Managing distribution lists (DLs) is one of the many time-consuming tasks that Exchange Server administrators perform. Creating new DLs, adding users to DLs, or maintaining DLs can be a significant burden to you. However, relief is available in the form of a free Microsoft tool called AutoDL.

AutoDL lets users go to a Web page to manage their DLs according to rules, procedures, and security measures that you set up, thereby freeing you to work on other Exchange Server management tasks. You use the DLAdmin tool to customize AutoDL according to your organization's requirements or the degree of DL control you want to give users. AutoDL uses a simple architecture that leverages common interfaces (e.g., Distributed COM—DCOM—and COM+, ADO, ODBC, Active Directory Service Interfaces—ADSI) and services (e.g., Microsoft IIS, Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange Server 5.5 Directory Service (DS), Windows 2000 Active Directory—AD).

Installing and configuring AutoDL is fairly simple. The AutoDL installation package provides setup programs that perform most of the detailed steps, including setting up the AutoDL Web site, SQL Server databases (AutoDL requires that you run SQL Server), COM+ objects, ODBC, and the AutoDL Batch Job process. A white paper that offers detailed AutoDL set-up instructions is available here.

AutoDL is available in the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Resource Kit or from the Exchange Server Web site.

The current version of AutoDL (2.1) is available for Exchange 2000; an earlier version is available for Exchange 5.5.

Microsoft uses AutoDL in its Exchange Server deployments, so you can be certain the tool provides a robust solution for DL management. If you're searching for ways to simplify your job as an Exchange Server administrator and reduce Exchange Server's management overhead, take a look at AutoDL.