Monitoring Tool Takes Control of Exchange Networks

BindView Development Corp. will release a product next month designed to give e-mail administrators better control over Microsoft Exchange systems that are handling growing numbers of users and messages.

The company says its bvControl for Microsoft Exchange will enable administrators to analyze configuration, security and performance data to weed out potential problems and forecast future needs.

The software has query-based tools and a monitoring engine. The query tools let administrators check the configuration of servers, mailboxes and user attributes, find corrupt attachments and check access rights to public folders.

For example, a query can be run to determine which servers have outdated versions of Service Packs. E-mail administrators also can find their most active users, and scan the contents of mailboxes and public folders for keywords that may violate messaging policies.

The monitoring engine keeps track of performance counters and event logs, and can send alerts. An autocorrection feature can restart failed services, such as the Message Transfer Agent.

"We are using this as a planning tool," says Jim Schultejans, unit manager for Commerce Bancshares in Kansas City, Mo.

Schultejans used bvControl to discover that one of his three Exchange servers, which supports 4,500 users, had up to 3G bytes of space taken up by stored attachments. The company is now considering a policy to have users employ FTP to send large attachments. He is also monitoring the rollout of Exchange public folders.

"We will track usage and try to determine if we need to add another server just for public folders," he says.

BindView's bvControl polls machines from a central location so software does not need to be installed on each server. Users can set up any number of bvControl stations to monitor blocks of Exchange servers and connect them to a central console that plugs into Microsoft's Management Console. This feature eliminates a step that is required with the management tools Microsoft provides. Those tools require data to be exported to a spreadsheet for analysis.

The BindView software ships with about 50 Knowledge Scripts that can check services such as mail queues to see if they are near capacity.

The software, expected to ship in the middle of next month, will be priced at $1,500 per server and $12.95 per mailbox. The console license will cost $4,000.


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