Gain insight into your mail infrastructure with MAPILab Reports for Exchange Server

MAPILab Reports for Exchange Server provides an easy way to get network data. Scott Lowe shares his first impressions of this tool.

Manually gathering pertinent information from an Exchange server can be a daunting (yet doable) scripting task, but MAPILab Reports for Exchange Server presents an easier way. I recently tested this tool, and I found it to be very valuable when it comes to making decisions about immediate action items and long-term planning strategies.

For example, with the tool's Mailbox Size report (Figure A), I can gain immediate insight into current mailbox status and work toward determining why there are so many locked out mailboxes. And as I begin planning for storage expansion, I can use various reports that chart the growth trends of my particular Exchange environment so I know what I need to buy that will last me for as long as I need it. If users start complaining that mail seems to be taking a lot of time to reach other Exchange users, I can fire up the Message Delivery Time report to see how long it takes for messages to pass between Exchange servers. Figure A

Understand mailbox sizes and status with the Mailbox Size report. Click the image to enlarge.
Beyond individual mailbox size, you can get the size of a database on the disk by running the Size of Exchange Store Files report (Figure B). Figure B

Get database size with the Size of Exchange Store Files. Click the image to enlarge.
In some Exchange organizations, administrators create additional address lists based on specific criteria. Even in a default Exchange environment, there are a few defined address lists. The Exchange Address Lists report (Figure C) shows you a list of all of your address lists (along with the query that builds the list) and shows you how many objects are members of the list. Figure C

See all your address lists with the Exchange Address List report. Click the image to enlarge.

Reports for Exchange Server contains more than 170 predefined reports. Just to show you the sheer breadth and depth of the reporting capabilities, take a look at this listing of available reports.

MAPILab markets this product as being useful across the full IT gamut, from operational insight to strategic planning to compliance. It's also touted as being able to assist with enforcing security standards. To back up that statement, the product does include a number of reports that outline (in detail) security rights for a number of object types, including individual mailboxes.

In my testing, the product appeared to live up to its claims. The installation process could be a little easier, but it's not horribly difficult. Also, you do need to house the gathered information in a SQL Server database, but it supports SQL Server Express, so you don't need to buy an expensive SQL Server license. There are some other technical requirements that are clearly outlined on the MAPILab site.

Pricing is reasonable for the reporting software and ranges from $2 to $6 per mailbox.

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