Exchange tools: new & improved

Microsoft made available a set of Exchange tools, some are new, others just updates. Let’s start on the new ones:



These two tools build on the framework of ExBPA and allow us to define a set of iterative steps to be performed to achieve a particular goal. The Microsoft Exchange Team has published a post regarding this subject: New additions to the ‘Analyzer’ Tool Family.


Let’s move on to the updated tools. The main reason for these updates has to do with the recent release of the Exchange 2003 service pack 2:


Baseline BIS TCO Assessment – v3

The Baseline BIS TCO Assessment analyzes a customer’s actual IT costs and helps you to measure the ROI of migrating to Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 from NT4, NetWare, Exchange 5.5, and GroupWise. It will only take you about 1 hour to gather information about their IT environment for the tool. The Online Training and a Brand New Project Guide are also available – Training is HIGHLY recommended. This tool is focused on the 50-500 Desktop customer (up to 1000 employees). It is designed to be completed and delivered by a Partner, not the end customer.


I’ve played with the tool a little bit. It gives me a cool report comparing the TCO for the old and new scenarios. The Baseline BIS TCO Assessment – v3 is available here.

ADModify.NET 2.1 release

Mark Fugatt posted about the new release of ADModify.NET. Here is the list of the new added functionality:



  • Added MAPI user enable/disable (requires Exchange 2003 SP2)

  • Fixed bug in variable parser to allow literal /% and /’ strings

  • Fixed killmail code to include all attributes listed in KB 307350

  • Added “Update Email address on General Tab” option for both cmd and gui versions, for updating the mail attribute when a primary SMTP address is added

  • Added wildcard search ability when removing email addresses

  • Added “do not remove primary” option when removing addresses

  • Added Wireless OMA/UIS/UTD options in GUI

For those of you who don’t know this tool, ADModify is very useful for bulk user attributes modifications in the Active Directory. Ben Hoffman posted an example on how to use it:


Updated Exchange tools

Microsoft released some updated versions of old tools. If you are one of those guys who just have to have the latest version of everything, here are the links:





HP Storage Planning Calculator for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003


[click on the image for a larger view]

While at Tech.Ed I had the opportunity to attend a session from Jurgen Hasslauer, MSG381 Exchange Server Sizing, where I was introduced to a fantastic tool: HP Storage Planning Calculator for Microsoft Exchange Server 2003.
This free tool provided by HP (a registration may be needed) eases the burden of planning the storage of an Exchange 2003 server. The tool takes into account factors like capacity, performance, backup time, restore time, user profile and we can even generate a pricing breakdown report!


As Jurgen said, we (consultants) should all be worried, because the tool does much of the work we are supposed to do.


Make sure you also visit the site HP ActiveAnswers for Microsoft Exchange Server, where you can find other tools and guidance documents that will help you with many Exchange related tasks.

Sender ID Framework SPF Record Wizard


This four-step wizard will guide you through the process of creating a new SPF record for your DNS domain.  You should add this DNS record to your domain’s DNS configuration.   Note that you may need to manually edit the SPF record created by this wizard if you want to use some of the more advance features of the SPF format.  For complete details please refer to the SPF record specification at http://www.microsoft.com/senderid.


I discovered this while reading Gerod Serafin’s blog.


[UPDATE]
Uuups… I forgot to mention that the wizard is available here.
Meanwhile I found out that there is another wizard at this site.

ExBPA Version 2.1 is out!

Version 2.1 of the famous Exchange Best Practices Analyzer Tool (ExBPA) is now available for download.


I haven’t tried it yet, but Paul Flaherty have. According to him this new version adds performance checks:


When you select a Health/Performance Check, ExBPA will do the “normal ” health check, but it will then take 240 performance monitor samples every 30 second (So the whole scan will last over 2hours).
Once complete, it will then compare the samples it collected against the Troubleshooting Exchange Server 2003 Performance whitepaper and make recommendations.
” 


Cool!

[UPDATE]
Meanwhile, the site You Had Me At EHLO blogged about this: