BindView Controls Microsoft Exchange
Management software comes in a variety of forms. It's often difficult to determine which one to use to monitor a network and its resources. The big packages manage everything, giving an administrator a bird's-eye view of his entire network. Then there are the smaller management packages, which focus on functions such as monitoring service levels, scanning for security breaches, or managing bandwidth allocation.
For those administrators who care about specific functions of the enterprise, such as e-mail, there are vendors that supply focussed products. One such vendor, BindView Corp. (www.bindview.com), recently expanded its networking line to include a package devoted to managing Microsoft Exchange Server.
BindView instills what it calls proactive and reactive management to Microsoft Exchange. "The proactive piece allows a customer to avoid as many reactive faults as possible, such as checking for proper configuration, security, and administration settings," explains Jeff Kushner, product manager for bv-Control at BindView. "The other is reactive management; so when a fault occurs you can quickly notify somebody to respond."
Bv-Control provides a point-and-click interface that allows customers to report on anything in the mailbox, public folder, and directory by accessing information on configuration, security, attributes, and disk space utilization. Bv-Control supports using Visual Basic scripting to customize reports, adding a scripting wizard to write the code for what needs to be done.
The goal of bv-Control, Kushner says, is to transform the necessary but tedious tasks of managing Exchange, into simple ones. "Our customers told us that there's so much movement in the Exchange organization that they need to seamlessly move mailboxes from one site to another so that person has the same access without losing permissions or messages," Kushner explains. "There's a lot of opportunity for human error, but we have a drag-and-drop interface that makes this process simple."
Both the proactive and reactive pieces of bv-Control fit as snap-ins to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Security alerts can be sent as SMP traps so they can be assimilated to larger management consoles.
"What's unique about [BindView] is they offer the configuration, as well as the monitoring and alerting from a single source," says Richard Ptak, vice president of systems and applications management at Hurwitz Group (www.hurwitz.com). "That's pretty slick. You have a common interface and operate more efficiently."
Along with bv-Control for Exchange, BindView is gearing up for Windows 2000. The company will be announcing an Active Directory management product this month.
Kushner says Exchange Server is the trickiest, but it may be the most useful application to bring over to the new platform. "What we're finding is a lot of customers we talked to will have a two-phase process," Kushner says. "Customers will migrate to Windows 2000 first, and they will run [Exchange Server] 5.5 in the Windows 2000 environment -- so they won't use Active Directory yet. Then they will make the quantum leap to Exchange 2000. We will have a solution for this when Microsoft announces availability of Exchange 2000."