This nifty tool has been brought to my attention - I have not been able to use it in anger yet but  on the face of it, it seems great

SCCP provides you with the tools and guidance to deploy efficiently, while planning for the future by allowing for "what-if" analyses.  The tool to date is only offered to TechNet and MSDN subscribers.  The SCCP will be able to support Exchange 2007 in May/June timeframe.

Here are some of the scenarios you can use the tool for

 

SCCP customer scenarios:

Scenario 1: Exchange deployment partners: While a typical customer site may use SCCP only occasionally, perhaps once every six months, an Exchange deployment partner may use it every day.

The partner is selling their skills and experience of Exchange deployment to their customer, and the planning consultancy phase of the deployment is the most highly-valued work that they provide.  The Exchange deployment partner can use SCCP to plan and model their customer’s mail environment, providing additional value by demonstrating that they have used the Microsoft-approved tool for planning for Exchange.

Scenario 2: Lotus Notes admin is charged with migrating to Exchange

The Notes/Domino administrator has been told by his boss that the company is going to convert their mail system to Exchange, and that he will be responsible for making sure that the transition is a success.  This is a very high risk situation for the administrator; he must plan and implement a new mail system that will be successful from day one. 

SCCP provides him a tool to do this, from Microsoft, which will dramatically reduce the risk for him.  He will plug in the details of his mail environment (number of users, how many separate sites those users are in, and how much email they send and receive), then SCCP will present him with a picture, showing him where to deploy mail servers, what machine spec they should be (allowing him to use his company’s standard PC hardware), and how to connect them together (how many links between them, and of what speed). 

Once he has that, he can run a simulation to see what kind of response time the mail users will experience on the new Exchange infrastructure.  If the results show a latency that’s unacceptable, he can return to the SCCP tool, and model the effect of increasing server and link capacity, until he arrives at a configuration that provides the performance at the end user to match or exceed what they were used to with Lotus Notes. 

Most admins will print the data they input to SCCP, and then print its output, thereby providing an audit trail to show how they used the Microsoft planning tool.

I need to play around with it further but on the whole it looks very useful and makes sure that nothing is left to chance or guesswork.

You can get the tool using an MSDN or Technet subscription - more details can be found here