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Boosting Exchange performance

Need to improve your Exchange server performance? Here's the scoop on an implementation of a new Exchange reporting tool.

IT administrators looking for richer detail about how their Microsoft Exchange servers are performing have some improved options for analyzing and reporting their messaging data.

Quest Software Inc. this week released a version of its Exchange messaging usage analysis and reporting software, called MessageStats version 3.0, which improves the way reports are sorted and grouped. The software is useful for customers who are looking for an affordable tool that provides detailed reporting information for Exchange messaging systems.

International Truck & Engine Corp., Warrenville, Ohio, is using the software to monitor its 24 Exchange servers located worldwide. It works in conjunction with other systems management software packages from IBM's Tivoli and BMC Software, Houston, used throughout the company.

Todd Purifoy, an enterprise messaging administrator at International Truck & Engine, said the Quest software will be used specifically by the company's Exchange team to monitor performance of the company's messaging infrastructure. The company is currently on Exchange 5.5, but will be moving to Exchange 2000 sometime after the company upgrades to Windows 2000 and Active Directory in November.

The software will be looking at the volume of messages sent throughout the company and the number of megabytes of data that traverse each server. Purifoy said that by being able to view if one server is sending out on inordinate number of messages, so the company can determine if it needs to add servers or make changes in any other way.

The software can also help calculate how much mail is sent internally and how much mail is sent out to the Internet.

Purifoy installed the software on a SQL Server database. "Once we set up and installed the software, we could tell the servers where to collect data," he said. The software lets customers set thresholds and collect a variety of information about Exchange traffic. Other IT staff, including remote IT managers who oversee local Exchange servers, can read server traffic reports about their servers on the Web.

Purifoy works closely with Quest as one of a team of customers who are helping the software company develop its products. He said his cost for MessageStats was about half of what Tivoli or NetIQ were charging for a similar application.

Tim Grieser, a research director at International Data Corp., Framingham, Mass., said MessageStats is the type of application that does well in times of tight budgets because it targets a specific application and a specific problem.

"Rather than buy or extend a framework, customers are looking for point solution to cover a point of pain," Grieser said. "How does an Exchange administrator cover more servers, more traffic or manage more users without increasing headcount or spending more? Software that leverages the skills of the IT domain can be sold in the short term."


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