Top Exchange Server performance monitoring and troubleshooting tools

Maintaining a healthy Exchange server is critical to achieving peak performance. Leveraging the monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities of tools such as the Performance Monitor, which prevents growth-related performance issues through capacity planning and long-term analysis, can help. You'll also learn about tools that can simulate workloads to stress test Exchange Server as well as tools that can pinpoint the root cause of any performance problem that may be crippling your Exchange server.

An overloaded Exchange server can severely impact productivity and performance. However, deploying the proper Exchange Server monitoring and troubleshooting tools can help. In this resource guide, get an overview of some of the top tools for monitoring and diagnosing performance problems. Some tools can simulate workload stress to test Exchange Server, while others can help you prepare and plan for changes or upgrades to your Exchange...

Server architecture that may affect performance.

Performance Monitor for Exchange
To prevent growth-related Exchange Server performance issues, the Performance Monitor tool offers long-term capacity planning and trend analysis. The tool collects data from your Exchange server and analyzes the results to forecast potential performance issues and outages. The following tools can be used in conjunction with the Performance Monitor to provide enhanced performance monitoring and logging capabilities:

  • The Performance Monitor Wizard
    The Performance Monitor Wizard lets you monitor performance objects and counters for both Windows and Exchange servers. This is important because Exchange Server runs on Windows. If Windows isn't healthy, Exchange isn't healthy. Microsoft's Performance Monitor Wizard is designed to make performance monitoring easier and it can be customized for Exchange environments.
  • Microsoft Operations Manager
    Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) watches over Performance Monitor counters and alerts administrators when they must take action. MOM offers a unified view of an Exchange server's health while also providing a targeted diagnosis of any performance issue. Learn how to set up Microsoft Operations Manager and get best practices and strategies for configuring MOM to work with Performance Monitor for optimal Exchange Server performance.

System Center Capacity Planner
The System Center Capacity Planner includes workload simulations, such as network load, to determine if your current setup will meet workload requirements. Not only can the Capacity Planner tool calculate how much server power you need now, but it can gauge how much you will need in the future given your current growth rate. Read our step-by-step guide on designing an Exchange Server architecture model with System Center Capacity Planner to create, customize and fine-tune your Exchange deployment configurations.

Exchange Server Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer Tool
The Exchange Server Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer Tool (PTA) diagnoses the root of cause of performance problems on Exchange servers. It does require system resources that can cripple an already-struggling server. However, the PTA tool is designed to reveal the root cause of the problem with minimal effort, while tools like Performance Monitor require you to guess what might be wrong.

Exchange Load Generator and Exchange Server Stress and Performance Tool
Exchange Load Generator, which replaces Microsoft's LoadSim tool, runs on a number of different client computers to simulate an adjustable level of activity. The goal is to use these statistics to get an idea of what load the Exchange server can handle. The Exchange Load Generator is one of a number of tools used to test Exchange Server. Another is the Exchange Server Stress and Performance Tool, which is designed to simulate extremely high-load stresses. It does not simulate specific user activity though; the Exchange Load Generator is more for that purpose.

Exchange Best Practices Analyzer Tool
Microsoft's Exchange Best Practices Analyzer Tool (ExBPA) is a diagnostic tool that generates and analyzes gathered statistics of an Exchange environment. It also produces a performance baseline report based on this data.

This was first published in October 2008

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