Last September we announced the release of the Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool. This tool has been extremely successful and widely used. Building on that success, we are now announcing the release of version 2. Version 2 incorporates a lot of new features and enhancements based on the feedback we have received from customers and our own support engineers and IT department. The major features of this release are MOM integration, new baselining logic, simple scheduling capabilities, localization to several other languages, and many other features and fixes. You can view the complete list of new features at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=44436.
Our MOM integration story features a new ExBPA Management Pack and some additional capabilities of ExBPA to work properly with MOM. For each issue found, ExBPA will now raise an NT log event so that MOM can properly report on it and take action if needed. When run in this mode, ExBPA will run locally on each server (just like the MOM agent) and process just the local server. ExBPA is still fully capable of running independently as well. The Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=583FA809-F151-4784-AFD4-44D0B7687E6A.
We have changed the baselining logic considerably. This little-used feature in V1 allowed for servers to be compared to each other. Instead of doing that, we now present a new screen to the user that allows them to select the properties they want to compare and the values they want to check for. We will then generate a report that lists all the properties on the selected set of servers that do not equal the value specified. This feature can now be used to do some simple tracking of changes being rolled out across a deployment. If there is enough demand, we will provide capability for populating the property values from a specified server.
Because configurations change regularly, we recommend rerunning ExBPA on a regular basis (at least weekly). When installed with MOM, ExBPA will already be run periodically. But we also wanted to provide some capabilities in this area for those customers with MOM. The new scheduling capabilities let you specify a run interval for ExBPA to run unattended (daily, weekly, or monthly). You will still need to manually look at the results (unless you have MOM), but at least it takes some of the effort out of it.
Another major effort that has occurred in this release is the localization of ExBPA to many different languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Simplified and Chinese Traditional. And unlike V1, which just had the help and UI localized, all the web content is also localized now. Note that because of turnaround times required for localizing content, new and updated rules and articles will only be published in English for the automatic updates and won’t be localized until the next major release.
We hope everyone is as pleased with this new release as they were with V1. Its success has been very exciting for all of us involved, and we are looking forward to working with everyone to continue to push the envelope in automated analysis. Thank you.