ACTIVE DIRECTORY MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Our readers chose NetIQ's Directory and Resource Administrator (DRA) as the Best Active Directory Management Tool.

NetIQ DRA lets you easily and securely delegate administration tasks to your help desk and other users in your organization. DRA provides an easy-to-use interface designed to ensure enterprise security, significantly reduce the overall cost of administration, and increase administration efficiency in your environment.

DRA provides the following features:

  • Easy-to-use Web console designed for the casual administrator
  • Rules- and roles-based administration that can span OUs, domains, trees, and forests
  • Enforced business polices and automate repetitive tasks
  • Detailed logging of all actions and comprehensive reporting
  • Part of a comprehensive secure administration suite
DIRECTORY AND RESOURCE ADMINISTRATOR
NetIQ Corp.
San Jose, CA
(408) 856-3000
www.netiq.com
Price: 100-user License Pack, $1,600

APPLICATION AND OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT TOOLS
In a category with many contenders, NetIQ's AppManager earned nearly 30 percent of the vote as Best Application and Operations Management Tool.

With AppManager, IT personnel can take control of their e-business environments by pinpointing performance and availability problems, providing critical diagnostic information for troubleshooting and enabling easy service level and performance reporting.

From its central, easy-to-use console, AppManager provides a comprehensive solution for centrally managing the health, performance, and availability of more than 60 Windows and UNIX server systems and applications—from the physical hardware to business-critical server applications that include Exchange, SQL Server, Oracle, SAP R/3, Lotus Domino, Solaris, Linux, Apache, and MQSeries.


APPMANAGER
NetIQ Corp.
San Jose, CA
(408) 856-3000
www.netiq.com
Price: Based on the number and type of managed systems and applications. Agents start at $600 and consoles start at $2,500. Prices for UNIX-monitoring modules start at $750 per server.

ASSET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
By a wide margin, our readers say that Microsoft's Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0 provides the best solution for managing assets.

With SMS, you can easily reconcile software purchases with what's been deployed or what's in use. IT administrators can take advantage of the built-in software inventory features of SMS, in addition to the information provided by Web-based reports.

SMS collects in-depth inventory data, by using Windows Management Instrumentation, for hardware and software on all Windows systems. A reporting engine offers a large variety of pre-built reports that you can view from any Web browser. Intelligent scanning checks executables for details such as manufacturer and version, rather than relying on a library database.


SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT SERVER 2.0
Microsoft Corp.
Redmond, WA
(425) 882-8080
www.microsoft.com/smserver/
Price: Starts at $1,129 for a server and five user licenses.

CHANGE AND CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Microsoft's System Management Server (SMS) 2.0 also won a Readers' Choice Award in the category Best Change and Configuration Management Tools.

The scalability, simplicity, and integration with the operating system make SMS a comprehensive change and configuration management solution for Windows environments. Whether you are getting inventory reports for a handful of systems or sending new software to tens of thousands of computers across the world, SMS can scale to meet you needs.

SMS takes advantage of Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and the Microsoft management console, making them core services, and also uses Windows services, security, and interfaces.


SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT SERVER 2.0
Microsoft Corp.
Redmond, WA
(425) 882-8080
www.microsoft.com/smserver/
Price: Starts at $1,129 for a server and five user licenses.

DISK IMAGING SOFTWARE
Our readers chose ACD Systems' ACDSee 4.0 as the winner in the category Best Disk Imaging Software.

ACDSee 4.0, an imaging solution for home and professional use, gives you the power to acquire images; view more than 50 popular multimedia file formats; play slide shows with sound, text, and transition effects; and browse thousands of thumbnails at high speed from your hard drive and entire CD collection.

You organize your image files with the batch rename function and search for digital images by file name, keyword, and metadata. You can enhance and correct images with red-eye reduction, crop, flip, rotate, and sharpen. And you can take stills from video and add audio to images. Print photos and contact sheets and share your photos via email or with SendPix, ACD Systems free Internet photo hosting service.

With a new "flat" user interface you can access any function from anywhere in the program. You can also customize screen layout, toolbars, and options to suit your preferences and make your digital imaging experience even faster. Everyone from novices to professionals will find something to love in this fast and easy-to-use digital imaging software.


ACDSEE 4.0
ACD Systems Ltd.
Redmond, WA
Saanichton, BC Canada
(250) 544-6700
www.acdsystems.com
Price: $49.95 (30-day fully featured trial version available for free)

MONITORING AND ALERTING SOFTWARE
In a category with many product nominations, NetIQ's AppManager easily won its second Readers' Choice Award.

AppManager is a widely adopted solution for managing, analyzing, and reporting on the health, performance, and availability of mission-critical Windows and UNIX servers and applications.

Providing a broad and deep management view into your infrastructure, AppManager identifies specific conditions that affect application availability and performance, triggering appropriate corrective actions and notifications, and gathering detailed long-term data for planning, analysis, and reporting.

AppManager's central, easy-to-use console lets you manage virtually every component of a highly distributed Windows environment, from the physical hardware to business-critical server applications such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Citrix MetaFrame XP, Lotus Domino, Oracle, SAP R/3, and Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). With AppManager, you can ensure your mission-critical e-business systems operate successfully.


APPMANAGER
NetIQ Corp.
San Jose, CA
Saanichton, BC Canada
(408) 856-3000
www.netiq.com
Price: Based on the number and type of managed systems and applications. Agents start at $600 and consoles start at $2,500.

OS MIGRATION TOOLS
In one of several Readers' Choice Awards won by NetIQ, the company's Domain Migration Administrator (DMA) handily captured the award for Best OS Migration Tools.

