I’m not quite sure where I’ll go with this blogging attempt… I have a million ideas but when I start writing I hate them all… so I’m just going to scribble down some things I find interesting in my day to day work with PSS and see what happens… many of these will be about support issues.
There have been a few blogs written on the PSS tool pfdavadmin. It's a great tool that can be used to help clean up from permissions being incorrectly set on the virtual M: drive. I won't go into detail on its normal usage as it is discussed another blog at: http://hellomate.typepad.com/exchange/2003/10/the_pfdavadmin_.html
What I do want to write about is using this tool in a hierarchy replication case I recently worked on.
After working through getting nearly 3000 public folders and a TON of data replicated to a new Exchange 2003 Server we discovered that the number of public folders was off by one between the servers. One child folder, somewhere between 2900 other child folders nested in 100 parent folders had not replicated to the hierarchy on the new server. How do you find 1 folder?
Normally, you can just issue a hierarchy request with a registry setting change on the new 2003 server by following http://support.microsoft.com/?id=321082 and not worry about it. Once you bounce the information store, the request is sent, the hierarchy will update and all is fine with the hierarchy by the next day at the most.
But - in this case, bouncing either Public Folder Store was not an option as many of the public folders were mission critical. We could have waited until the next maintenance window - but that would have held up our migration for well over a week. So I needed a way to compare the two server hierarchies so that I could modify the problem folder.
Now, I am sure I will get a hundred messages saying – “oh Kyle, you’re so dumb, this is easy, do this… blah blah blah” but I used a little feature in pfdavadmin and a simple file compare utility.
With pfdavadmin you can EASILY export the public folder permissions from your Exchange servers. The intent is to use this for comparing or finding permission settings using another tool called pfadmin (which many of you may already be familiar with). I ran an export from each server which creates an alphabetical list of all the folders and their respective permission settings that each server knows about. I then loaded each off these files into the file comparison utility windiff (Included with the Windows 2000 Support tools) and literally in seconds had my missing folder staring at me. We then added the new server as a replica (making a change and forcing a hierarchy update on this single folder) and minutes later our hierarchy was completely in synch. Oh yeah, we also noticed one folder who had permission problems and fixed those at the same time – so two birds with one stone.
Just another small example of the greatness of pfdavadmin…. I’m sure I will blog about it again.