Almost every systems administrator will appreciate AlertPage Enterprise. Proactive systems management requires knowing what is happening throughout your enterprise, and AlertPage helps you keep informed.
The program watches just about any critical piece of software or hardware in your enterprise and notifies you of a change in status--good, bad, or otherwise--as shown in Screen 1. AlertPage runs from the client side independently of your servers--in fact the software runs happily on Windows 95.
AlertPage's job is simply to monitor your systems and alert you when appropriate. The tool can watch the contents of any of the NT log files-- System, Security, or Application--that you specify. AlertPage can ping TCP/IP or IPX devices, such as routers and printers, and send a notification in case of a failure.
The tool can also intercept, filter, and forward Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) traps. SNMP users will appreciate the large set of compiled Management Information Bases (MIBs) included with the product.
AlertPage can notify you through the Telocator Alphanumeric Protocol (TAP), which most alpha paging systems use, or through a variety of email interfaces including Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and Messaging API (MAPI). This email feature can multiply the power of AlertPage by using an email gateway to notify you via fax, voicemail, or other services, such as paging systems, that are not supported directly.
For users with Web servers, a new feature monitors response time and availability. If your server--or any server on the Internet for that matter--slows or goes down, you'll know about the problem before the complaints come in. As Screen 2 shows, you can even monitor the response times of Web sites critical to your Web server's performance. Because AlertPage keeps track of all the information it collects, it provides a simple but informative display of system performance and availability.
The problem most systems administrators will have with AlertPage is that it's so flexible, they'll have trouble deciding what they want the program to do. You can arrange AlertPage's collection of simple components into a sophisticated notification infrastructure.
Installation is a snap--15 minutes or so will cover it. The most time-consuming part of the installation is creating the user accounts on each server you want to monitor.
Making It Work
AlertPage needs to know the modem it will use, the phone numbers of the pagers it will notify, and the email accounts it will use. The product automatically discovers all NT and Net- Ware servers visible to the machine on which the product is running. AlertPage can discover IP devices through a brute force approach based on a simple range of IP addresses.
The product can also monitor any ASCII log file. With a little cleverness, you can use this feature to monitor nearly any event that involves software on your machines.
After discovery, AlertPage lists event log entries that trigger alerts. The product sends alerts to groups of pagers that are generally representative of areas of responsibility. AlertPage supports a 52-week calendar. With this calendar, you can implement a duty roster that specifies the person to notify, depending on the time and date.
For servers, text appearing in the log files determines alert generation. The process is multitiered; it checks the eligibility of an event for alert and its severity before notifying the configured group. For IP devices, a response threshold determines whether a device is considered unavailable and requires administrator notification.
A Sensible Tool
Leveraging AlertPage's impressive flexibility requires careful study. However, the elements are simple and configuration is logical. Even if you use a sophisticated network management package, this software will find work in your enterprise system. AlertPage is a sensible tool.
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$695 for five device-license packages