Heroix Unveils New RoboMon Version

Management in the mainframe environment was much simpler than in today’s distributed computing world. In the Windows NT environment, administrators looking for mainframe-like management functionality must often turn to independent software vendors for help.

With the introduction of version 7.0 of its flagship system management software, RoboMon, Heroix Corp. (Newton, Mass., www.heroix.com) hopes to provide Windows NT system administrators with some help.

According to Tim Leoni, director of business development with Heroix, the Windows NT marketplace is currently experiencing a scarcity of competent Windows NT system administrators. In Leoni’s account, this makes management of Windows NT environments even more difficult. "What we’re seeing in the marketplace is that there are fewer, less experienced IT staff," he says.

RoboMon 7.0 features new reporting and graphics functionality that automatically archives performance data, as well as generates reports and graphs that can be used for performance monitoring, capacity planning or management reporting. In addition, RoboMon 7.0 also provides a new Solutions Manager tool that enables administrators to modify rule settings on a global basis for built-in rules as well as user-defined rules.

Mike Westerfield, a systems engineer with Sunterra Resorts Inc. (Orlando, Fla.), is a RoboMon 6.4a user who has beta-tested and plans on deploying RoboMon 7.0. According to Westerfield, RoboMon 7.0’s revamped reporting and drag-and-drop action capabilities will be welcome additions to the product.

"I’m definitely looking forward to the new reporting capabilities, and they’ve made it much easier to manipulate the entire program itself," Westerfield explains. "Management and administration are much more drag and drop [in RoboMon 7.0], the ability to add your own statistics is much improved, and it’s just much easier to use."

Also new in RoboMon 7.0 is the Event Server Configuration Manager, a fault-tolerance feature that Howard Reisman, chairman and CEO of Heroix, says has been adapted to the distributed nature of Windows NT enterprise environments. The Event Server Configuration Manager leverages several discrete databases for event reporting and notification, which Reisman says ensures reliability and availability in the event of machine failures. In this fault-tolerant model, a RoboMon collection agent can route event notifications to different databases as predefined by an administrator. For those event databases that share event notifications, RoboMon 7.0 doesn’t employ a replication schema, but instead relies on resynchronization between databases when a failed machine comes back online.

"If you have an agent generating events, and you want those events to go to box A, box B and box C, the agent sends them to those boxes. If box A goes down, obviously [boxes] B and C are going to have more up-to-date events, but when [box] A comes back online, it is automatically resynchronized," Reisman explains.

RoboMon 7.0 also provides administrative functionality from any workstation or server in an enterprise and ships with a newly updated GUI that Heroix’s Leoni says facilitates integration of RoboMon with other system management frameworks. Environments RoboMon 7.0 can integrate with include OpenView from Hewlett-Packard Co., TME 10 from Tivoli Systems Inc. (Austin, Texas, www.tivoli.com) and Unicenter TNG, from Computer Associates Int’l Inc.

Sunterra Resorts’ Westerfield says that RoboMon was his choice when his company needed a performance and capacity management solution to help with the deployment of 60 to 80 servers running WinFrame software from Citrix Systems Inc. "We outlined what we were looking for, basically a configurable system tool that didn’t take up a whole lot of resources and basically did what we wanted it to do," Westerfield observes. "It was one of those deals where RoboMon was such an obvious fit for what we needed it for."