Winning the Battle with the Exchange Server Tools

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There are various Exchange server tools available, which are meant for troubleshooting and managing Microsoft Exchange. These tools are dependent on the working environment. We are going to discuss some of these tools, which are vital for the functioning of the Exchange Server, in a seamless manner.

We would like to discuss some of these useful tools for the Exchange Server. These are:

  • Essential Reporting Scripts
  • Log Parser Studio for Connections
  • Power Shell Integrated Script Editor
  • Jetstress and Storage Configuration
  • Insight into the Mailbox with MFCMAPI
  • MS Remote Connectivity Analyzer
  • Wireshark or Netmon for Network-level Knowledge
  • Server Role Requirement Calculator or Network Bandwidth Calculator
  • Active Directory Exchange Management Tool
  • Exchange Backup and Restore Tools

Essential Reporting Scripts

These scripts are essential for finding important information on Exchange Server environment. These are valuable for the first time users in order to access important information quickly. Some of the reports worth mentioning are:

  • Architecture Report of Exchange 2010
  • Exchange Virtual Directory HTML Report
  • Backup scripts for Exchange Database

Log Parser Studio for Connections 

This is to address connection issues in Exchange with the help of a set of some logs in the tools and then accessing the predefined reports for faster access of information. We can build queries for filtering such information.

Power Shell Integrated Script Editor 

Powershell ISE is actually installed in Windows 7/8, but surprisingly it serves as a one of the best tools in Exchange Server. This serves the purpose of the lightweight Powershell script editing. It is an integrated script editor and has a clear GUI. Large chunks of code can be read easily with the colour of the code. The built-in snippet wizard saves time while scripting and a pre-defined function can be selected for editing, with this scripting snippet. This is not suitable for intensive kind of job, else others tools need to be used.

Jetstress and Storage Configuration 

Jetstress is used for the validation of the storage configuration. There have been efforts from the Exchange Server Product Group for the optimization of low-cost storage but the requirements of the storage have to come out from the Server Role Requirement Calculator results. Jetstress is used for simulation of the load on the storage as in the case of a real production scenario. There are some defined parameters and the tool is used to perform and measure against these parameters, thus defining storage behaviour. The result is a “PASS” or a “FAIL”.

In case it fails, then we need to recheck. We should not proceed with the production of the Exchange Server without “PASS” criteria.

Insight into the Mailbox with MFCMAPI 

The Microsoft Foundation Classes MAPI is one of the most important administrative tools for the Exchange Server. It is basically an editor for the MAPI (Messaging Application Program Interface) properties of the mailbox. The connectivity with other mailboxes is also achieved through this. This can be used for troubleshooting of the inbox rules for the mailbox as well as for checking the successful application of the retention tags.

MS Remote Connectivity Analyzer

This is to test for the connectivity with the Exchange Server. This is can be done after the publication of the Exchange Server environment to the internet. The correct configurations of the firewalls and load balancers between the Exchange Server and the internet can be quickly done through this tool.

Wireshark or Netmon for Network-level Knowledge 

While handling firewall or load balancing issues, we need to understand the network issues. These network level knowledge are made possible through these tools.

Exchange Backup and Restore Tools

Backup and Restoration can be done with a number of tools in Exchange Server. There are special software like Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery Software, PCvita Exchange Recovery which are capable of mounting the database with the .edb format (Exchange Database) and also generating log report of the entire recovery process.

A virtual environment can be also handled by some tools. The software allows you to export the database files in the .PST format or to a mailbox, so that they can be easily accessed. The powerful scanning algorithms for these software can recover accidentally deleted mailboxes also.

Restoration through Exchange is not advisable, due to broken message platform, but we need to fix Exchange. These tools need to be avoided, because Microsoft does not support these tools always. But, they can always be required as the last option.

Server Role Requirement Calculator or Network Bandwidth Calculator 

New designs are to be created in Exchange environment for deployments or migrations. The hardware requirements of the server have to be decided. Microsoft offers services for IOPs, disk space and the usage of the CPU. But the Server Role Requirement Calculator or Network Bandwidth Calculator can provide additional support. The Return on Investment for the time spent on these tools is of immense value. The Mailbox Role Requirement calculator is updated with the changes brought about in the software. Guidance on the log file usage for the both the above tools have also been provided.

Active Directory Exchange Management Tool

Since Exchange Server is the backbone of the messaging services in the organizations, we need a synchronized Active Directory. This tool will be able to create, delete and migrate Exchange mailbox and Mailbox rights and many more such features.

 

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