Access BindView EMS data from a Web browser

Users want Web-based interfaces, so many companies retrofit their products with Web-based GUls. BindView Development joins the pack with bv-Web. This Java-based add-on for BindView Enterprise Management System (EMS) lets you view network health information from a Web browser. BindView EMS provides one enterprise console interface for managing network administration.

bv-Web creates reports with a neatly designed user interface (UI). The product arranges reports in six top-level categories: Desktop Administration, Server Administration, Security, Year 2000 Compliance, Low Disk Space, and Intruder Detection. Each category can have subcategories, depending on how you configure the product and your network environment.

bv-Web consists of three components: the Viewer, the Event Server, and the Data Collector. The Viewer lets you see the collected information. You can access the Viewer with a Java-enabled Web browser or as a Java-based desktop application. The Event Server delivers email and pager alerts according to administrator-defined threshold settings. The Data Collector is BindView EMS, which gathers information from the network and saves it in a bv-Web file format.

The Viewer interface is easy to use, as Screen 1 shows. bv-Web uses large color-coded icons for each top-level report category so that you can see which network areas require attention. The color scheme uses green for normal, blue for warnings, yellow for danger, and red for critical. (You can change these default settings.) You can click any icon to drill down to see a report in grid format. In my test, the product identified the Security report as critical. When I clicked this icon, a new screen appeared with the monitored items that needed attention. A downside to bv-Web is that you can't print reports while you're using the desktop Java-based Viewer. BindView claims the next version will support printing.

I installed the product on a Windows NT 4.0 server with Service Pack 4 (SP4) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 5.0. bv-Web ships with Microsoft Java Virtual Machine (JVM). I selected the components to install, a folder to copy the components into, and a Start menu folder name.

Installation was easy, but configuration can be tricky because the Viewer and Event Server share one flat text file to store their configuration information. You must edit this file with a text editor (e.g., Notepad) because BindView doesn't provide a configuration GUI for either component. However, I easily configured bv-Web with a text editor.

The Viewer configuration settings let you customize the UI and its reports. For example, you can select custom icons, font faces and sizes, and grid spacing. The Event Server acts according to the severity levels it detects in its query data. Actions include logging the event, paging someone, sending email, and launching Java applications. To configure the Event Server, you define which events trigger which actions. You also define an SMTP mail server name, an event database path, a monitor log file, and an information-polling interval.

With the text-based configuration complete, I used the EMS/Enterprise Console to establish an information export schedule for bv-Web. I selected the data items I wanted to export and selected the BindView Export Device format. Schedules let you assemble batch processing operations. The software lets you include any BindView EMS informational items in these schedules, including other schedules. This nesting of schedules lets you fully customize the product's top-level view.

bv-Web is flexible, and its Java-based interface lets you easily access the information BindView EMS generates. If you're using BindView EMS, consider bv-Web.

Contact: BindView Development * 713-561-4000 or 800-813-5869
Price: $9995 per Web server
System Requirements: Windows NT Server 4.0 or later, 64MB of RAM, 65MB of hard disk space, Microsoft Java Virtual Machine, BindView EMS/Enterprise Console 5.2 or later
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