The Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA)

The Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer tool (ExBPA) is designed for administrators who want to determine the overall health of their Exchange servers and topology.

The tool scans Exchange servers, identifying items that do not conform to Microsoft best practices, programmatically collecting settings and values from data repositories such as Active Directory, the registry, metabase and performance monitor. Once collected, a set of comprehensive best practice rules are applied to the topology using an XML schema and a detailed report produced listing the recommendations that can be made to the environment to achieve greater performance, scalability and uptime.

According to the Exchange Security website:

“ExBPA’s purpose is to automate some of the basic health-and-sanity checks that an experienced Exchange administrator, consultant, or PSS engineer might do when evaluating an unfamiliar environment. It’s not designed to find every possible mistake you can make (heaven knows there are plenty); instead, it’s intended to help you quickly find well-known misconfigurations and administrator errors. It checks the protocol configurations for SMTP, POP, IMAP, LDAP, and HTTP; GC/DC accessibility; hop counts and routing latency for message routing; the packet size and contents of the link state table; and basic DNS configuration stuff.

You can tweak the rules to control which specific areas ExBPA checks for, which is handy. ExBPA generates XML report files that you can parse yourself, or import into another instance of ExBPA on another machine. One output is a list of issues that the tool found – this is similar in concept to the problem report you get from MBSA, and it serves the same purpose of allowing you to quickly pinpoint and fix whatever needs fixing.”

Further details are available at the Microsoft Exchange team blog (you had me at EHLO…) and known issues are discussed on the Microsoft website.

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