Updated Exchange Tools Released

Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer 2.6 released

The ExBPA v2.6 has been released and includes improved usability of the tool. To download ExBPA, please go here or just go to www.exbpa.com! The direct download is here. Here are the major differences and improvements:

  1. Tabbed reporting interface instead of a drop-down control.
  2. Scan types are presented through radio buttons, so the different scan types available are much more obvious.
  3. Group by "Issue" option when viewing list reports.
  4. An ExBPA shell extension which allows you to right-click on an XML in Explorer (or apps like WinZip) and "View with Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer".
  5. ExBPA now works through proxy servers that require authentication.
  6. New 'Permission Structure Check' scan type. This iterates through both the domain naming context and Exchange section of the configuration naming context and will notify you if inheritance has been blocked at any level. In addition, ExBPA will also check for inheritance blocks in the configuration naming context during a regular 'Health Check'.
  7. Better reporting of cluster resources and groups.
  8. Very latest rule set, including all the updates made to v2.5, which include the IIS metabase / transport event sink checks. In addition, we have introduced some new rules including:
    • If you look in the "Information Items" report, the very first info rule details the version of ExBPA that was used to capture and analyze the data.
    • A new object processor that uses DsGetSiteName to ascertain the AD site membership of the Exchange server and all DC/GCs in the DSAccess topology.
    • Certificate checking. For every SMTP domain defined, we attempt to obtain the SSL cert. If we find it, we'll check that the principal matches the host name and if the cert is close to expiry (or has already expired).
    • For connectivity errors, ExBPA now displays the underlying exception (e.g. Access Denied) in the Error rule itself. You no longer need to manually go through the Run Time log to see the actual error string.
  9. All XML files are digitally signed to improve security and prevent tampering/spoofing. On startup, ExBPA will check that a valid signature (and Microsoft certificate) is on each XML. If the XML has been modified, a popup error will be seen and ExBPA will refuse to run.

Exchange Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer (ExPTA) 1.1 has shipped

The Microsoft Exchange Server Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer Tool is designed for administrators who need to determine the root cause of Exchange Server performance issues. You can get the latest version here!. This release of ExPTA includes the following:

1. Perfmon data collection: Collect performance data to log file or analyze previously collected logs. ExPTA can collect for durations between 5 minutes to 8 hours. Collection works remotely. Data is analyzed in 20 minute time ranges, and results are grouped by the time in which the problem occurred. You can analyze logs previously collected by ExPTA or via perfmon. ExPTA will expect that the performance counters listed below are included in any log that is analyzed.

2. Queue thresholds: SMTP Server\Categorizer Queue Length, Epoxy(IMAP)\Queue length, EPOXY(POP3)\Queue length, LDAP times, MSExchangeIS Public\Replication Receive Queue Size, SMTP Server\Remote Queue Length, SMTP Server\Remote Retry Queue Length, SMTP Server\Local Queue Length, Virus scan queue length

3. Network thresholds: Network Interface\Packet Outbound errors, Network Interface\Output Queue Length, Network Interface\Bytes Total/sec

4. LDAP latency checks: MSExchangeDSAccess Domain Controllers\LDAP Search Time and MSExchangeDSAccess Domain Controllers\LDAP Read Time thresholds were added to detect problems due to bottlenecks on the AD server.

5. RPC requests: Max RPC requests, average RPC request thresholds are now dependent on the number of users per server

6. Memory changes: Validate that the Database Cache Size Peak < 1.2 GB. In addition, most of the memory rules have been changed to work off the maximum rather than the average values.

7. Improved reporting: Reporting of results between steps and the summary are now displayed in a consistent fashion, using tabbed pages for the different reports.

Microsoft Exchange Server Profile Analyzer Web Release 2.5

We are pleased to announce the availability of the Exchange Server Profile Analyzer WR2.5. This tool to help server administrators understand their user profile to help with the process of server sizing or capacity planning. A user profile describes how many actions an average user performs in an average day. The new version can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. List of enhancements included in EPA WR2.5:

- Dumpster collection - EPA now includes message content from mailbox "dumpster" folders when calculating message frequencies. Dumpster folders contain deleted content which has not yet been purged out of the database. The frequency data is reported with and without the additional dumpster content analysis in the output report.

- Message permanently deleted frequency - Because of the our new ability to analyze content in dumpster folders, EPA will now report how often messages are deleted permanently.

- Overall mailbox size reported regardless of time restriction - The calculation of overall mailbox size, rules and folder related statistics is not restricted by timeframe anymore. The timeframe restriction will only be applied to statistics related to individual messages, such as message frequency, attachment, recipient, etc. This change should result in faster EPA analysis runs and also removes the need to potentially run EPA twice against the same environment to gather statistics.

- Timestamp in the log - EPA now shows a time stamp for each entry in the log and console output. This allows tracking of how much time is spent on collecting data from individual mailboxes.

- Immediate data report before Ctrl-C - EPA will save whatever data it collects at the time a scan is cancelled with Ctrl-C to exit from the program for any reason. This feature allows you to still take advantage of any statistics that EPA has collected up to that point.