Bytware Takes the Message to NT

Like it or not, PCs running Windows NT Server from Microsoft Corp. are propagating like Malthusian rabbits in many AS/400 environments. This presents a substantial management problem for AS/400 network administrators, a difficulty further compounded by Microsoft’s lack of distributed NT management tools and the corresponding ignorance on the part of many AS/400 shops of the workings of Windows NT. With the introduction of MessengerNT, Bytware Inc. (www.bytware.com) hopes to give AS/400 administrators a tool to manage NT environments from the comfort of an AS/400 console.

MessengerNT works by monitoring and filtering the event log notifications of Windows NT servers and providing a management perspective from a vantage point that may prove familiar for many AS/400 managers: the AS/400 platform itself. In the Windows NT world, Event Log notifications are the foundation of Microsoft’s distributed management infrastructure, providing information about general system performance as well as disk, application, security and other metrics.

In the most basic sense, MessengerNT permits administrators to set up a message queue for an NT server or servers. In this model, AS/400 administrators can filter Windows NT event notifications at the message queue server level – exactly as they do with AS/400 messages.

Because MessengerNT is positioned as a complementary product to Bytware’s existing MessengerPlus or MessengerConsole products, it requires that one or both products be installed on an AS/400 system. With MessengerPlus or MessengerConsole in place, however, MessengerNT can provide rich alerting and notification capabilities. Administrators can attach notification actions to event filters which can automatically dispatch e-mail, pager or break messages to authorized IT personnel.

Like many event filtering tools, MessengerNT provides advanced reporting features that allow administrators to compile event notifications and determine the number of times a specific event, events or sequence of events occurred over a period of time. In addition, with MessengerNT in place, Bytware’s Messenger Event Management Console can consolidate both Windows NT and AS/400 events, providing an aggregate management view of NT and AS/400 systems from one common console.

And according to Steve Tuscher, a systems administrator with grocery reseller Canned Foods Inc., it’s this aspect of the MessengerNT/MessengerPlus environment that has proven to be one of the product’s biggest value-adds. "I’d been using the MessengerPlus product on the AS/400 for a number of years, and I started looking for a similar product for Windows NT," Tuscher indicates, noting that Canned Foods has a mixed AS/400 and Windows NT environment. "What appealed to me most was that MessengerNT integrated with the existing MessengerPlus product, and so I trusted Bytware’s reputation for quality software and I expected it to work well -- and it has."

But because of its close integration with his existing AS/400 event management infrastructure, MessengerNT also eases Tuscher's management burden in another important regard. "I try to consolidate as far as I can, so if I can provide the functionality that I’m looking for in NT from a vendor with whom I’m comfortable, like Bytware, that’s an additional bonus," he comments. "It just makes it easier from my point of view as a manager not to have an additional software vendor."