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Low-cost Exchange administration tools that won't break your budget

Admins must keep a close eye on Exchange Server to ensure it runs at peak performance. If cost is an issue, there are a number of free and low-cost tool options.

Running Exchange Server is expensive -- from the license to paying the IT staff. So any attempt to get more money...

for Exchange administration tools can be a tough sell.

The market is full of options for low- to no-cost third-party Exchange administration tools. Administrators who run a hybrid arrangement or are fully in the cloud with Office 365 can get additional help to manage the Exchange platform with a few of these utilities.

ExFolders

Administrators use this tool to analyze, set, export and import permissions for Exchange public folders. The free Microsoft utility helps troubleshoot issues with public folders or export current settings that admins can then import into a new server after a migration. Download ExFolders from TechNet.

Get-ExchangeEnvironmentReport.ps1

Similar to the Test-ExchangeServerHealth.ps1 script, Get-ExchangeEnvironmentReport.ps1 is a report generator for Exchange Server management. However, this tool also pulls in data from Office 365 and Exchange Online hybrid environments. Microsoft MVP Steve Goodman wrote the tool and offers further details on his blog. It's available for download on TechNet.

JetStress 2013

JetStress is a Microsoft tool that runs automated tests against the storage subsystem of an Exchange Server. This tool simulates workloads for highly configurable numbers of virtual users to help administrators test the Exchange Server system in certain situations, such as adding a large number of new users. The tool detects a wide range of storage issues, including cyclic redundancy check errors and I/O problems. JetStress 2013 displays results in real time and produces detailed test logs. For more information, check the blog post on the tool's field guide on TechNet and then head over to the download page to get the tool.

Mailscape 365

Because running Exchange is expensive … attempts to get even more money for Exchange administration tools can be a tough sell -- but there are plenty of free products available.

Mailscape 365 isn't free, but it is available for a 21-day free trial. The company guarantees -- in the form of a $100 gift card -- that an administrator can set up the product and find three issues within 90 minutes.

Mailscape 365 monitors the environment by running an extensive set of connectivity and configuration tests to verify clients can always connect and that Active Directory sync is functioning. It also features alerts for DirSync object quotas and subscription plan license limits. The tool also runs connectivity tests from multiple regions to verify operations are running normally for remote users.

This tool also features numerous reports for everything from mailbox use data to a list of client browsers and operating systems that are connected to Office 365.

Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer

The Remote Connectivity Analyzer is a web-based tool that functions as a remote client for the Exchange Server. This utility knows the proper configuration for Exchange Server and troubleshoots issues by checking its connection to the Exchange Server. The Remote Connectivity Analyzer scans for the proper configuration of certifications to see if Outlook clients can connect properly. If it finds a misconfigured setting, the Remote Connectivity Analyzer can suggest ways to fix it.

Test-ExchangeServerHealth.ps1

This script generates an HTML report about the Exchange Server's health and can email results to a set of recipients. The results page features a color-coded table of all the tests it ran; tests that passed, require attention or failed are highlighted in green, yellow and red, respectively. The script is housed in a GitHub repository. Paul Cunningham, a Microsoft Exchange Server MVP and PowerShell script expert, created the Test-ExchangeServerHealth.ps1 script and gives suggestions on how to use it in every Exchange organization.

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This was last published in January 2017

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