NetIQ Reports on Exchange

NetIQ Corp. has products to monitor Exchange server performance, but most companies use Exchange servers to send e-mail, not push gear to the limit. AppAnalyzer, a new product from NetIQ, shows how an Exchange Server is used.

Today, NetIQ announced the general availability of AppAnalyzer 1.0, its new tool for reporting on Exchange use. The product is designed to give administrators a sense of the whos, whats, wheres, and whys of Exchange use.

NetIQ’s AppManager is able to monitor the performance of an Exchange server - it can tell administrators about the size of an email server’s load. AppAnalzyer offers the inverse, providing data about the contents of that load.

 “Companies really didn’t have a way for administrators to understand the activities on Exchange,” says Chris Williams, director of messaging servers at NetIQ. Williams believes that AppAnalyzer fills an important hole by allowing administrators to get a sense of who is using the mail server and for what purpose.

Williams says that some administrators spend two to three days simply gathering information by hand to create departmental billing reports for e-mail. One feature enables administrators to set up criteria and create billing reports automatically. The software can track 11 different activities for billing purposes.

Policy enforcement is another area in which Williams believes AppAnalyzer will be helpful. For example, if a company has a policy against non-business attachments, the software can point out problem spots. Using the software, administrators can detect if Easter executables are sent in large numbers, clogging the mail server. The software can also pinpoint the offenders, leading to administrative action.

At installation, AppAnalyzer autodiscovers an enterprise’s Exchange servers, configuring them to extract data. AppManager users can also use its agents to collect data, a setup Williams says is ideal for highly distributed organizations.

AppAnalyzer uses a SQL database to store and retrieve information and uses OLAP for generating reports. Williams says OLAP is faster than using third party reporting engines and is more portable across platforms. Once a report is generated users can drill down into data, add fields to monitor, and recut information on the fly.

After he left Microsoft’s Exchange marketing group, Williams founded Sirana Software to develop software for reporting on Exchange. Sirana worked on developing AppAnalyzer until it was purchased by NetIQ last year. AppAnalyzer is the first product to result from these development efforts.

Williams says many customers demanded tools for managing servers when he worked at Microsoft. He believes that AppAnalyzer will fill a major hole in the Windows management arena.

In future releases, NetIQ plans to integrate AppAnalyzer with some of its other products, including AppManager. WebTrends offers similar functionality to AppAnalyzer for managing websites, but Williams says there is room for AppAnalyzer to grow. “There will be some for non-messaging application support,” he says. – Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.