Opalis Offers E-mail-based Remote Management

For some time now, The Opalis Software Group (Toronto, www.opalis.com) has produced OpalisRobot, an automation software suite for Windows NT. With the introduction of a new remote administration OpalisRobot E-mail Add-on module for version 3.0 of its OpalisRobot product, Opalis hopes to extend the functionality of its flagship automation software by providing Windows NT administrators with some degree of remote control over event-driven job automation and notification.

The concept of controlling one’s PC from a remote location is perhaps best known to many in the IT world through the medium of pcAnywhere from Symantec Corp. (Cupertino, Calif., www.symantec.com). Where Symantec and others manufacture products that provide only remote administration capabilities, OpalisRobot 3.0 is designed first and foremost as an automation tool for Windows NT that now includes additional automation features that can be triggered remotely.

"OpalisRobot is actually not remote control software at all," explains Jason Smith, a spokesperson with Opalis Software. "It’s actually automation software that automates processes on your NT Server, and allows you to do simple drag-and-drop processes to automate events."

OpalisRobot 3.0 installs as a Windows NT service and monitors a number of predefined metrics for system events that trigger job, process, notification or other actions. OpalisRobot 3.0 provides automation or notification services for a number of different events, including date or time events that are used to schedule jobs, file system events that trigger jobs when files are new or modified in a folder or when their size exceeds a given quota, Windows NT service events that trigger tasks when a service stops or fails, and Event Viewer events that are triggered on receipt of messages in the Windows NT Event Viewer.

OpalisRobot 3.0 provides an extension of such event-based automation by offering new remote control functionality in the form of an e-mail add-on that can support e-mail-based action triggering of jobs or processes.

According to Smith, most of the capabilities provided by the base OpalisRobot 3.0 software are available through the new OpalisRobot E-mail Add-on module as well. "You can have it restart a service if it fails by means of an e-mail, or you can have it set to restart automatically and send you an e-mail alerting you that the service has failed, etc," Smith explains. "The possibilities are really endless, as any executable function within Windows NT Workstation or Windows NT Server can be performed."

But the OpalisRobot E-mail Add-on has a range of applicability that goes beyond system management, Opalis maintains. According to Opalis, users could use the add-on as a trigger in a document retrieval system, for example. In this schema, a worker could send an e-mail to the Opalis account requesting a specific document. The e-mail would trigger the OpalisRobot E-mail Add-on client to respond by either returning the document to the worker or directing the document to the print queue.