I recently used Argent Guardian 8.0 to automate some monitoring in our lab and found that it supports a complex monitor/alert/escalate/clear workflow, provides lots of monitoring mechanisms for Windows and other platforms, and is easy to use.

Argent Guardian comes with prebuilt rules that you schedule to run on one or more servers. The rules can be customized and come in classes that get information from Active Directory (AD), Performance Monitor, remote registry access, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), or by running a command. Though configuration can be a simple process of setting rules, servers, and alerts, Argent Guardian also provides detailed options. For example, you can add runbook text and hyperlinks to each rule to document how to fix the problem the rule detected. Both rules and alerts have test buttons to let you verify that they're configured correctly. Argent Guardian can also escalate alerts if a problem isn't fixed right away and automatically clear alerts if it no longer detects the problem.

Argent Guardian's GUI let me do most of what I might otherwise do with scripts. The built-in help was disappointing, but Argent Guardian's ease of use and Argent's excellent 24 × 7 tech support made this problem minor. Another gripe was that Argent Guardian can back up only its entire database. I would have preferred rule-by-rule change control to allow the rollback capability that I'd implement if I were monitoring with scripts. Overall, however, I was impressed with the product.



Argent Guardian 8.0
Contact: Argent * 860-674-1700
Web: sales@argent.com
Price: $15,000 for 10 Windows Server systems; $3000 per UNIX server
Summary
Pros: Detailed server monitoring and alerting; customizable rules and alerts; easy to use
Cons: No rule-by-rule change control; disappointing built-in help
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Recommendation: Argent Guardian provides the complexity to support large-scale data center server monitoring, but its GUI is intuitive enough for the IT generalist to pick up quickly.