At TechEd, I learned about some of the latest and greatest tips and tools for Exchange. I would like to share with you some of the tools that are critical for any Exchange Admin. Let's start with a couple of my favorites:
1. Exchange Mailbox Server Role Requirements Calculator – This tool has proven very useful on a number of occasions and the team provides constant updates to ensure realistic calculations. To simplify you enter your requirements and the tool provides output on your storage configuration as well as backup and replication requirements.
2. Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer (ExRCA) – This is an excellent tool that allows Exchange admins the ability to validate their Client Access Service configurations (EWS, Outlook Anywhere, ActiveSync.) and SMTP functionality via an online tool; very useful in testing and troubleshooting.
3. Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator – a great tool that provides administrators the ability to forecast network bandwidth requirements based on the number of and type of Exchange access client used. It also provides a nice graph, very cool.
4. MFCMAPI - Uses Microsoft's published APIs to provide access to MAPI stores through a graphical user interface. Its purpose is to facilitate investigation of Exchange and Outlook issues and to provide developers with a canonical sample for MAPI development.
5. Exchange Server Deployment Assistant (ExDeploy) – An online tool that walks through deployment options and generates custom instructions for moving your organization to Exchange 2010 or Office 365. Gives a good general idea of the steps and requirements for deployment based on your input.
6. Microsoft Exchange PST Capture – As many organizations move to Exchange 2010 with archiving data policies take on greater importance. This tool will allow administrators to discover and import PST files directly into their Exchange environment.
7. Calendar Checking Tool for Outlook (CalCheck) – A good tool for checking for calendar problems within a specified mailbox. It performs various checks on general settings, such as permissions, free/busy publishing, delegate configuration, and automatic booking. This tool can be used diagnose issues or identify trends.
8. Microsoft Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool (OCAT) – As with the CalCheck tool this tool provides a quick and easy method to analyze Outlook profiles for common configurations that cause problems providing a detailed report of the current Outlook profile and mailbox. This report includes many parameters about the profile, highlighting any known issues.
9. Microsoft Active Directory Topology Mapper - reads Active Directory configuration using LDAP, and automatically generates a Visio diagram of your Active Directory and/or Exchange topology. The diagrams may include domains, sites, servers, organizational units, DFS-R, administrative groups, routing groups and connectors and can be changed manually in Visio if needed. Very useful for getting a head start on creating a detailed diagram of your environment.
10. Microsoft Exchange 2010 Visio Stencils – As implied contains a Microsoft Office Visio stencils with shapes for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and later.
Hopefully I’ve provided you with some new information, I myself wasn’t aware of all of these. I recommend taking a bit of time to play around with the options in the planning tools and see how changes affect the results. If used properly these tools can provide a great starting point for planning your environment, troubleshooting and mapping to finalize an overall layout.