BMC Revamps "Lite" Management Tool

Patrol Express gives customers only the infrastructure management and monitoring products they need

Case in point: BMC Software Inc. this week introduced version 3.0 of Patrol Express, a product that exploits what BMC calls a “sliding scale of management” approach that purports to give customers only the infrastructure management and monitoring products that they actually need.

“People are buying this because they want a combination of management and monitoring, but they realize that not all systems require the same level. The problem is that these [management] tools typically do not scale to fit their requirements,” comments Andrew James, director of Patrol Express with BMC.

One reason Patrol Express 3.0 scales, James says, is because it exploits an agent-less architecture that allows customers to more easily monitor a range of different platforms and applications—even across enterprise firewalls. Not that the revamped Patrol is an agent-unfriendly environment. James says customers that have already deployed BMC’s full-blown Patrol enterprise management suite can also exploit Patrol agents if they wish.

Patrol Express product line is a "lite" version of the full Patrol suite. It provides system availability detection and remote service level monitoring, but lacks the recovery capabilities, root cause analysis, service level management, and enterprise management capabilities of the larger Patrol suite.

“The products talk to each other, so if you start with Express, obviously you want to do standalone [non-agent-based] monitoring,” he comments. “If you deploy any other component of classic Patrol, they can talk to each other. If you want agent data appearing in that browser, you can do that, too.”

New features in Patrol Express include support for storage device monitoring, along with system monitoring enhancements that allow administrators to drill-down from the account level to specific parameters. A revamped “Alerts” feature supports logging of alert history, element service, element name and network name or IP address, time of detection, criticality, and who was notified. Also, a new “Service Measures” tab allows administrators to determine the availability and mean-time-to-repair of affected services. Patrol Express 3.0 also includes a revamped reporting component that allows administrators to compare multiple services and elements in the same report, schedule reports, and generate reports specific to Web transactions.

Patrol Express is entirely portal based and exposes management and monitoring information in the context of a “Service Integration Portal.” The portal communicates with a Remote Service Monitor that monitors and collects information about systems in an environment.

Not surprisingly, James suggests that Patrol Express—which is aimed at the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) market—is also a good choice for enterprise accounts that need to roll out management or monitoring capabilities to remote or branch sites. “It’s a good fit for retail customers, especially in large branch installations, those that have check out [point-of-sale systems] with an active machine running beneath it,” he suggests. “Outside of retail, banking and finance departments often have branch installations that have a need for this.”

BMC also offers a hosted version of Patrol Express under the auspices of its GuardianAngel hosting program. This is an especially popular option in the SMB space, James confirms. “Ninety percent of the [SMB] transactions have been through resellers. That’s identifying that the SMB business doesn’t want anything to do with the product themselves—they want somebody to handle the product for them,” he notes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.