Microsoft has released an updated version of a free tool that helps Exchange administrators get more out of their server software.
Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer v2.0, which was originally released last year, now has a few additional features. Among the highlights are:
There is new support for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005, the latest release of Microsoft's server management software. The tool can now be run automatically as part of a MOM agent, Microsoft said. This way, MOM can alert any problems found in Exchange to the MOM console.
To make this feature work, IT administrators need to be running the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 on each Exchange Server. This software already resides on Exchange Server 2003, but it's not on Exchange 2000 Server.
- The analyzer software adds some improvements to its DNS collector, which improves the ability to look up domain name system records, Microsoft said.
- The tool allows comma-separated value-format reports, and the command-line version of the tool now more closely aligns with its user interface counterpart.
- A new feature scans global configuration data without requiring an IT administrator to scan each Exchange server in the topology.
Lee Benjamin, principal at ExchangeGuy Consulting, in Boston, praised the fact that Microsoft makes regular updates to this free tool, which can "not only point to things that may be out of whack, it can also check to identify settings that are non-standard".
"The nice thing about MOM integration is it can run on a regular and consistent basis to see what's running on the Exchange servers," Benjamin said. "If someone changes a server on my network, I can learn about it. I can schedule it as part of my system management infrastructure where someone can be constantly watching it."