If the phones in your office stopped working, would your company still be
able to function? What about faxes and postal mail? Chances are your business
processes would be delayed to a certain degree if these services were down, but
your daily business functions would not come to a grinding halt.
If I ask the same question about Internet and email service, I think most folks
would agree: If your company's messaging system goes down and employees cannot
communicate, either internally with colleagues or externally with clients and
prospects, then they might as well just go home -- and update their résumés.
[ Learn more about the lineup of System Center tools by reading J. Peter
Bruzzese's "System Center is more than just a buzzword." | Keep up to date on
Windows PC and server issues in InfoWorld's Technology: Windows newsletter. ]
In the past 15 years, the business community has seen a steady shift in the way
organizations communicate and, thus, function. Phones, faxes, and letters are
all important, but they are no longer integral when it comes to keeping your
business in business.
It's obvious that Microsoft Exchange is mission-critical; no one would disagree
with that. Most would also agree that in our economy, administrators are being
asked to do more with less -- so the key is to be proactive about monitoring. Be
ready for a problem before or at the moment it hits, and make sure even your
lower-level admins or help desk can see the problem even if they aren't
authorized to handle it directly.
Microsoft SCOM: A capable tool that's too hard to use
The key to keeping your business in business is to have a solid monitoring
solution in play. As a Microsoft loyalist, my instinct is to lead people to
System Center Operations Manager, or SCOM, formerly known as the catchier MOM.
Despite my negative experiences with Microsoft's System Center tools in general
(don't get me started on my Data Protection Manager nightmare), I look at SCOM
somewhat favorably because of my positive experiences getting MOM up and running
in the past. SCOM is a robust monitoring solution, and you can implement
management packs for your various servers (like Exchange) to give you more reach
and a more watchful eye over your Exchange environment.