Monitor your system's performance

Managing a computer system in an enterprise environment can be time-consuming. You need proper tools to determine whether your systems are running at peak performance. Heroix's RoboMon 7.0 is a system-monitoring utility that can help you monitor your network's performance.

RoboMon uses a rules-based engine to collect data about your systems' operations. This engine lets you define a situation for the software to monitor and initiates an action when it detects a problem. Collectively implemented, these rules become RoboMon processes.

RoboMon is fully network-enabled, so you can use the product on multiple Windows NT servers in your enterprise. You can create and manage the rules for your enterprise from one computer. RoboMon stores all the data it collects in a central database. The installation process also establishes the RoboMon event database as a Jet engine Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) data source.

To test the software, I installed the product on my dual-Pentium II NT Server 4.0 computer. This server also runs Microsoft Exchange Server and SQL Server. I used RoboMon to monitor various aspects of NT and BackOffice components. The installation process is routine. I had to reboot my system for the installation to complete.

RoboMon's central management facility is the RoboMon Enterprise Manager, which Screen 1 shows. This facility uses an NT Explorerlike interface to list RoboMon's systems and rules. You group rules into categories, called processes, for each computer system. The left pane of the program shows a treeview that lists the domains and systems in your enterprise environment. The left pane also lists the RoboMon processes that each server has installed. These processes let you install each RoboMon rule on only the machines that run the software that the rule monitors. The right pane contains a list of rules, but not necessarily the rules for the process you select in the left pane. Unlike NT Explorer, RoboMon doesn't automatically update the list in the right pane when you select a process in the left pane. You select the process of rules you want to view in the right pane through the Source Rule Computer drop-down list directly above the right pane.

Adding a new rule is simple. The RoboMon Rule Wizard takes you through the steps of creating a new rule by asking you a few basic questions. You need to understand NT Performance Monitor to specify what you want RoboMon to monitor. You can't tell RoboMon which statistic or event you want to track; you must select the item to monitor. Then the wizard takes you to the RoboMon Rule Designer, in which you customize implementation. You can change the interval, the condition, and the action of the rule.

RoboMon includes a scripting language you use to define the actions you want the software to implement when a system meets a rule's conditions. The software can perform dozens of actions by default, such as sending mail to a party you specify or executing another rule. The scripting language can create variables (to perform actions such as controlling program flow) that you can use Boolean constructs to test. You can enable and disable other rules. You can move rules from one computer to another by dragging the rule from the source system to the destination system.

After I installed RoboMon, I had to configure the processes I wanted RoboMon to use. Then, I had to start the RoboMon processes to begin data collection. I was collecting data on my server in less than 5 minutes. Depending on your environment, you have to run RoboMon for quite awhile to get enough data to analyze.

The product offers volume price breaks only at the 11th and 51st seats. This price structure makes RoboMon reasonable in small environments but expensive in large environments.

RoboMon 7.0
Contact: Heroix * 800-229-6500
Web: http://www.heroix.com
Price: $1000
System Requirements: Windows NT 3.51 (with Service Pack 5) or 4.0, 90MHz Pentium processor or better, 32MB of RAM, 25MB of hard disk space, TCP/IP network protocol