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Ten Tools Every Exchange Administrator Must Know About

Administrators are the ones that manage and handle not only the mailboxes residing on Microsoft Exchange Server. But, they also play a huge role in implementing timely and correct disaster recovery measures at times of catastrophes to prevent data loss. Therefore, tools are the need of the hour for a server administrator to tackle such issues within a short duration and without committing any faults. Communication is the primary component in an organization to keep it up and running. Thus, it is necessary to keep the platform providing communication services also up and running at all the times.

Thus, here is a list of the top ten tools that every Exchange Server Administrator must know about and keep handy for an organized handling of server and its database. The following utilities are what an administrator has always wanted for the continuous monitoring and timely troubleshooting of issues with the database that later grows up to become the primary cause of catastrophic disasters.

1. Database Recovery Management

This application is applicable to Exchange Server version 2007 of SP1/2/3. The Database Recovery Management tool is meant to offer assistance on the reduction of the time consumed in recovery and streamlining the procedure in case of database related issues occur on the production servers operating MS Exchange. The tool is a part of the MS Exchange Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer tool, which is better known as ExTRA or. The tool can be found in Exchange Management Console of the server's 2007 version under the section named Toolbox.

The peculiarity of this tool is that it is integrated with a number of tasks that help resolve database concerning issues. This includes verifying the Exchange database along with its transaction log for any requirement of troubleshooting. Moreover, database repair is offered along with removal/creation of recovery storage group, copy/merge mailbox data, database mount/dismount, and more.

However, the repair served by the tool is generally considered risky and not recommended especially in case of availability of backup. This is because the tool omits damaged pages of the database as part of its repair scheme, which terminates any/all possible scopes of recovery.

2. Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer Tool (ExPTA)

This application from and for Microsoft Exchange is meant to collect the configuration details, performance related counters, and rest of the server related information from Exchange. This is done as part of the tool's purpose of serving troubleshooting service based on performance monitoring which is possible through these details.

The tool does the analysis of entire Exchange and server subsystem in order to examine bottlenecks, if any. It then totals the collected information to put forward important findings of the detected bottlenecks and offer solutions that offer rectification for mending the server performance.

However, all this can only be made possible by fulfilling the predefined requirements of the tool. In order to use the tool you must have a Windows 2000 Pro/Server Family, XP or 2003 family. Apart from that, a mixed or native mode - Exchange 2003, 2000, or 5.5 messaging system is required along with.NET Framework version 1.1.

3. Dcdiag

Both, Microsoft Exchange Server as well as Windows Server does not have any application in support of the diagnosis of Active Directory and related issues. Active Directory is a vital part of the Exchange Server and offers a considerable amount of options along with flexibility. Therefore, to keep Exchange up and running smoothly, it is also important that your AD too be in a similar condition. Thus, its diagnostic service is as important as that of the Exchange, which is rendered by Dcdiag.

Even though Windows Server comes along with the Dcdiag tool for testing each Domain Controller but the utility is still installed as a Windows Support utility part. The Window Server version 2003 comes along with the utility, which can be installed by selecting suptools.msi, named file. The tool offers a wide range of options for the diagnosis process that are applicable with the help of options and command-line switches a list of which is provided within the tool itself.

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