Enhanced support for Unix and Linux operating systems and applications makes NetIQ Corp.s AppManager Suite 5.0.1 a compelling package for IT managers in charge of heterogeneous networks. However, in eWEEK Labs tests, the required manual installation of Unix monitoring agents and the still-confusing interface were significant drawbacks to the product, which started shipping last month. In a future release, we hope AppManager Suite will leverage software distribution products for Linux and Unix to take the labor out of the initial setup.
Updating the agents and management functions, called Knowledge Scripts, was much easier, however: Both could be done as jobs over our test network, a Sun Microsystems Inc. SunFire 280R server running Solaris 2.8 and Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux 8.0 systems running on Micron Technology Inc. systems.
AppManager Suite 5.0.1 and competitive products from companies including BMC Software Inc. and IBMs Tivoli group show interesting potential in their evolving ability to monitor and control Windows, Unix and Linux systems from the same console (see screen).
NetIQs Windows system management expertise and the AppManager Suites broad range of Knowledge Scripts, which cover nearly every major Windows application, also make it a good choice for enterprises that primarily use Windows systems but also have a substantial number of Unix and Linux systems.
In tests, it was easy to see the advantages of combining system management operations into one console. For example, we easily tracked CPU utilization and memory usage for Windows, Solaris and Red Hat systems in the same console view. IT managers should be able to manage more systems without hiring staff by using AppManager Suite to extend the expertise of current staff to a variety of machines.
Knowledge Scripts showed plenty of flexibility in tests, and users of BMCs or Tivolis products should have little trouble understanding NetIQs scripts. All these products have remarkably similar configurations: In AppManager, we easily dragged and dropped configuration scripts onto groups of Red Hat Linux systems, and those scripts started to monitor our computers straight away.
This version of AppManager also supports systems running IBMs AIX and Hewlett-Packard Co.s HP-UX. AppManager is competitively priced at $600 per server for Windows NT and Windows 2000 Server. Additional application modules range from $600 to $1,500 per server, and consoles are priced starting at $2,500. Unix and Linux systems are priced on a per-processor basis and start at $1,500.
Weve tested AppManager Suite in one form or another for more than seven years at eWEEK Labs. As a bread-and-butter system management tool—first for Windows and now for Linux and Unix—it continues to impress, and its Knowledge Scripts and quick alerting make the product an asset in the data center. In fact, AppManager Suite was a recent winner in the eWEEK Excellence Awards.
However, in all the years weve worked with the product, one thing hasnt changed: the recipe-card-style, tabbed-index interface. NetIQ has put a lot of information into a small space, and new users will likely need a significant amount of time to master AppManagers needlessly complex interface.
Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant is at email@example.com.