Explaining the Exchange 2007 Toolbox
With the help of the Exchange 2007 Toolbox, it is possible to analyze the performance of your Exchange Servers and to view the Mail Queues of your Exchange Servers. This article is based on the Exchange 2007 Beta I, available for download at the Microsoft Developer Network. As you will see in this article, the Toolbox owns well known tools from Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003 but the Exchange 2007 Queue Viewer has changed substantially. Please note that all information in this article is subject to change.
The Exchange 2007 Toolbox contains three Analysis tools:
- Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer
- Exchange Server Performance Monitor
- Exchange Queue Viewer
To use the tools in the Toolbox, start the new Exchange 2007 System Manager and navigate to the Toolbox container. On the right side you will find the Analysis tools that are available in Exchange 2007 Beta 1. I expect that Microsoft will enhance the Toolbox in the final Exchange 2007 version but there is no guarantee of that.
Figure 1: Exchange Toolbox Container
Exchange Tools Website
Microsoft has linked the Exchange Tools Website into the Exchange System Managers Toolbox. On the Actions Pane click “Open Tools Website” and you will be linked to the Exchange Server 2003 Tools Website. There are some well-known tools like Exmerge, Microsoft Searchadmin and many more. At the time of writing this article there are no publicly available Exchange 2007 tools. For an overview of the Exchange 2003 Web Tools read my article here.
Figure 2: Exchange (2003) Tools Website
I think that Microsoft will update the Website or change the Link to the Exchange Tools in the Exchange 2007 toolbox after the first Exchange 2007 tools are available. Currently we can only use the tools for Exchange 200x. Some of the tools should also work with Exchange 2007 but I haven't tested every tool with Exchange 2007.
Exchange Best Practice Analyzer
The Microsoft Exchange Best Practice Analyzer is now tightly integrated within Exchange 2007, so it is no longer necessary to download and install the Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer manually. The Update mechanisms will be the same. The Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer can update itself at start up or at the time you specify in the ExBPA tool.
The Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer in the Beta I release of Exchange 2007, is older than the Exchange Best Practice Analyzer on the Microsoft Exchange Website so it seems to me that this is not a special version for Exchange 2007.
The Version number of the Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer on the Microsoft Website is 2.6.7812.0 at the time of writing this article.
The Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer Version that comes with Exchange 2007 Beta I is 2.5.462.19.
Figure 3: Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer Version from Exchange 2007
But this is not a problem. Try to run the Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer against Exchange 2007 and you will see some interesting points. There are some differences to Exchange 2007 that the ExBPA is not aware of, but most of ExBPA seems to be working. I’m sure that Microsoft will update the Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer Tool for Exchange 2007 specific configuration as soon as possible.
Exchange Server Performance Monitor
The second tool in the Exchange Server 2007 System Manager Toolbox is the well-known Exchange Server Performance Monitor. Yes, we are talking about the Windows Performance Monitor. The Exchange Server Performance Monitor in Exchange 2007 comes with some predefined counters related to Exchange 2007.
Figure 4: Exchange 2007 Performance Monitor Counters
Explanation of some Exchange Performance counters
There are two counters that are related to the number of Messages Received and Sent per Second.
Four other counters are specific to the RPC traffic. As all of you might know, Exchange uses RPC for several components and the main E-Mail Client Outlook uses RPC to communicate with the Exchange Server.
On highly utilized Exchange Servers or Exchange Servers with moderate hardware, many of us have seen a high Rate of RPC traffic in Perfmon or the notice in Outlook that Messages are transferred to and from the Exchange Server and the connection is delayed. For this problem Microsoft has released the Exchange Server Best Practice Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer which you can download here. You can read here more about this helpful tool.
Exchange 2007 has been optimized to reduce the RPC workload but you should carefully monitor some of the RPC counters.
Exchange Queue Viewer
The Exchange 2007 Queue Viewer is not new but the component in the Toolbox that has the most changes and improvements.
The Exchange Queue Viewer opens in a separate Window and remains open when you close the Exchange System Manager.
The reason is that the Exchange 2007 Queue Viewer is now built into a Standalone MMC SnapIn.
Figure 5: Exchange 2007 Queue Viewer MMC SnapIn
Like in Exchange 2003 it is possible to show the Messages in the different Exchange message queues. It is possible to Freeze messages or to remove messages from the Queue with or without generating a NDR (Non Delivery Reports).
Figure 6: Overview of the Exchange 2007 Queue Viewer
You can filter messages by several variables and criteria. For example, with Exchange 2007 it is now possible to filter by extended criteria like SCL (Spam Confidence Level) from Microsoft Exchange IMF (Intelligent Message Filter). To create a Filter click Create Filter.
Figure 7: Exchange 2007 Filter selection
In the Actions pane on the right side it is possible to save the created filter as Default or to set the Limit of the number of items to display.
In this article I gave you an overview of the Exchange 2007 Toolbox and how to use each of the tools. All of you should be familiar with this tool. The Performance Monitor is not new to Exchange and Windows, and the Toolbox only links to the Windows Performance Monitor. Nothing new on the Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer. The version that ships with Exchange 2007 Beta 1 is older than the Exchange Server Best Practice Analyzer on the web but I recommend using ExBPA to see what the tool reports about Exchange 2007. You should also spend some time on the Exchange 2007 Queue Viewer. This tool has some enhancements.
Introducing Exchange 2007
Exchange 2007 Overview
Frequently Asked Questions about Exchange 2007