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Windows Small Business Server 2008 Best Practices Analyzer Tool

written by: Brian Nelson•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 12/7/2009

Microsoft’s Small Business Server is designed to be run and administered by small businesses without requiring a high-level of technical expertise. How then, can the same people know that they have set their SBS 2008 server up right?

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    The SBS 2008 BPA

    The Best Practices Analyzer Tool is a utility developed for use on the SBS 2008 server. It pulls the details of the server configuration and runs validation checks against what it finds. In particularly, the tool pulls information from the Active Director WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation), the registry, and the metabase.

    This data is parsed and run against a collection of criteria to look for unusual configurations or characteristics that may affect server and network performance or security. When run, the BPA presents the user with a list of items detected. Each item is categorized according to its severity and sorted from most severe to least, so that the person administering the SBS server gets an idea of what is an important problem that needs fixing right away versus what is just a variation from more commonly implemented practices.

    In this way, the end-user providing support for the SBS servers can get a sort of double-check on how the server was installed.

    But, the Best Practices Analyzer isn’t just a onetime tool. Once installed, the BPA can be integrated into the SBS Console. Because the tool automatically scans the environment, it can be used to alert the system’s administrator that a recent change in configuration or a newly added option or feature has caused the Small Business Server’s configuration to deviate from the ideal.

    Microsoft updates the SBS BPA on a regular basis, usually a few times each year. It is downloaded from the Microsoft website as an MSI file so it is easily installable even by non-technical users and currently weighs in at under 1.5 MB so it is a quick download even for those with slower Internet connections.

    The SBS BPA is designed to be used in conjunction with other Microsoft Best Practices Analyzers like the ones for Exchange and SQL. By implementing and regularly checking all three, the part-time non-professionals SBS is aimed at can have a running check to make sure that they are “doing it right."