How to use the Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer tool to collect and analyze data in an Exchange 2000 organization or in an Exchange 2003 organization

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SUMMARY

You can use the Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA) tool to gather data about your company's Microsoft Exchange organization. Microsoft Customer Support Services (CSS) can use the output of the tool to analyze the data to look for common misconfiguration issues, to help discover and diagnose problems, and to collect data for archival purposes.

You must run a command-line version of the tool to collect the data. The account that you use to run the tool must have the appropriate permissions to access the Active Directory database on the domain controllers and to access the servers that are running Exchange. There are several prerequisites that are required to run the tool. The prerequisites include the following:
  • You must install Microsoft .NET Framework version 1.1 and the Internet Information Services (IIS) Common Files on the computer where you install the ExBPA tool.
  • The Windows Management Instrumentation service must be running on domain controllers and global catalog servers.
  • Microsoft Exchange Management service must be running on all computers that are running Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server or Microsoft Exchange Server 2003.
After you run the command-line version of the tool and send the data to Microsoft CSS, the support professional can import the data into the graphical user interface (GUI) version of the tool to perform the data analysis.

INTRODUCTION

The Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA) is an automated health check and troubleshooting tool. Written in C#, it collects configuration settings and performs network and protocol tests in an Exchange topology. The tool sends the results to an XML output file. Rules are then applied to the values in the output file. When you view the output file, any differences from the rules or any problems are highlighted. The ExBPA tool can examine the Active Directory directory service, the registry, the Internet Information Services (IIS) metabase, System Monitor tool data, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and files to retrieve configuration information.

The ExBPA tool is a stand-alone program that an administrator can run from a Windows XP-based workstation. By using the tool, you can do the following things:
  • Obtain information that Microsoft Support personal can use to perform a proactive health check on your company's Exchange environment to make sure that the configuration and the deployment is correct. The tool can collect detailed information about a company's deployment and look for well-known misconfiguration issues or other problems.
  • Obtain diagnostic information that Microsoft Support personal can use to perform a preliminary automated analysis if your company is experiencing Exchange problems. This information can help Microsoft Support diagnose and correct the problem.
  • Obtain a snapshot of your Exchange deployment for archival purposes. This information may be useful later if a future incident occurs.

System requirements

  • You must install Microsoft .NET Framework version 1.1 on the computer where you want to install the ExBPA tool. To download .NET Framework 1.1, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=262d25e3-f589-4842-8157-034d1e7cf3a3
  • IIS Common Files must be installed on the computer on which you will install the ExBPA tool. If IIS is installed, the IIS management snap-in is installed, or Exchange System Manager is installed, IIS Common Files are installed automatically. To add the IIS Common Files on a Windows XP-based computer, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, click Run, type appwiz.cpl in the Open box, and then click OK.
    2. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
    3. Click Internet Information Services (IIS), and then click Details.

      Note Do not click to select the check box that is next to Internet Information Services (IIS).
    4. Click to select the Common Files check box, and then click OK.
    5. Click Next, and then click Finish.
    Note If the IIS Common Files are not installed, the ExBPA tool will experience errors when it tries to access metabase properties.
  • The Windows Management Instrumentation service must be running on the domain controllers, on the global catalog servers, and on the Exchange servers.
  • The Microsoft Exchange Management service must be running on all computers that are running Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server or Microsoft Exchange Server 2003.
  • You must have read and write permissions to the folder where you install and run the ExBPA tool.
  • To collect host bus adapter (HBA) information, an HBA API-compliant driver and remoting service must exist on the server. An example of an HBA API-compliant driver and remoting service is the third-party Emulex HBAnywhere service. Additionally, you must run the HBA API Managed Object Format (MOF) installer on the ExBPA workstation and on the target server where the HBA is installed. If the appropriate driver and remoting services are not installed, the ExBPA tool will still run. However, HBA-related data will not be collected.

