Manage your enterprise

Accurate and timely management is important to any network, and the bigger the network, the tougher the task of managing it. Many software packages are available for various types of network management, but which package is right for you?

HP's OpenView ManageX systems and application monitoring and management software is a well-rounded product for use on enterprise networks. The product is highly flexible and provides a robust set of tools that gives you detailed looks at system characteristics and control over many aspects of a Windows NT system.

HP acquired NuView's ManageX in November 1997. The software is developed on Microsoft's distributed component object model (DCOM) to run on NT networks. OpenView ManageX provides many ways to view and manipulate NT systems from one centralized console.

OpenView ManageX uses a three-tiered architecture that consists of a set of user interfaces grouped as the console and the monitor, the Smart Broker, and the Functionality and Intelligence Policy Modules. The first tier consists of the user interfaces, the ManageX Performance Monitor, and the ManageX Management Console, which is based on Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and provides familiar Windows functionality.

The second tier consists of the Smart Broker, which OpenView ManageX uses for network-based distribution and upgrades of OpenView ManageX agents and policies. The Smart Broker acts as the broker between the user interface and each managed node on the network.

The third tier consists of the Functionality and Intelligence Policy Modules, which perform automated system management tasks according to thresholds. The Functionality Modules determine what types of actions you can perform on an NT system, and the Intelligence Modules are rules and datasets that you've defined and saved using the OpenView ManageX Monitor. For example, you can monitor a SQL Server system's processor time for a certain threshold and have an administrator notified if the server exceeds the threshold for a given period of time.

OpenView ManageX extends MMC from a one-to-one management model, in which you administer systems one at a time, to a one-to-many model, in which you can manage many machines simultaneously. The OpenView ManageX console has the ability to autodiscover and autoconfigure systems on NT networks, and it lets you create logical groups of systems for easier management.

For example, you can group your Web servers and your Exchange servers into two separate groups for easier management. These logical groupings do not affect your NT domain structures. When you add new NT systems to your network, OpenView ManageX lets them automatically appear in a logical group.

OpenView ManageX ships with several snap-in modules that are ready to use out of the box. When you load these optional modules, they introduce a variety of functions, such as the ability to shut down a remote server or manage user accounts.

Installing and deploying OpenView ManageX is a simple task. The installation is similar to other NT software packages in which you simply define a location for the software. With the basic package installed, I defined objects to monitor and created my associated alerts. Next, I used the Management Console and installed the Smart Broker, Functionality Modules, and Intelligence Modules.

After I deployed the product to several of my NT systems, I tested its functionality by changing user passwords, rebooting systems remotely, and monitoring various thresholds such as performance and disk storage on some of my Internet-related services (as Screen 1 shows). In my tests, I found OpenView ManageX's abilities stellar, with the product performing exactly as HP states.

OpenView ManageX is a great product. If you're looking for a robust method of managing NT nodes remotely, I recommend you consider this product.

OpenView ManageX
Contact: HP * 888-688-4390 or 800-752-0900
Web: http://www.hp.com/openview/products/nuv.html
Price: Starts at $795 per server; volume pricing available
System Requirements: Windows NT 3.51 or 4.0