There is a plethora of tools available to analyze logs on Web servers like Internet Information Server (IIS). These tools can help systems administrators determine what most of their access traffic consists of -- i.e., the most popular pages, the times of day when a site is accessed most often, total bandwidth used, and so on. The results can then be displayed in a series of graphs that are usually rendered as HTML.
But what about similar analytical applications for email servers? I've wondered about that myself, and have cast around to find a program that can provide the same type of monitoring, log file analysis and statistical reporting for Microsoft Exchange Server.
As it turns out, such a utility does indeed exist:
MailDetective can work with conventional SMTP servers, such as QMail and Sendmail, as well as Exchange 2000 and Exchange 2003.
It comes in two basic iterations:
- A regular version that uses a local, internal database (Paradox) to store its statistics
- An Exchange Server edition that can use Paradox or a SQL Server database
MailDetective will analyze your Exchange Server log files and create reports by various criteria -- mail server, time of day, day of the week, internal email address, external domain. It also lets you group and sort your results in various ways -- graphs can be flat tables, charts, or a mixture of each; and all can be saved as templates and reused as needed.
For MailDetective to work with Exchange Server, Exchange Server's message tracking feature has to be enabled. In addition, MailDetective must have access to your Exchange server's log directory.
The program can be run either interactively from a GUI with wizards, or from the command line using a console version of the program to run an existing report. This way, reports can be run non-interactively from a scheduler or on-demand from a script.
Each edition of the program can be downloaded and evaluated for 30 days; a 25-mailbox license for MailDetective is $199, with discounts available for bigger needs.
About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.
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This was first published in October 2006