Permissions and account configuration

To run the ExBPA tool, make sure that the account that is used to run the tool has the appropriate credentials to access the Active Directory and all servers that are included in the scan.
  • The account must have administrator permissions on the domain controllers. Administrator permissions are required to enumerate Active Directory information and to call the WMI providers on domain controllers and the global catalog servers.
  • The account must be a member of the Local Administrators group on each Exchange server. The account must have local administrator permissions to call the WMI providers and to access the registry and the metabase.
  • The account must have at least Exchange View Only Administrator delegated permissions at the Exchange organization level.
  • You can also use the runas command to run the ExBPA tool by using another account that has sufficient rights. The syntax for this command is runas /netonly /user:domain_name\account_name cmd. After you type the command, you are prompted for the account password. After you type the password, move to the ExBPA folder and run the GUI version or the command-line version of the tool.
  • If you do not want to use one account to access Active Directory and the Exchange servers, the ExBPA tool lets you specify separate accounts. To specify separate credentials for the accounts that you will use to access Active Directory and the Exchange servers, follow these steps:

    For the GUI version of the ExBPA tool:
    1. Start the GUI version of the ExBPA tool (ExBPA.exe).
    2. Click Connect to Active Directory.
    3. Click Show advanced login options.

      You can specify two accounts; one to connect to Active Directory, and one to connect to the Exchange servers. If you do not specify the account to use, the tool uses the account that the tool is running under.
    For the command-line version of the ExBPA tool, add the following parameters when you run the Exbpacmd.exe command:
    -u adlogon domain_name\Active_Directory_account_name password exlogon domain_name\Exchange_account_name password


    Note For more information about the Exbpacmd.exe command syntax, run the following command from the command line:
    exbpacmd /?

To obtain and run the ExBPA tool

To obtain the GUI version and the command-line version of the ExBPA tool, download the ExBPA.exe file from the Microsoft download site.

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Download the ExBPA.exe package now.

For additional information about how to download Microsoft Support files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
119591 How to obtain Microsoft support files from online services
Microsoft scanned this file for viruses. Microsoft used the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help to prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.

To run the ExBPA tool, follow these steps:
  1. Install the ExBPA tool.
  2. Run the exbpacmd command together with the appropriate switches. Run the command from the installation location. By default, the installation location is C:\Program Files\ExBPA.

    To run against a full deployment, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    exbpacmd –d dc_name -n cust_name
    To run against a single server, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    exbpacmd –d dc_name -n cust_name -rs server cn=server_name
    • dc_name is the name of a global catalog server or a domain controller that you want to use for querying. If this is not provided, the tool will find the nearest global catalog server or domain controller. However, it is better to pick a reliable server that is not overloaded.
    • cust_name is your name. If it is possible, this should be kept consistent every time that you run the tool. If the name of is not provided, the value will be blank. A blank value will work for now. However, a blank value may cause difficulties later when the tool adds the ability to import the data into an SQL database.
    • server_name is the common name (CN) of the server that you want to access. You must provide this parameter even if you are running the command against the local server.
    When you run the tool, the status is displayed on the screen. Most of the status messages are informational. But some error messages may also be listed. All the status messages will be included in the output data file. Therefore, you do not have to keep track of the messages separately. After the process has finished running, the tool returns control to the command line.
  3. Compress (zip) the output file, and then send the file to the Microsoft CSS support professional. By default, the name and the path of the output file is C:\Program Files\ExBPA\Output.x.xml.
  4. Provide feedback. The ExBPA team is very interested in your feedback about this tool and wants to continually improve it. Please fill out the optional survey every time that you use the ExBPA tool.

MORE INFORMATION

ExBPA is a troubleshooting tool that collects information about an Exchange environment. The tool helps Microsoft CSS diagnose and resolve issues in a timely manner. The tool is installed by using a Microsoft Windows Installer package. The Setup program verifies some of the prerequisites and extracts the required files to the installation path that you specify. To remove the tool, use the Add or Remove Programs item in Control Panel. You do not have to make any other changes to your computer.

The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

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Article ID: 873290 - Last Review: May 21, 2009 - Revision: 3.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto KB873290

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