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Server, Heal Thyself

Zenprise 2.0's diagnostics management add-on for Microsoft Exchange gets an update with self-healing capabilities, more integrated troubleshooting reference material.

Exchange administrators are constantly under the gun to keep their messaging servers up and running without hiccups. And Zenprise is giving those companies a bit more insurance in that regard, with the latest release of the company's flagship product, Zenprise 2.0, the service-management software for Microsoft Exchange. Among some of the new features are a beefed up Symptom Database, self-healing capabilities, and support for clustered Exchange environments.

The Symptom Database might seem like nothing more than a repository of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles, but those types of assumptions are dead wrong, says Zenprise Marketing Manager Ahmed Datoo and the company has plans to license whatever Exchange-related troubleshooting resources it can.

"Over the last few months, we've been focused on adding content from third-party providers into the Symptom Database," said Zenprise Marketing Manager Ahmed Datoo, "which houses all of our knowledge around typical types of e-mail-oriented problems." He said that the company has licensed O'Reilly Media's series of Exchange books and encode them into the company's Symptom Database.

The O'Reilly inclusions is in addition to the content added when Zenprise signed an agreement prior to the 1.0 release to license and encode Microsoft's KB articles into the Symptom Database. Datoo explained that the immediate access of both sets of content allows version 2.0 "to identify issues, flag the appropriate articles, run a series of diagnostics tests to validate [of] the cause of the problem, and then go through the process of providing detailed resolution instructions" to the admins from a larger set of well-researched reference material. A nifty bonus: a Google-type, filtered search, that admins can use to pinpoint e-mail issues on the fly.

Another key addition is what Datoo says is Zenprise's ability to "proactively manage service levels." He says that this is often the case with servers that seem to be running fine, but the typical scenario often has users notifying admins that e-mail service has begun failing. Zenprise 2.0 acts on problems dealing with service levels by providing a heads-up prior to issues becoming critical.

"The advanced predictive capabilities give me the solutions to problems even before my end users notice," says Paul Hinsberg, a senior server engineer with the County of Alameda, who's already happily deploying version 2.0.

Also new are the self-healing capabilities, wherein Zenprise can be installed right out of the box and, adds Datoo, "without having to supplement their [IT] support staff with people who are experts on Zenprise software." The 2.0 version is also able to diagnose problems within a clustered Exchange environment, where failover can be a trickier troubleshooting issue.

Zenprise 2.0 is $15 per user for 1,000 users, which includes support, subscription updates. Zenprise 1.0 users will receive the update for free.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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