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The Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool automatically examines an Exchange Server deployment and determines if the configuration is set according to the Microsoft best practices.

Microsoft recently released a tool to try and ease the burden of Exchange admins. For those familiar with MBSA the interface and use is basically the same. The analyzer tool, or ExBPA as it is known as, examines your Active Directory for a list of Exchange servers and then checks versus an XML file (ExBPA.Config.xml) to see what is different between the best practices and the server. The beauty of having the checks stored in an XML file is that it can be easily updated from Microsoft as they release new version of the product or new bug fixes. This check can be enabled upon startup of the program so it is always kept up to date.

Upon launching the program there are several steps one can do. Either connect to AD or view a previous report. Upon connecting to the server, one can select a specific Exchange server or scan all of the servers in the enterprise. A scan of one my servers took under 5 minutes without hindering performance of the server, note the server was on the Local LAN. After scanning it brings one right to the report viewing section of the tool. Here one can either export the file, print it or view it.

While printing the report for a hard copy, might be preferred to some, the best use is view reports through the tool. This allows for clicking on each issue and then there is a link to solve the problem. For example a recent report showed HeapDeCommitFreeBlock Threshold not set. While this did not mean anything right off the bat, clicking on "Tell me more about this issue and how to resolve it" allows for further investigation and a solution. If the problem is something that might be a false positive or something that needs to be set for your organization, "Do not show me this issue again for all instances" will prevent it from being shown.

Most questions and their answers can be found at the FAQ at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2003/exbpafaq.mspx and further help can be found through the newsgroups. Microsoft created a specific group for tools that can be used with Exchange, microsoft.public.exchange.tools, where most of the people that wrote the product hang out and respond. Also many MVPs will respond to your questions.

Information for this node was taken from http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/downloads/2003/ExBPA/Overview.asp, from the mentioned newsgroup and personal experience.

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