Exchange Server 2010 and Automating Administrative Tasks

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Exchange Server 2010 comes with an Exchange Management Shell, built on the powerful Windows PowerShell. Administrators can write command line scripts for doing many of the administrative tasks and the scripts will execute these tasks. Actually, even writing scripts on your own is not really necessary as a graphic wizard can be used to generate scripts for all tasks.

With the Exchange Management Shell, you can automate every aspect of server management. New e-mail accounts can be set up, SMTP connectors can be configured, properties can be specified for databases, transport agents can be stored and much more can be done with the shell. The shell is powerful enough to do tasks that cannot be done using the Exchange Management Console (EMC) and the Exchange Web interface.

In fact, it is the shell that really does the tasks you enter through the EMC and the Web interface.

The shell uses Microsoft .NET objects and the result is that the command line scripts are much shorter than Visual Basic scripts. A single line of shell script can replace several lines of VB script.

Local and Remote Shells

The shell scripts are run in two methods, local and remote. Local shell method was used by Exchange Server 2007, and the Exchange Server 2010 uses it only for the Edge Transport server. In the local method, executing the scripts create a local session with different components sharing data with each other.

Under the remote method, remote sessions are created on remote Exchange Servers. Commands are executed on the remote computers with data specific to each. Actually, even local computers are controlled using this remote method, not to mention computers that might be at the other end of the country.

In practice, both these methods will appear similar to users and they can continue to use them much like they did on Server 2007. For detailed guidance on using the Exchange Management Shell, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd351152.aspx.

Troubleshooting Tools

Exchange Server 2010 provides tools for troubleshooting the system in case of problems. For example, the Active Directory Domain Services will provide full details of the server configuration and you will be able to check whether the problem is a configuration problem. The AD DS details are automatically copied to all new servers added to the domain.

There is an Exchange Best Practices Analyzer tool in the Exchange Management Console and it can help you optimize the operating environment.

Regular Review and Maintenance

Automation does not mean giving up your responsibility for intelligent monitoring. Regular review of operations, incidents and the environment, and analysis of factors affecting performance, are tasks you cannot eliminate. It is such review and analysis that will help you tailor the powerful Exchange Server 2010 capabilities to the precise needs of your organization.

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