If you're lucky, you've never had to take Microsoft Exchange Server offline to use the built-in Eseutil or Isinteg repair utilities; in fact, you might not be familiar enough with these complicated tools to use them when an emergency arises. The idea behind Lucid8 GOexchange Preventative Maintenance, which automates periodic offline Exchange maintenance for Exchange Server 5.5 and later, is to perform offline defragmentation and error checking during planned downtime, thus preventing unplanned downtime.

I took the product for a test drive to see how it stacked up against Eseutil. I started by using Microsoft Exchange Load Simulator (LoadSim) to build a large, fragmented Exchange database. I then used Eseutil to defrag one copy of the database and used GOexchange to defrag another copy. I had to read through the Eseutil documentation, but the process itself was hardly complicated. The Eseutil defrag also took less time than GOExchange took. However, running GOexchange was easier than performing the Eseutil defrag and, according to Lucid8, the product can also correct database errors.

GOexchange, which lets you schedule preventative-maintenance tasks for multiple Exchange servers, would be a boon to large-scale operations that want to perform offline maintenance. The product does everything for you, from running pre- and post-task backups and scripts to taking stores offline and putting them back online when the task is finished. GOexchange can also send you an email alert (via a non-Exchange SMTP server) if something goes wrong during its process. Many of Lucid8's claims about the benefits of preventative maintenance are difficult to substantiate in the test lab. But the product's ease of use, task scheduling, and support of multiple servers are definite pros.



Lucid8 GOexchange Preventative Maintenance 3.1.2
Contact: Lucid8 * 425-451-2595
Web: http://www.lucid8.com
Price: $145 (10 mailboxes) to $1195 (unlimited mailboxes) for a single maintenance run; $595 (10 mailboxes) to $4995 (unlimited mailboxes) for unlimited maintenance runs
Summary
Pros: Automates offline maintenance of multiple Exchange servers
Cons: Requires taking Exchange offline for an extended period
Rating: 3 out of 5
Recommendation: Easy-to-use preventative-maintenance tool; worth a look, especially for large companies