Microsoft Best Practices


What are Best Practices? According to Wikipedia:

Best Practice is a management idea which asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications.

At Microsoft, we love best practices for a couple of reasons.  They (1) reduce support calls down the line, which (2) makes your customers happy, which (3) allows you to sell more Microsoft software 🙂

If you search TechNet for “Best Practices”, you will find a few hundred results (link here), same with our Knowledge Base, and on TechNet Blogs 

Microsoft serves as a great source of Best Practices, due to the fact that our Partners and Microsoft Consulting Services have deployed thousands and thousands of real-world solutions based off of Microsoft products. Our Product Support Services teams have solved thousands and thousands of break/fix cases with Microsoft products.  Over time, we have developed some prescriptive guidance as to how you can set solutions up so that they work as expected, minimize failures, and speed recovery times in the event of an inevitable failure.

For many of our products, we have also developed (and released) Best Practices Analyzer tools that will scan your environment (Active Directory, WMI, SQL Servers, Registry Settings, etc).  After the tool runs, the settings are compared with the settings recommended by the product teams, based on our experience developing, implementing, and fixing the solutions.  I have made a list of our current Best Practices Analyzer tools below, and would recommend you run them in your environment, so that you too can implement our recommended Best Practices:

 

Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer v2.7

The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer programmatically collects settings and values from data repositories such as Active Directory, registry, metabase and performance monitor. Once collected, a set of comprehensive ‘best practice’ rules are applied to the topology.

Administrators running this tool will get a detailed report listing the recommendations that can be made to the environment to achieve greater performance, scalability and uptime.

Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2005.

The Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA) Management Pack can be used to deploy the ExBPA tool on computers running Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5, Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange Server 2003. Using a timed event, the tool will run automatically on each server and write any identified performance, scalability and availability issues to the Windows NT Event Log. The ExBPA Management Pack will interpret these events and generate the appropriate alerts on the MOM Management Console.

The ExBPA Management Pack works in tandem with the ExBPA tool:

· Identification of Exchange server configuration issues which could result in poor performance, scalability and unplanned downtime

· Automated analysis and root cause identification

· Support for third-party software and hardware

· Self-updating database and help content

· Links to over 500 articles on the Web

· Works with Exchange Server 2003, Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange Server 5.5 (in mixed mode topologies)

Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool

The ISA Server Best Practices Analyzer is a diagnostic tool that automatically performs specific tests on configuration data collected on the local ISA Server computer from the ISA Server hierarchy of administration COM objects, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes, the system registry, files on disk, and the Domain Name System (DNS) settings.

The resulting report details critical configuration issues, potential problems, and information about the local computer. By following the recommendations of the tool, administrators can achieve greater performance, scalability, reliability, and uptime.

Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and the 2007 Microsoft Office System

The Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and the 2007 Microsoft Office System Best Practices Analyzer programmatically collects settings and values from data repositories such as MS SQL, registry, metabase and performance monitor. Once collected, a set of comprehensive ‘best practice’ rules are applied to the topology.
Administrators running this tool will get a detailed report listing the recommendations that can be made to the environment to achieve greater performance, scalability and uptime.

SQL Server 2005 Best Practices Analyzer (February 2007 CTP)

The SQL Server 2005 Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) gathers data from Microsoft Windows and SQL Server configuration settings. BPA uses a predefined list of SQL Server 2005 recommendations and best practices to determine if there are potential issues in the database environment.

This download is the February 2007 Community Technology Preview of SQL Server 2005 Best Practices Analyzer.

Best Practices Analyzer Tool for Microsoft SQL Server 2000

Microsoft SQL Server Best Practices Analyzer is a database management tool that lets you verify the implementation of common Best Practices. These best practices typically relate to the usage and administration aspects of SQL Server databases and ensure that your SQL Servers are managed and operated well.

BizTalk Server 2006 Best Practices Analyzer

The BizTalk Server 2006 Best Practices Analyzer performs configuration-level verification by reading and reporting only. The Best Practices Analyzer gathers data from different information sources, such as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes, SQL Server databases, and registry entries. The Best Practices Analyzer uses the data to evaluate the deployment configuration. The Best Practices Analyzer does not modify any system settings, and is not a self-tuning tool.

Microsoft Commerce Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer

The Microsoft Commerce Server Best Practices Analyzer performs configuration level verification, by reading and reporting only. For example, the Best Practices Analyzer gathers data from Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes, Microsoft SQL Server databases, registry entries, IIS Metabase Settings, and other parts of your deployment, and uses the gathered data to determine whether best practices are being followed. The Best Practices Analyzer does not modify any system settings, and is therefore not a self-tuning tool.

Comments (8)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good Question…

    After I wrote this post, a new Group Policy Best Practice Analyzer was released (http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=70e0edec-66f7-4499-83b7-4f2009df2314&displaylang=en),
    but there is not an AD BPA that I am aware of.  Microsoft Consulting Services does offer what is known as ADRAP (Active Directory Risk Assessment Program) which involves an onsite visit from a consultant, a reveiew of the AD infrastructure, and then personalized
    recommendations.  More information here:
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/8/e/58ededaf-4de0-4fd3-b500-8a8f6bbfe1f4/ADRAP_Datasheet_v1.0t_English.pdf

  2. Anonymous says:

    I could have sworn there was an Active Directory BPA as well, but you dont make mention of it..  Am I mis-remembering?  Do you know of such a tool?

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