A new way to manage Exchange

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. -- Microsoft's Exchange Server customers looking for management reporting features they don't get out of the box from Microsoft, may want to examine a new offering from Concord Communications.

Concord is not the first company to roll out management software for Exchange, but it's banking on its strength in real-time and historical reporting software to help differentiate its offering.

Concord's AdvantEdge Exchange module lets Exchange Server customers monitor thresholds and utilization and message queues from one console. The module sits with Concord's SystemEdge SNMP agent on Exchange Servers, and together they collect information and deliver it to the AdvantEdge console, where users can view real-time and historical reports, configure agents and manage Exchange traps.

Teri Harrison does not use Concord's product, but says she finds some of AdvantEdge's features interesting. Harrison manages nine Exchange servers with about 1,300 users as the senior network analyst for the Cleveland law firm Baker & Hostetler. She says the standard Windows NT performance monitoring tools Microsoft includes with Exchange do not fully address her needs when managing e-mail servers.

"There are really no good reporting tools," Harrison says. And that makes it hard to stop problems from recurring.

AdvantEdge Exchange can restart failed services, execute custom scripts and page or e-mail the administrator when a problem requires human intervention. It can also offer early indications of e-mail viruses by monitoring message queues and noting abnormal e-mail behavior.

"This product takes action on all the analysis the company already does to improve service and availability for users," says John McConnell, president of consulting firm McConnell Associates. The product reflects Concord's efforts to move beyond being a supplier of passive reporting tools to a provider of active management capabilities, he says.

McConnell adds AdvantEdge Exchange's integration with Concord's eHealth Suite of products gives users a tool that can manage across networks, systems and applications.

Concord's new offering will compete with Exchange Server management tools from BMC Software, Dirig Software, Envive, Hewlett-Packard and Tivoli.

AdvantEdge Exchange works with Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 and 2000, and runs on Windows NT 3.5.1 and 2000. The AdvantEdge Exchange module costs $4,000 and the AdvantEdge console is priced at $15,000.

Concord: www.concord.com

This story, "A new way to manage Exchange" was originally published by Network World.

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