Intel, Partners Target Easing Remote Management

The distributed nature of the Windows NT operating system and Intel PC servers creates management headaches as companies add more servers, often in remote offices. Targeting the goal of giving administrators the means to effectively facilitate remote management of PC servers, Intel Corp., Softway Systems Inc. (San Francisco, and Computer Associates Int’l Inc. announced a new Remote Management Server Package for Windows NT Servers.

Intel announced the Remote Management Server Package for Windows NT during the ISPCON conference, a trade show for Internet service providers held during late September in San Jose, Calif. At least one analyst sees the timing of such an announcement as significant because Intel and Microsoft Corp. would like to extend the reach of both Windows NT and Intel PC servers in the ISP community, a traditional bastion for Unix servers.

The problem Microsoft faces is that Unix administrators expect seasoned remote management tools. "It’s a hard sell for Microsoft and Intel into these types of environments," says an industry analyst who asked not to be identified. "NT has traditionally come up short, and I’m not convinced that this [Remote Management Server Package] alone is sufficient to make a case for a Microsoft/Intel solution in these types of mission-critical environments."

Intel says that the Remote Management Server Package for Windows NT Servers is a software-only offering and does not include any new hardware options or services. Intel itself will distribute floppy-disk-based remote diagnostic software, called the Remote Diagnostics Infrastructure, that creates a bootable server environment for the remote diagnostic tools. Also included will be version 2.2 of Interix, formerly OpenNT, a Unix-type operating system published by Softway Systems that runs natively with Windows NT and leverages NT’s POSIX subsystem. Remotely Possible/32, GUI-based remote control software for the Windows NT platform distributed by CA, is another component in the package.

The final piece in the package is Microsoft’s virtual private networking software, the inclusion of which Intel says facilitates secure server management over WANs and leased lines.

The Remote Management Server Package contains free, 60-day evaluation versions of each of the software applications. Using the package, customers will be able to access local or remote Intel-based Windows NT servers, perform diagnostic tests, and run system daemons, shell scripts and utilities from any location.

The inclusion of Softway Systems’ Interix, in particular, brings the advantages of a Unix command-line TELNET environment to bear in the service of remote management on the Windows NT platform. Softway Systems’ Interix also manages to transmute some aspects of the Unix look-and-feel and robust management functionality to the Windows NT platform, says Rick Echevarria, director of Internet marketing with Intel. "With the inclusion of the Interix software, users can benefit from access to the wide range of applications available for Windows NT and still have the remote management capabilities found on their Unix systems," Echevarria notes.