Administrators who have been wary of remote-control applications because of performance and limited features should take a look at Netopia's Timbuktu Pro. The solution provides a multiplatform remote-control and file-exchange solution through an integrated package, Timbuktu Pro Enterprise 2.0, comprising various clients. Timbuktu Pro 32 for Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95 is the latest addition, offering 32-bit support. The package also includes a 16-bit Timbuktu Pro 1.5 client for NT 4.0 and 3.51, Windows 95, and Windows 3.x, and Timbuktu Pro Mac OS client.
Through this complete package, Timbuktu gives remote- control and file-sharing capabilities to workgroups, remote employees, and your help desk, server, or Web administrators who are using LAN, WAN, Windows Remote Access Service, TCP/IP, intranet, or Internet connections.
With impressive performance, integration with NT security and the addition of collaborative features, Timbuktu Pro offers enough tools to be truly productive across the enterprise.
Timbuktu produced better overall performance than many of its competitors and was the best with display and response characteristics. Unlike pcAnywhere or Rapid Remote, Timbuktu does not offer terminal capabilities. When compared with Remotely Possible, Timbuktu was slower at remote system operation and slightly faster with file transfers.
The latest Timbuktu Pro 32 client adds screen sharing between users, a built-in intercom (for talking directly with other users via the network or Internet), and a text-based chat feature. Because Timbuktu Pro works with multiple address books, you can easily access your entire workgroup or contact a user with one simple step.
In my tests, I experienced clear, colour-accurate and astonishingly fast desktop display refresh rates when working with another system remotely. This is especially impressive considering that both my system and the remote system had different high-resolution settings. Netopia's V-wedge and IntelliScreen technology provide this device-independent screen sharing between NT 4.0 and 3.51, Windows 95, Windows 3.x, and Macintosh systems without intrusively replacing video drivers or manipulating NT.
Timbuktu Pro 32 also integrates well with Windows 95's Network Neighborhood, letting me easily establish a remote-control session from any other networked Timbuktu Pro machine's context menu.
Most remote-control operations were fast and flawless during my tests, except when I was running DOS programs on the remote system. The remote system would disconnect a few seconds later and I had to physically reboot it to reconnect. In addition, network file transfers took twice as long as when using Windows Explorer.
As part of the Timbuktu Pro Enterprise Edition, the Administrator's Toolkit offers deployment, administration and security for implementation across the enterprise. The Toolkit contains an NT push installer; Windows 95 network installers; site management utilities; an Administrator's Console for access to users; Web integration for intranets and Web-based remote control; and a universally available Web-based reference guide.
Timbuktu Pro also integrates with NT sec-urity to leverage your existing security settings. Additional integration tools provide seamless remote control from your existing systems-management and help-desk applications, such as Tivoli's TME, Microsoft's Systems Management Server, Computer Associates' Unicenter TNG, and others.
With the addition of the Timbuktu Pro 32 client, the Timbuktu Pro Enterprise Edition rounds out Netopia's solid, full-featured solution for boosting remote administration in the enterprise and adds useful collaboration extras. Because it is licensed on a per-node basis, you will also save upgrade costs when client platforms change. vThe Bottom LineTimbuktu Pro 32This remote-control software offers administrators full-featured remote control, file exchange, screen sharing, chat, intercom, and notify services across networks and the Internet.
Pros: Fast connections; multiple OS
compatibility and interconnectivity; colour-accurate screen displays; extremely fastrefresh rates; innovative and economicalpricing structure
Cons: Could not successfully run DOS-based programs on a remote system without disconnection from the local system; file transfers slower than with Windows ExplorerPlatforms: Windows NT 4.0 and 3.51, Win 95, Windows 3.x; MacintoshPrice: $283 RRP for a twin pack; $1180 RRP for the 10-user version; $2767 for the 30-user version; and $7640 for the 100-user versionLidcam TechnologyTel (03) 9865 9077 Fax (03) 9866 1245Tel (02) 9922 7020 Fax (02) 9922 7071WebFOCUS uses browser to access company databy Tim FieldenThe creation and distribution of reports at many corporate sites is still a headache for IT. Information Builder's (IBI's) WebFOCUS 3.3.1 goes a long way towards alleviating that pain.
This is a very good solution aimed at helping both developers and Web designers build powerful executive information system (EIS) and decision-support applications. But be warned: I did not find WebFOCUS easy to set up and you might not either.
There's a reason why setting up enterprise reporting systems is complicated. Most solutions rely on middleware, and implementing middleware is never easy.
IBI seems to have carved out a space of its own in that WebFOCUS handles both data access and reporting.
The other all-important advantage to Web-FOCUS is that, because it is built on IBI's Enterprise Data Access (EDA) middleware, your applications will be able to pull data from multiple sources regardless of hardware platform, database structure or physical location.
WebFOCUS is made up of just a few components beyond the basic Web browser. The browser lets end users access data along with the tools to create custom reports.
WebFOCUS is not flawless, but it does offer powerful reporting and decision-support capabilities. Add to that its capability to gather and present data from various platforms via a browser, and you have the makings of a useful tool.
This Web-reporting tool is proof that report development does not have to be difficult.
Pros: Good scalability; some online analytical processing capabilitiesCons: Occasional crashes; help-text bugsPlatforms: WebFOCUS server: Windows NT, Unix, MVS, VMS, Open VMS; CGI program: Windows 95, NT (Intel or Alpha), MVS, Unix, Open VMS; Focus Six: Windows 3.x, Win 95 or NTPrice: starts from $12,000 RRP for an unlimited licence on an NT boxInformation BuildersTel (03) 9650 6855 Fax (03) 9650 6955