We are pleased to announce the availability of the Exchange Server Best
Practices Analyzer v2.1. The new version can be downloaded from
Starting next week, for those running ExBPA v2.0, you will be prompted to
upgrade to v2.1 the next time the tool is started.
List of enhancements included in ExBPA v2.1:
Collection - ExBPA.MSI package now installs the WMI extensions
required for querying Host Bus Adaptors through the HBA API. This allows
ExBPA to automatically collect configuration and diagnostic information from
HBAs such as Emulex, Qlogic and LSI. The extensions need to be installed on
the Exchange server. Either install ExBPA or the FCInfo tool on the server
to enable collection of HBA information. NOTE: Once the extensions are
installed on the server, ExBPA will be able to collect the information even
when running from a remote workstation.
b.. Performance Baseline - In addition to the regular 'Health Check' scan,
a new scan type of 'Health/Performance Check' can be run. This tells the BPA
engine to sample key Exchange and Operating System performance counters and
produce statistics showing the 90th percentile and maximum value. The list
of counters is based upon the Exchange 2003 Performance Troubleshooting
whitepaper. The performance statistics will be displayed in the "Baseline"
report once the scan has completed. By default, 240 samples will be taken at
30 second intervals (i.e. 2 hour run). These defaults can be overridden with
the following registry parameters:
Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftExchangeExBP A
Data: The total number of samples to collect (default: 240)
Data: The time to wait between each sample (default: 30)
1. The time estimation in the UI is fixed at 2 hours, it does not take
into account any registry overrides.
2. ExBPA uses a global 3-hour timeout for processing each Exchange
3. The percentage complete values shown during scanning are based on
object completions. As the sampling process is implemented as a single
object, the server completion state will appear to 'stick' between 35 and
40% for the 2-hour sampling period. This is expected.
4. It is possible to sample multiple servers at the same time. However,
you should keep the number of servers in scope to a minimum (e.g. less than
5. Unlike the regular 'Health Check' it is important to run the new
'Health/Performance Check' when the Exchange server is at its busiest. As
ExBPA uses the performance data helper (pdh) library to sample counters, the
overheads on the server should be no greater than regular sampling with
performance monitor (sysmon). To reduce overheads, it is recommended that
you run ExBPA from a workstation rather than the server console.
6. In the initial ExBPA v2.1 release, Error and Warning rules have not
been implemented for performance data. These will be introduced in a web
7. The sample data is stored as a comma-separated list embedded within
the output XML. The ExBPA UI does not support the graphing of this data, or
direct conversion to performance monitor log format. The overhead of
collecting and storing the data is small. For example, scanning an
organization containing a single Exchange 2003/Windows 2003 server:
Health Check - 2,938 KB
Health/Performance Check - 3,078 KB
a.. Cluster Reporting - Reports such as the 'Full Issues List' separates
physical nodes from the virtual server. The new format makes it easier to
identify issues that need to be corrected on individual physical nodes.
b.. Wildcard Collection - The BPA engine now supports wildcard collection
from the registry. This enables a new set of rules, in particular exclusion
settings for file-level antivirus products and Windows firewall
c.. Latest Rules - Includes the latest Config XML file (rules database).
Over 100 new rules have been introduced in v2.1. Specific areas of
improvement include the recipient update service, third-party anti-virus
checking, and debug settings. In addition to the new rules, over 30 existing
rules have been reconditioned to provide better clarity.
d.. Better Screen Layout - The size of the main report window is now based
on the screen resolution rather than fixed at 800x600.
e.. Scan Selection Information - When viewing the list of previous scans,
the Config XML version used for the collection is now displayed in the
f.. UDP Support - In addition to TCP, the new version of the tool can
connect to ports using UDP. For example, new rules use this function to test
the availability of WINS servers.
g.. Checksum Operations - The BPA engine now supports the calculation of
MD5 checksums. While the current rules database does not utilize this
feature, it can be enabled in the future without updating the binaries.
a.. Command-line parameters used with EXBPACMD are now case-insensitive.
b.. For automatic updates, the tool now uses IE configuration settings if
the default proxy server is not available.
c.. Better handling of Date/Time formats.
d.. Export functionality no longer deletes the original output XML file.
e.. The language of the tool is no longer derived from the regional
settings. Instead, the OS language is used.
f.. Clearer instructions for when the scheduler can be used.
a.. ExBPA v2.1 is available for U.S. English only. Other languages will be
refreshed later on in the year.
b.. In-place upgrades from ExBPA v2.0 to v2.1 are supported.
c.. The build number for ExBPA v2.1 is 7599 (Displayed as 2.1.7599.0 in
the ExBPA UI. Files on disk will be version 6.5.7599.0).
Please send any questions and feedback to
The Microsoft Exchange Operational Support Tools Team
Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no