Microsoft recently released version 2.1 of its Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool (a.k.a. ExBPA), with many new features and some bug fixes. If you have an earlier version of ExBPA, you'll be prompted to upgrade to version 2.1 the next time you run it. The new wealth of statistical features alone makes it worth the upgrade.
Among the new features in ExBPA 2.1, you'll find:
Many new rules for analyzing gathered statistics, a good number of which were garnered from extensive used feedback. New rules include "Circular logging is disabled," "Message routing look may exist," "Administrative file shares disabled," "Version of TCPIP.SYS installed on this computer may require a hotfix," "SiteName is hard-coded," and dozens more.
Support for UDP as well as TCP, which can be used to (for instance) test availability of WINS servers.
Cluster reporting, which distinguishes between problems on physical nodes vs. virtual servers.
A new Performance Baseline report, which gathers statistics from Exchange Server for two hours and produces a report based on its behavior (and the behavior of the host OS) during that time. This is best run during peak hours to get the clearest possible picture of the system's behavior. Multiple servers can be polled at once, and the tool doesn't need to be run on the server itself to gather statistics (although it should be run from a machine which can derive WMI information from the server).
Host Bus Adapter (HBA) API information collection. Host bus adapters (for Fibre Channel storage devices) that can deliver statistics to the system about their performance can now have their stats gathered by ExBPA. Note that you'll need to have WMI extensions for HBA installed on the server for this to work.
About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter and a regular contributor to SearchExchange.com.
Do you have comments on this tip? Let us know.
Related information from SearchExchange.com:
Tip: The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer Tool
Learning Center: Toolbox for Exchange administrators
Reference Center: Exchange administration tools
Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting