tool to help admins determine root causes for performance problems.  It will be able to gather perfmon counters, tracing information, etc. and then analyzes that data to present information on what the root cause could be.  It seems like this functionality could be compared to tools such as Quest's Spotlight for Exchange.  Though obviously more advanced, Spotlight allows admins to see potential bottlenecks and act accordingly.  Still, it's nice to see Microsoft release a product that does some of this natively.  I don't think it's meant to serve as direct competition for 3rd party providers of tools like these such as Quest.  It's kind of like comparing NTBackup to 3rd party backup tools.  NTBackup works, but it doesn't have some of the value-add functionality that 3rd party software companies can provide.
 
3.  Another new tool called the Exchange Server Disaster Recovery Analyzer Tool (ExDRA).  This should be a great tool for Exchange admins to have in their toolkit.  According to the overview on Microsoft's website, it will basically gather configuration data and header information from both the databases and log files, then analyze that data and give you a list of problems as well as instructions on how to resolve the problem.  I see this as a tool that is meant for the seeming trend of less-experienced Exchange admins.  However, it's a tool that should be beneficial to any Exchange admin, even the most experienced ones.  I know I'll definitely try it out.
 
You can find these tools on Microsoft's site at the following location.  http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/downloads/2003/analyzers/default.mspx
 
In addition, the Exchange Team blogged about these new tools here.  My feed reader (IntraVnews) didn't pick up that post for some reason, so this may be old news to you.

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