A small company soon plans to promote an enhanced suite of software products that can monitor and alert you to problems with your servers, modems, or e-mail systems - for about half the price of existing offerings. This product line, known as WatchDog, will include separate programs to analyse file servers, modems, e-mail systems, and IP network devices.
These utilities for system administrators and webmasters will compete directly with products such as IP.Check from Tally Systems (formerly Baranoff) and AlertPage from Platinum Technology (formerly Geneva Software). But WatchDog programs could launch a price war in this category.
A licence to monitor 50 IP network devices with WatchDog-IP, for example, is expected to cost about $US2300. A licence for monitoring 50 devices with AlertPage costs $4000.
Products such as these can be an IT professional's best friend. When some piece of hardware or software in your network goes south, you should always be the first to find out about it - not some irritated user or, heaven forbid, your boss.
The programs in the WatchDog series for Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT have the following capabilities.
WatchDog-IP is designed to monitor systems using protocols such as Telnet, Gopher, Finger, FTP, DNS, and HTTP.
WatchDog-Modem queries any serial devices with an AT command set, as well as ISDN serial terminal adapters.
WatchDog-Mail analyses e-mail systems based on Messaging API, POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.
WatchDog-Server is for file server functions such as file copy, directory search, and LDAP.
These products will detect failures on a schedule you specify. For example, you might wish to monitor a particular component once per minute or only once every few days.
If a particular device is prone to have a certain number of "normal" failures, you can specify that an alert should be triggered only after several consecutive unsuccessful events.
You can also specify that you should receive regular "everything is OK" messages, by e-mail, pager, or other means.
For those who travel, WatchDog products can post an alert by creating a user-defined HTML page. The page is uploaded to your Web server via file copy or FTP. This allows you to examine the health of your systems from wherever in the world you may be (assuming you can get on the Web from there).
The monitoring suite can also employ more mundane forms of notification. You can specify as many as 12 destinations for e-mail messages or 12 numeric or alphanumeric messages to be sent to pagers. You can display a screen message, play any sound (from a .wav file), or execute any program. Information about WatchDog is available at www.niftytools.com. For information on IP.Check, see www.baranoff.com. For AlertPage, see www.genevasoft.com.