I try hard to keep up with the Exchange market, and as a contributing editor for Windows IT Pro, I get a steady stream of press releases from companies that offer Exchange-related solutions. However, sometimes I miss things, and maybe you do too, so I want to point out a few interesting products that might have escaped your notice. Please note that I haven’t used or tested all of these products, and I’m not endorsing them.
Exchange Permission Manager from the MRH Technology Group (http://www.mrhtech.com/Software/EPM) is a product I saw mentioned on the MS Exchange Blog (http://hellomate.typepad.com/exchange). Permission Manager lets you set Exchange permissions, which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you consider all the permissions that you might need to set on multiple objects and all the things that can go wrong if you set those permissions incorrectly. Consider this common request: You need to grant every user read access to every other user’s calendar. You can do it yourself, which is time-consuming. You can ask users to do it themselves, which is time-consuming and error-prone. You can write a script to do it (using the script at http://www.exchangecookbook.com/archives/2005/09/setting_default.html as a starting point). Or you can buy a tool such as Exchange Permission Manager.
Directory Update (http://www.directory-update.com) is a tool from Jim McBee and Matt Suriya. It lets you allow users to modify selected fields of their Active Directory (AD) account information without giving them access to their whole AD account. For example, you can let users change their phone numbers or street addresses without letting them change their user account name or manager information. For organizations that currently require a centralized Help desk to make such changes, Directory Update can significantly reduce the time needed for routine maintenance tasks.
Finally, I’ll note one product I have used and tested: PrimalScript from SAPIEN Technologies (http://www.primalscript.com). PrimalScript is a powerful script editor that has built-in support for Windows PowerShell as well as VBScript, ASP.NET, and a ton of other scripting technologies. It also includes a wonderful VBScript debugger, a diff utility, and a number of other useful tools for developing scripts. PrimalScript is an extremely valuable companion as you learn PowerShell.