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Zenprise beefs up Exchange mgmt. platform

Apr 24, 20063 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

Company to add discover and diagnostic tools to e-mail platform.

Exchange management vendor Zenprise this week is scheduled to add discovery and diagnostic tools to its namesake server for Microsoft’s e-mail platform.

Exchange management vendor Zenprise this week is scheduled to add additional discovery and diagnostic tools to its namesake server for Microsoft’s e-mail platform.

The company has added self-healing capabilities to Zenprise 2.0 that ensure the server stays up and running. Version 2.0 includes support for clustered Exchange environments, technical information from O’Reilly Media and enhanced predictive capabilities to identify symptoms that could lead to server problems.

“With the clustering features we can distinguish between the virtual server and the real servers,” says Paul Hinsberg, senior server engineer for the County of Alameda in Oakland, Calif. The county runs two clusters and may deploy a third to help service its 8,400 mailboxes. When Zenprise is installed it recognizes the active and passive nodes in a cluster, and in the event of a failover automatically begins monitoring the new server. “Before, we had to figure out which one the server was running on and if the problem was with one server or both. Now we can actually see where our problem is located,” Hinsberg says.

Zenprise works by collecting information from throughout Exchange’s messaging environment – global catalogs, domain controllers, DNS servers and Active Directory – to pinpoint the underlying cause of a problem or ferret out potential problems. After a problem is deciphered, Zenprise specifies a resolution customized for a user’s environment. Zenprise has expanded those capabilities in Version 2.0 to detect problems that affect users, for example, preventing them from sending or receiving e-mail or resulting in sluggish performance of calendars.

At the heart of the Zenprise software are three algorithms. The correlation algorithm takes related symptoms and groups them together. The causation algorithm includes a set of automated tests that determine the root cause of a problem, and the correction algorithm provides detailed, step-by-step resolution instructions.

Zenprise includes a symptoms database that houses all known Exchange symptoms and associated causes. The database works much like anti-virus software in that it is updated regularly using data gleaned from the local system, from other Zenprise customers and from Microsoft.

With Version 2.0, Zenprise in adding the capability to include technical information from third-parties such as publisher O’Reilly Media. The feature will allow O’Reilly’s library of Exchange books to be encoded into the server. When an error condition is detected that matches remediation information from an O’Reilly source, Zenprise will provide a reference to the book’s title, along with partial information that suggests a solution, and a link to the O’Reilly site. 

Zenprise also has taken the self-healing features of its platform and turned them on its own software. “By announcing this capability, we are saying your administrator does not need to be a Zenprise expert in order to troubleshoot our software,” says Ahmed Datoo, vice president of marketing.

Zenprise competes with similar products from EMC, Lucid8 and Micromuse, and integrates with monitoring products such as CA Unicenter, HP OpenView, IBM Tivoli, Microsoft Operations Manager and NetIQ’s AppManager.

Zenprise 2.0’s pricing starts at $15 per user for 1,000 users.