Optimizing your Exchange Server 2003 Deployment using Exchange Best Practice Analyzer 2.0


Installation and Updates


You can download Exchange Best Practice Analyzer 2.0 at www.exbpa.com – the default URL of this tool. There you can find further information on the tool and you can find all the recently developed Web Updates Packs for it.


You can install Exchange Best Practice Analyzer 2.0 on your Exchange Server 2003 or on any administrative Workstation running Windows 2000 SP4 or Windows XP. After having done the installation, you can now install the appropriate Web Update Pack. The Web Update Pack provides new XML files (see figure 1) used for the detection and optimization process.




Figure 1: Web Update Pack Files


The installation of these files is quite easy, just copy them to the directory (subtree “en”) you have installed Exchange Best Practice Analyzer and restart it. That’s it.


Using Best Practice Analyzer


When you start this tool it first tries to connect to the Internet to check for updates. After the check, it is ready to use.


The first page shows a selection of things you can do:



  1. Configure a new scan
  2. Open a saved scan



Figure 2: Welcome Screen of Exchange Best Practice Analyzer 2.0


After you have selected “Select options for a new scan” you can configure the connections to Active Directory.




Figure 3: Select Options of a new Scan


After having chosen the scope of this new scan, you can configure what check you want to perform:



  1. Heath Check
  2. Connectivity Test
  3. Baseline

A health check performs tests checking if your Exchange Server is running properly and none of the services are having any problems. A connectivity test checks whether your Exchange Server is ready to connect to other servers and that clients can connect properly. The baseline check performs a server baseline for a new installed server system to have a documented baseline for future checks. This provides you with a way to successfully find any errors in your Exchange system.


After having chosen the scan to perform you should configure the network speed to adjust the estimated time values.


After the scan is ready you will get documentation on the problems or optimizations you should configure to use “Microsoft Best Practices for Exchange Server 2003”.




Figure 4: Select the filter for the best practices report


As you can see, you can now select which events you would like to view. You can filter nearly everything you want and by double clicking the issue itself, you can now choose what you want to do to solve the issue.




Figure 5: Solve Issues in Exchange Best Practice Analyzer


If you now go through the issue list and solve every problem you will have a best practice configured Exchange Server environment in your network.


Conclusion


The goal of every implementation of Exchange Server 2003 should be an installation based on the Best Practices. Exchange Best Practice Analyzer 2.0 works on the basis of IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF).


In my opinion, during the last steps of the implementation of Exchange Server 2003 in your network environment Exchange Best Practice Analyzer 2.0 should be run to optimize the configuration of each Exchange environment to optimize them.


For further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

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