Exchange Server 2007 Management and Maintenance Practices : Maintenance Tools for Exchange Server 2007 (part 1)

12/8/2013 8:28:09 PM

Several new and improved tools are available to administer and manage an Exchange Server 2007 environment. There are Microsoft Management Console snap-ins, an automation and scripting shell, and several tools native to the Windows Server 2003 operating system and the Exchange Server 2007 application.

The Exchange Management Console

The Exchange Management Console shown in Figure 1 is one of the primary tools provided with Exchange Server 2007. This utility replaces the Exchange System Manager from Exchange 2000/2003 and can be used to manage Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2003 servers in the organization.

Figure 1. Exchange Server 2007 Exchange Management Console.

The Exchange Management Console is a snap-in that is designed to work with the new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0, a new and improved version of the MMC. To install MMC 3.0 on a system, the system must be running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (SP1) or higher, or Microsoft Windows XP (SP2) or higher. MMC 3.0 is included by default with Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 and Microsoft Windows Vista.

Unlike the Exchange System Manager, which allowed administrators to access all configuration settings of their Exchange 2003 environment, the Exchange Management Console is designed to allow administrators access to common configuration settings from the familiar graphical user interface (GUI). However, many aspects of the environment cannot be viewed or modified with this utility. For such configuration settings, the Exchange Management Shell, which is discussed next, must be used.

The Exchange Management Shell

The second utility for managing an Exchange 2007 environment is a new automation and scripting tool called the Exchange Management Shell, shown in Figure 2. This shell is a command-line management interface that can be used to administer servers in an Exchange 2007 organization. Built on Microsoft Windows PowerShell technology (formerly code-named “Monad”), the Exchange Management Shell can perform any task that can be accomplished in the Exchange Management Console, and a lot more. In fact, many configuration settings in an Exchange 2007 environment can only be accomplished using the Exchange Management Shell.

Figure 2. Exchange Server 2007 Exchange Management Shell.

The Exchange Management Shell can be installed on computers with a 32-bit processor running Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, and Windows Vista.

Exchange Best Practices Analyzer

The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA) is included in Exchange Server 2007 and can be found in the Exchange Management Console toolbox.

The ExBPA can be used to run health checks on an Exchange environment, and can also run performance checks, permissions checks, and connectivity tests to assist when troubleshooting problems.

The ExBPA should be run whenever a new server is added to an Exchange 2007 environment, or whenever configuration changes are made.

Disaster Recovery Tools

Also included in the Exchange Management Console toolbox are two utilities designed to analyze and maintain Exchange databases. The Database Troubleshooter can inspect existing databases and available transaction logs and report on any problems found. The tool also offers recommended steps that should be taken to ensure the database is healthy.

The Database Recovery Management utility is intended to assist administrators when a database is unable to mount. This tool also generates recommended step-by-step instructions to follow to bring the database back online.

Mail Flow Tools

The Mail Flow Troubleshooter is a utility that assists with troubleshooting common mail flow issues in an Exchange environment. Administrators can input the issues they are encountering, and the utility gathers information, diagnoses the environment, and presents a recommended plan of action.

The Message Tracking utility allows administrators to search for messages and track them through the Exchange environment. Message tracking can be extremely useful for determining where a message was delayed or “stuck” in the messaging environment.

The Mail Flow Troubleshooter and the Message Tracking utility are both included in the Exchange Server 2007 Exchange Management Console toolbox.

Exchange Queue Viewer

The Exchange Queue Viewer is another utility included in the Exchange Management Console toolbox that is added to an Exchange server when the Hub Transport or Edge Transport role is installed. The Exchange Queue Viewer is used to view the contents of the queues for each particular protocol on a server. Although this tool is more of a troubleshooting tool, it is important to periodically check protocol queues (for example, SMTP or X.400 queues) to ensure that no delivery problems exist.

Performance Tools

The Exchange Management Console toolbox includes two tools that are designed to monitor and troubleshoot performance issues in an Exchange environment.

The Exchange Server Performance Monitor is based on the Windows Performance Monitor, but includes a series of predefined counters that are specifically related to an Exchange environment.

The Performance Troubleshooter is designed to help administrators identify and locate performance issues that are impacting the Exchange environment.

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