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By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2004-06-21 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


IT managers looking for an easy-to-use and affordable system-monitoring tool should consider Sunbelt Software Inc.s ServerVision. Although ServerVision supports only Windows-based systems, the software monitors a comprehensive set of system data out of the box, including system health, services monitoring and events notification.

ServerVision, which shipped last month, is Sunbelt Softwares first server-monitoring software. Its priced starting at $245 per system.

ServerVision does not scale as well as competitors such as NetIQ Corp.s AppManager or BMC Software Inc.s Patrol suites, nor does it support Unix and Linux systems, the way rivals do. However, its lower price and ease of use make it a fine choice for small and midsize companies with limited budgets and IT staffs.

ServerVision can be installed on Microsoft Corp.s Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 systems. It requires only an Intel Corp. Pentium processor (300MHz or faster), 64MB of memory and 10MB of disk space. Microsofts IIS (Internet Information Services) 4.0 or later is also needed for Web-based administration.

In tests, we could easily use a Web browser or an MMC (Microsoft Management Console) snap-in to access system information or to configure system-monitoring parameters. ServerVision provides a preconfigured set of default key indicators, which enable IT managers to see system status quickly after initial installation.

Nearly all the information provided by ServerVision comes directly from the Windows operating system being monitored. This includes the event log, performance metrics such as CPU cycles and memory usage and services that are running on the system. ServerVision collects data from all monitored systems on the network and does a good job of presenting the information clearly, using color-coded indicators. It also provides easy-to-use filters so we could quickly find data that was important to us.

Because not every administrator will have time to read through hundreds of log entries, ServerVision allows administrators to set up at-a-glance reports that provide overviews such as system health, resource usage or server failures.

ServerVision also provides more in-depth performance-monitoring capabilities than do Windows Task Manager or Windows Performance Monitor, and it allows IT managers to set longer time intervals to see performance trends. Using the ServerVision user interface, we configured data capture intervals that ranged from days to weeks or even months.

The software provided notable granularity, allowing us to drill down to particular areas of a data range. We could also set thresholds for each performance metric and specify the way ServerVision would respond when a threshold was crossed.

ServerVision provides basic monitoring of key Windows services, checking if the services are running and responding if they fail. It can be set to restart the service or reboot the entire system.

ServerVision doesnt provide vulnerability checking or patch management capabilities, but it can integrate with Shavlik Technologies LLCs HFNetChk freeware to monitor system profiles and perform regular updates. When a relevant update is available, ServerVision can notify administrators via e-mail.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at francis_chu@ziffdavis.com.

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