A Better Monitoring Solution for Your Exchange 2003 Deployment

You've heard it before, but just in case...

This blog has been moved to http://blogs.technet.com/gerod_serafin/default.aspx.  The old link should still work as well as the RSS feeds.  My reasons for switching are:

  1. Better search.
  2. Ability for those who don't have RSS readers to get this in emails.  Just click on "Email" and you can subscribe to be emailed when this is updated.
  3. More current blog platform.  (Community Server vs. .TEXT)
  4. And I guess "TechNet" is a term that we are all more familiar with.

Now for the update:

Better information facilitates rapid failure detection, reduces time to resolution, and reduces management cost and complexity.  I've been asked a lot recently which monitoring tools to use with Exchange 2003.  It seems that everyone wants me to tell them the alternatives to MOM 2005.  If you want to do the research yourself, I ask you to look for the following things in the product:

  1. End to end monitoring of Exchange 2003. (Message tracking, Front-End Monitoring, Service Monitoring, Mailbox Availability, Mail Flow Monitoring)
  2. Baselining of server performance on a continual basis.
  3. Repository for Knowledge that can be re-used.
  4. Reports to visualize performance data, to understand usage trends, perform accurate load balancing, and manage system capacity.
  5. Reduce the need for admins who do daily checklists in the morning, by emailing the results to team instead of relying on one person to check this.
  6. Out of the box rules to monitor and preemptively send alerts about the performance, availability, and security for Exchange, AD, Hardware, and ADC.
  7. Rules updated by the developers of the products being monitored.
  8. Single interface for all monitoring: HP Insight Manager, Exchange, AD, ADC, etc.
  9. Includes an Exchange “Best Practices Analyzer” (EXBPA) Management Pack.
  10. Create scheduled reports to send management.

If your product doesn't do all of the above, then I guess technically you still have an alternative.  Unless you can do all of the above, then you are not really aware of what is going on in your environment.  This is not your old Exchange server any more.  Your Exchange environment does a lot more than it used to do.  If you asked me for a way to keeping your valuable thing (i.e. sports car, house, phone system) in good shape, would you want me to give you an alternative to the best solution?  Does monitoring your Exchange 2003 environment that keeps your business running any less important?  Do you really want the solution to be a product that is actually a hodge-podge of other products bought from multiple companies by a hardware vendor and then forced together and re-branded as a new and improved suite?  (Oh, and you will still have to configure it.)  If so, good luck with your alternative(s).  Just don't ask me how to configure it to do what MOM 2005 does, because it can't.

MOM 2005 does 1-10 and more, and a majority of this is straight out of the box.  I used to say: "I don't care if you have MOM 2005 or not, but just get something to monitor your Exchange 2003 deployment."  Now I realize that statement is false.  I do care.

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