ISA Server Best Practices Analyzer v3 (ISABPA) Just Released…


The ISA team just released the latest version of the ISA BPA to the web – here’s the list of enhancements from the mail announcing it internally. If you see bold in an odd place, that’s my emphasis.

The ISA Server Sustained Engineering team is excited to announce the RTW of the Microsoft© ISA Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool (IsaBPA) V3.

What has changed in the new version?

  • ISA Server 2006 integration.  The IsaBPA now works with both ISA Server 2004 and ISA Server 2006.
  • Pack ISA Diagnostics Tool enhancements. This tool packs the ISAInfo report, IsaBPA report, ISA Server traces, MSDE logs, event log, data from several performance counters, and network captures into a single file and places it on the desktop, ready to be sent to support engineers in case there is a problem. This tool launches a new generation of ISA Server data collection for PSS and is expected to benefit customers by reducing the time needed to handle many support cases.
  • We added new checks to the new IsaBPA. There are now 193 rules. The focus of this release was on rules for Site-to-site VPN with IPsec. This new suite joins the Hardware, Authentication, OWA, and SSL Certificates suites that were introduced in previous versions.
  • View more settings.  The detailed View pane contains almost all ISA Server configuration settings that can be viewed in ISA Server Management, including all policy rules, network rules, networks, alerts. More than 850 configuration settings are now displayed.
  • Friendlier UI. We modified the UI slightly in line with other Microsoft products for easier report access.
  • Bug fixes. We fixed several bugs that were discovered in the previous version.

The ISA Server Best Practices Analyzer has several cool features. The tool has a Live Update mechanism. It allows the administrator to check whether there are new updates for the tool and download them. You can set this tool to check for live updates each time it starts. In addition, if you are a command-line person, you can run this tool from the command line or schedule a weekly scan.

IsaBPA can be used in a number of ways. It can be used to proactively check the health of ISA Server deployment, identifying ways that may increase the stability of the system, improve security and improve performance. It can also be used to assist troubleshooting of a particular issue. In many cases the use of IsaBPA can eliminate the need for calling Microsoft support or significantly reduce the cost of a support call.

It is noteworthy that the tool is not invasive. It does not change anything in the system. IsaBPA only informs the administrator about probable issues and suggests ways to fix them.

IsaBPA is freely available.

The ISA Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool can be found at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=D22EC2B9-4CD3-4BB6-91EC-0829E5F84063&displaylang=en

It should be installed on an ISA Server computer (SE or EE) with .NET Framework 1.1 installed.

Good for you, good for us! That makes it good for everyone! Group hug, people.

If you run an ISA Server installation, you should definitely check out ISABPA. You might find a problem you didn’t know you had, or find a tweak that helps your installation run better. I’ll be giving the new version a shot at home later.

The enhanced Pack ISA Diagnostics tool (in the Start menu, Microsoft ISA Server->ISA Tools) should prove immensely useful in gathering data for troubleshooting – it leaves a neat little CAB file on the desktop.

Go Practice Bestness™.

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