Exchange SLA scorecard

Got this from Tony Soper’s blog http://blogs.technet.com/tonyso/archive/2005/08/12/409120.aspx and it looks pretty cool.


Exchange SLA scorecard


Microsoft is developing an Exchange SLA scorecard. The userguide introduction explains:


 


“As we move into more complex and interdependent applications, it becomes increasingly difficult to track the capabilities of various IT services. Furthermore, it seems that there is no single formula or presentation mechanism to easily roll up the data and demonstrate that IT is in fact meeting the needs of the business and achieving its service level agreement (SLA) targets.


 


Microsoft IT has become a world-class IT organization, possessing much experience in managing a large enterprise and achieving great success in messaging service delivery. Microsoft IT is diligent in its operations management processes and metrics management. They track key components and derive measurements that truly show how IT services are performing against business needs. They measure service delivery based on IT scorecards and SLAs. These metrics and measures allow them to fine tune services and achieve high availability with the Microsoft® Exchange Server messaging platform. However, since there is no industry standard for measuring services, customers frequently ask, “How does Microsoft do it?” The SLA Scorecard Solution Accelerator for Exchange provides customers with best practices for measuring the service delivery of Exchange.”


 


The official name of the Beta is Microsoft Solutions for Infrastructure and Management Exchange SLA Scorecard.


 


Beta 2 of the scorecard is in use by a small group for customers in the Technology Adoption Program under NDA and other formal agreements. The TAP program is closed to new customers for getting official support from Microsoft. However, anyone can download the SLA materials, with BetaPlace registration, which includes signing a EULA. These “open beta” customers only get limited best-effort email support from the product team as time allows, but can still enter bugs and suggestions.


You can download the SLA Scorecard Beta 2 at http://www.beta.microsoft.com with the user name MSIMExchangeSLA (Case sensitive).


The beta includes the following components and features that are compatible with Exchange 2000/2003:


  • SLA Reporting Engine – Creates the reports using SQL Reporting Services and renders the reports to the SLA Reporting UI
    • SLA Business Logic –
    • Exchange 2000/2003 availability metrics  for :
    • FrontEnd  Server Role
    • Mailbox Server Role
    • Public Folder Server Role
    • Gateway and Bridgehead server roles.
    • Client Availability (Outlook 2003)
  • For Exchange 2000/2003 measures for:
    • # of internet messages received
    • # of messages filtered by IMF
    • # of connections blocked
    • # of recipients blocked
    • # of senders blocked
    • # of Exchange messages delivered
    • # of anti-virus attachments removed
    • # of anti-virus attachments purged
    • % messages filtered by IMF
    • Client Performance
  • SLA DTS – The DTS package automatically extracts only the information from the MOM DW that is required by the Scorecard which reduces the footprint of the SLA DB thus reducing the time required to calculate and display the reports. 

Why?


The scorecard shows more than just service uptime.  It roles up availability by Exchange server role for all Exchange servers in the enterprise.  It allows you to configure your SLA target metrics and aggregates MOM event and performance data, displaying actual availability vs. SLA target.  


In addition, there are about 11 measures that give you a picture of the “workload” the infrastructure is doing.  You can use this to help tune performance to more effectively achieve the SLA target.  For example, using a version of the scorecard accelerator to monitor outage maintenance, Microsoft IT is able to categorize each particular outage and export the entire outage table to Excel.  This helps Service Managers and IT Managers demonstrate that from an end to end perspective an email outage is more than an application outage.  By slicing and dicing the outage data in prep for Service Review Meetings they can present where the majority of outages are occurring and focus efforts in those areas as appropriate. This makes a nice tie-in to change/problem management.

ExBPA v2.1a package released

We’ve refreshed the Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer v2.1 package at http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/exbpa. If you run the MSI, it will identify itself as v2.1a. You can in-place upgrade from v2.1 to v2.1a. Application version number (as shown in the About… link):

ExBPA v2.1 2.1.7599.0
ExBPA v2.1a 2.1.7599.4

NOTE: ExBPA v2.1a is available for U.S. English only.

Here is the list of bugs fixed with v2.1a:

MSI always sets the ‘DataDirectory’ registry value to the default setting even when the user has specified a different folder.
Output XML files are placed in the wrong folder when run under the scheduler.
Scheduling functionality does not work on Windows 2000 computers.
Date and numeric values are not interpreted correctly when running on a computer with non-U.S. English regional settings.

In addition, the latest Config XML (2.5.0.1) is included with the package. Short list of changes from the previous Config XML (2.4.0.1):

Warns if the store is stopped on a bridgehead server.
Correct PAE recommendations for Windows 2000.
Conditioning implemented to recognize the difference between Recipient and Mailbox Manager policies.
Performance check no longer executes if ExBPA is running under the MOM agent.
Front-end detection now works for both Exchange 2000 and 2003 servers (previously, only 2003 was detected).
The “Connectivity Test” now checks for perfmon accessibility problems.
The “Connectivity Test” should not create event log entries when running under MOM.
Replication metadata now collected for Exchange Domain Servers, Exchange Enterprise Servers and Routing Group objects.
Performance counter information now easier to read when looking at the ‘Baseline report’.
Important CA eTrust process exclusions promoted from Warning to Error.

TechNet Support WebCast: How to troubleshoot Offline Address Book issues in Microsoft Exchange Server

Thursday, August 18, 2005: 10:00 AM Pacific time (Coordinated Universal Time -7 hours)

This Support WebCast will present information to help you troubleshoot Offline Address Book (OAB) download issues in Microsoft Exchange Server. The WebCast will focus on how to troubleshoot issues that occur when the OAB is generated or downloaded.


http://support.microsoft.com/?id=905482

TechNet Support WebCast: How to troubleshoot the Microsoft Exchange Client by using Microsoft Network Monitor

This looks like it should be fun.


Thursday, August 11, 2005: 10:00 AM Pacific time (Coordinated Universal Time -7 hours)

This Support WebCast will describe how support engineers use the Microsoft Network Monitor utility to troubleshoot Exchange Client connectivity issues. We will go over a generic remote procedure call (RPC) logon sequence, best practices, tips and tricks, and why we ask for concurrent Client and Server captures to help resolve support incidents. We will also examine Network Monitor captures that were taken during support incidents to show how they helped resolve the issue.
http://support.microsoft.com/?id=905465

Microsoft to Acquire FrontBridge Technologies, a Leading Provider of Secure Messaging Services

REDMOND, Wash. — July 20, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it will acquire FrontBridge Technologies Inc., a leading provider of managed services that address corporate e-mail security, compliance and availability requirements. With this acquisition, Microsoft will deliver a service for enforcing compliance through archiving, minimizing spam and viruses, and ensuring e-mail availability in the case of a disaster. FrontBridge’s scalable service-delivery model can be applied to organizations using other SMTP-compliant e-mail servers, requires no upfront capital investment and minimizes IT management overhead, enabling companies to concentrate their scarce IT resources on areas that most directly impact their business, such as driving innovation, building efficiencies and increasing customer satisfaction.


http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/jul05/07-20FrontBridgePR.mspx