Zenprise targets Exchange management software at SMBs

E-mail management vendor Zenprise last week released for small and midsize businesses a version of its software that roots out the cause of trouble in Microsoft Exchange infrastructures and suggests remedies.

The company is hoping Zenprise SMB will help overworked IT managers in smaller businesses get a better grip on managing Exchange. The SMB software is similar to the full Zenprise platform for large organizations, but does not require the use of Microsoft's SQL Server, does not support clustering and does not ship with a reporting module.

Zenprise works by collecting information from throughout Exchange's messaging environment, including global catalogs, domain controllers, DNS servers and Active Directory, in order to pinpoint the underlying cause of problems or to ferret out potential problems.

After those problems are deciphered, Zenprise specifies a resolution customized for the user's environment, including the specific names of servers and components that need repair.

While users of the enterprise version can plug into full-scale databases, the SMB version works with Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2000) Service Pack 3, a free desktop version of the database. Zenprise also is not including the reporting module, which is geared more for large enterprise deployments of Exchange.

"We have taken the knowledge of Exchange infrastructure experts and put it into our software," says Ahmed Datoo, vice president of marketing for Zenprise. "Administrators like us supplying them with answers. They are learning about Exchange through our product. They learn how to modify a DNS record, a specific account."

The heart of the software is based on three algorithms for which Zenprise is seeking patents. The correlation algorithm takes symptoms and groups them together as being related. The causation algorithm includes a set of automated tests that are run to determine the root cause of a problem, and the correction algorithm provides detailed step-by-step resolution instructions.

Zenprise includes a symptoms database that houses all known Exchange symptoms and their associated causes. The database works much like anti-virus software in that it is updated regularly using data gleaned from the local system, from other Zenprise customers and from Microsoft itself.

Zenprise SMB supports up to 1,000 users and pricing starts at US$2,500 per year for organizations with fewer than 50 employees.

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