Thursday, December 22, 2011

Exchange 2010 Pre-Deployment Analyzer

The Exchange 2010 Pre-Deployment Analyzer is a free download from Microsoft, and is based in part on the Exchange Best Practices Analyzer. Some of the tests the Pre-Deployment Analyzer runs are the same as those run during the prerequisite checks the Exchange installer runs, but the approach of this tool is different in several notable ways.

First, the Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer is targeted towards users who are evaluating their overall environment. The checks that run during the initial steps of an Exchange installation are more focused on the actual server on to which you are trying to install Exchange. The tool checks your Active Directory forest and domains, and analyzes any existing Exchange 2003 or 2007 servers you are running to ensure that they are at the correct patch level to support the introduction of Exchange 2010 into the organization. If problems are found they are reported as either Critical, or Warning. Critical issues are those that will stop your Exchange 2010 deployment in its tracks, and must be addressed before proceeding. Warnings are those things that may cause issues or reduce performance, but are not show stoppers.

The checks that are run can be found in the XML file, and include the following:

Reporting on the forest structure, including trees, domains, sites, admin groups, routing groups, Exchange 5.5 servers, Exchange 2000 servers, Exchange 2003 servers, total mailboxes, domain controllers, and how many Active Directory domain/sites have Exchange servers installed.

Verifying that the Schema Master is Windows 2003 SP1 or later.

Identifying Active Directory domains that are not in native mode.

Identifying Active Directory sites that do not have a global catalog server running Windows 2003 SP1 or later.

Verifying that there are no Active Directory Connector servers.

Identifying all SMTP site links.

Verifying that the Exchange organization is in native mode.

Identifying any non-standard proxy address generators.

Identifying any ambiguously defined email addresses in your recipient policies.

Identifying any non-MAPI public folder hierarchies in use.

Identifying Routing Groups that span Active Directory sites.

Identifying any Active Directory sites that span Routing Groups.

Identifying any Routing Group Connectors that have specialized settings.

Identifying any SMTP Connectors that support non-SMTP address spaces.

Identifying any SMTP Connectors that use inline domain.

Identifying any X.400 Connectors in the topology.

Identifying any EDK-based Connectors in the topology (excluding Notes).

Verifying that any servers running Exchange 2003 have SP2 or later.

Verifying that any servers running Exchange 2007 have SP2 or later.

Identifying any SMTP virtual servers that are not using port 25 for incoming/outgoing.

Verifying that all Exchange 2003 servers have SuppressStateChanges set.

Identifying any Exchange 2003 servers that have active NNTP newsfeeds.

Identifying any Exchange 2003 servers that use the Event Scripting service.

Identifying any Exchange 2003 servers that have the ExIFS (a.k.a. M:) drive enabled.

Identifying any parts of Active Directory that have Access Control Entry inheritance disabled.

That’s quite a list. Sure, you could check all of these manually, but would you really want to? Anything that the Pre-Deployment Analyzer finds that could cause you problems is brought to your attention in the final report, which lets you quickly identify things you need to change, upgrade, or decommission before proceeding with your first Exchange 2010 server installation.

The Exchange Pre-Deployment analyzer runs on any current server or workstation operating system, requires the .Net Framework 2.0, and should be run by an Enterprise admin who is also a member of the Exchange Organization Administrators groups to get a full analysis of everything involved.

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