Microsoft Exchange Server, as you know, is an email server, calendaring software and contact manager designed and developed by Microsoft Corporation, and it is preferred in many organizations across the world for information exchange over emails. When it comes to the term ‘Server’, we can predict that the technology is beyond reachable to laymen, and therefore the administrator manages the overall operations and related settings. In other words, network administrator is the one who is responsible for managing the overall networking operations in organizations.
For instance, some users are authorized to exchange emails outside the network domain of the organization, while others can exchange emails within the network domain only.
Well, the administrator is one that implements such type of network policies. In order to perform these and all other networking operations, the administrator utilizes different tools. Some of these tools are added to Exchange Server, while others are the external ones. In this post, I would like to bring 10 great MS Exchange tools under the spotlight, which the Exchange administrators should prefer using.
1. Exchange Server Role Requirement Calculator
The role of the Exchange Server is quite crucial since it stores and manages data that users access almost every day. Therefore, the administrator needs to design Exchange Server role correctly, which actually is critical for the admin himself.
Exchange Server 2010 allows deploying a solution that benefits the mailbox with flexibility so as to keep multiple copies of a database across several data centers of the organization. It also provides the administrator with the ability to understand what all is required to design his own solution.
For instance, to design user profile, mailbox size, message profile, and the number of users are the prime requirements.
2. Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer
This tool enables the administrator to validate the configuration of the ‘Client Access Service’ as well as the SMTP settings via an online tool, which is valuable in both testing and troubleshooting phases. In addition, the admin can perform ‘Exchange Web Service connectivity tests’, ‘Internet Email tests (POP, IMAP, inbound/outbound SMTP)’, ‘Outlook Connectivity tests (Outlook Anywhere and Autodiscover)’, and ‘ActiveSync Connectivity tests’. In order to analyze message header, the tool provides ‘Lync /OCS tests’, ‘client tests’, ‘Office 365 tests’, and a new message analyzer.
3. Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator
Client Network Bandwidth Calculator is a great tool that enables the administrator to predict the likely requirement of bandwidth in the company based on both the number and the type of Exchange access client used in the company. The algorithms implemented to predict all such information are developed after a number of significant stages of testing and respective observations. The tool also features a very nice graph that looks pretty cool.
With the development of such a significant and convenient tool, the risks involved in deployment of Exchange Server have been minimized greatly.
4. Exchange Server Deployment Assistant (ExDeploy)
Exchange Server deployment assistant is a web-based tool that assists the administrator with a checklist to make sure that all requirements are fulfilled to deploy Exchange Environment.
This tool performs all such operations by asking a few questions to the administrator about the current environment through its web-based UI, and then generates a customized checklist in order to assist the admin in deployment of different versions of Exchange Server that are based on different scenarios. The following three versions of Exchange Server deployment are:
On-premises deployment: in this, administrator can install new on-premises Exchange 2010 or 2013 deployment, Or else, he can upgrade his current environment to one of these Exchange Server deployments.
Hybrid Deployment: In this, administrator can set up Exchange 2010 or 2013 in order to support on-premises users as well as cloud users in Office 365.
Cloud Only Deployment: In this, administrator can take his Exchange deployment to the cloud in Office 365.
This tool provides direct access to MAPI stores in GUI (Graphical User Interface) mode by using the APIs published by Microsoft. Well, the device aims to provide access to the issues encountered in both Exchange and MS Outlook. This tool also provides a canonical sample to developers for development of MAPI.
6. Calendar Checking Tool (CalCheck) for Outlook
The Calendar checking tool for Outlook finds out problems in general settings, automatic booking, delegate configuration, and free or busy publishing by performing several checks on Outlook calendar. Moreover, the issues find in Outlook calendar can be fixed with this tool right through its command-line interface. However, the calendar must by synched with Exchange Server, as the tool does not support calendar synched with other email servers, including IMAP and POP3.
Once the tool is done checking the aforementioned things, it begins checking calendar items and events that most likely lead to missing calendar items in future.
7. Microsoft Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool
This tool works in a way that is similar to CalCheck, and performs a quick checkup of the Outlook mailbox for some common problems in account configuration, which may lead to issues in generating a detailed report of the Outlook mailbox under checkup. Based on the checkup performed with this tool, administrator may get to know many issues.
8. Microsoft Active Directory Topology Mapper
This tool generates a Visio diagram of the Active Directory or/and Exchange Topology implemented in the company by studying the Active Directory configuration with LDAP. The tool can also be used to change administrative groups, servers, routing groups, connectors, organizational units, and domains added to the Visio diagram as per the requirements.
The tool can be used to read the Active Directory Structure via LDAP, as it automates Microsoft Office Visio to draw a diagram of ‘Active Directory Site topology’, DFS-R Topology, ‘Active Directory Domain Topology’, and ‘OU structure’. Administrators can also retrieve crucial information of Active Directory, such as the information of one site or one domain.
9. Quest Free Network Tools
‘The Quest Free Network Tools’ is one of the several tools developed by Quest to help out Exchange Server administrators. This Exchange Server management tool provides a set of 16 features with copious troubleshooting assistance. Hopefully, the administrators will be able to overcome the problems with this tool.
10. Steve Goodman’s Exchange Environment Report
This tool actually is nothing but a PowerShell script that automatically generates an overview of the MS Exchange environment supporting a range (i.e. 2003 to 2013) of versions of Exchange Server. Using this Exchange environment-reporting tool, administrators can figure out ‘the number of mailboxes per version of the Exchange Server’, ‘the number of servers per Exchange Server version’, ‘the Exchange roles deployed in the environment’, ‘site-by-site breakdown of mailboxes’, and ‘the breakdown of each Database Availability Group’.
Well, I really hope the information provided in this post is valuable for administrators in order to manage the Exchange Server environment for the benefits of the company. Since every single email has some significance for individual as well as for the organization, a secure email exchange environment must be there. Using the Exchange Server tools (as discussed above), the administrators can manage the Exchange Server environment easily as well as in a secure way. Therefore, I recommend using a tool based on the requirement.