DMA provides high-performance, automated Windows NT domain consolidation and rapid, easy, and reliable migration to Windows 2000. DMA automates many tasks and eliminates thousands of steps by simplifying and streamlining the migration process, thus eliminating errors, reducing risks, and ensuring the integrity of the environment. In addition, DMA provides detailed reports that let you easily evaluate the state of your migration during planning and after the migration is underway.

You can install DMA in a few minutes and use it to help plan your migration or consolidation project in a few hours. With intuitive, task-based interfaces, DMA saves time, reduces the cost of planning a migration, and reduces the cost of implementing the plan.


DOMAIN MIGRATION ADMINISTRATOR
NetIQ Corp.
San Jose, CA
(408) 856-3000
www.netiq.com
Price: $600 for a 100-user pack or as part of the NetIQ Migration Suite, which is priced at $1,200 per 100-user pack.

PERFORMANCE-TUNING TOOLS
NetIQ's End2End Performance Monitor Suite captured 46 percent of the vote to win the award for Best Performance-Tuning Tools.

End2End monitors the performance of networked applications from the user's point of view to quickly and accurately pinpoint whether a problem is with the network, client, or server. The suite offers Web-based reporting and consists of distinct monitoring modules, each providing a unique view of application performance.

With End2End, IT managers can tackle the complexities of application performance in a single console, enabling cooperation across network and systems management while reducing the number of tools required to solve application-performance problems.

End2End also includes two optional modules, Expert Analysis and Diagnostics on Demand. Expert Analysis provides one-click drilldown into performance problems, quickly determining whether the client, network, or server is the cause. Diagnostics on Demand provides real-time tests of application performance so you can verify that a performance problem has been resolved without involving your end users in the troubleshooting process.


END2END
NetIQ Corp.
San Jose, CA
(408) 856-3000
www.netiq.com
Price: System configurations start at $25,000

QUOTA MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
NORTHERN's Quota Server and Quota Server Admin+ captured more than 40 percent of the vote to walk away with the Readers' Choice Award for Best Quota Management Software.

Quota Server and Quota Server Admin+ enable system administrators to set storage quotas on disk objects such as directories, files, and individual user or group accounts. In addition, administrators can apply file-blocking quotas to remove entire file types from their systems.

Quota Server Admin+, a leading Web-based SRM solution, facilitates "anytime, anywhere" administration of storage resources. When a quota is exceeded, an alert prompts the software for a specified response, which automatically prevents a user from exceeding their quota and generates instructions about how the user can remedy the situation.

Full cluster support lets administrators seamlessly set and monitor user-based quotas, creating a coherent storage management framework in clustered environments. Quota Server and Quota Server Admin+ offer a wide range of reporting options and integrate with leading network administration packages.


QUOTA SERVER AND
QUOTA SERVER ADMIN+
NORTHERN Parklife, Inc.
Tampa, FL
(800) 881-4950
www.northern.net
Price: Quota Server Admin+ starts at $1,295.

REGISTRY MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Most system administrators would agree that working with the registry is tricky, and our readers agree that BindView's bv-Admin Mobile is the best choice for the task.

bv-Admin Mobile provides a solution for network administrators who are not always connected to their workstations, whether they are in another area of the office or across the country. Based on Microsoft's .NET framework, bv-Admin Mobile provides secure, wireless access to user accounts, services, and computers.

Administrators using bv-Admin Mobile can perform administrative tasks from any location using a wireless PocketPC, a WAP-enabled cellular phone, or a Blackberry hand-held device. Resetting passwords, unlocking accounts, managing services or rebooting servers can be performed wirelessly from any location, providing organizations with greater flexibility, reduced downtime, and decreased administrative costs.


BV-ADMIN MOBILE
BindView
Houston, TX
(713) 561-4000
www.bindview.com
Price: Available upon request.

REMOTE MANAGEMENT TOOLS
From a lengthy list of choices, our readers chose Microsoft's Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0 as the best remote management tool.

SMS offers a proven way to minimize costly visits to Windows-based desktops, laptops, and servers. With remote diagnostic tools for troubleshooting, and the technology for distributing all Windows-based software quickly and easily, SMS lets IT workers spend more time attending to critical business, and less time visiting and maintaining individual desktops and servers.

Not only can IT staff view the screen of remote systems, and directly assist users with problems, but a variety of features allow in-depth analyses and efficient troubleshooting. Administrators can check the health of any managed system, see performance and real-time operation statistics, restart systems, and monitor packets.


SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT SERVER 2.0
Microsoft Corporation
Redmond, WA
(425) 882-8080
www.microsoft.com/smserver/
Price: Starts at $1,129 for a server and five user licenses.

SERVICE PACK MANAGEMENT TOOLS
When it comes to service pack management tools, our readers say that St. Bernard Software's UpdateEXPERT is the best.

UpdateEXPERT is a remediation tool for patch management that evaluates networks for missing patches and remediates discovered weaknesses for increased network protection. UpdateEXPERT features an extensive patch management database of test results and analytical information that is completely maintained by St. Bernard Software's software patch experts.

By helping an enterprise identify missing patches and remediate with confidence, UpdateEXPERT enforces software security policies and provides a superior way of managing all hotfixes released. Supporting Windows NT/2000/XP, SQL Server, IE, and a long list of mission-critical applications, UpdateEXPERT enables you to research available fixes, scan your workstations and servers, deploy updates to any number of networked machines without remote agents, and validate that the job was done right.


UPDATEEXPERT V5.1
St. Bernard Software
San Diego, CA
(858) 676-2277
www.stbernard.com
Price: 1,500 license for $12,190 with one-year subscription; 1,500 license for $14,450 with two-year subscription; 1,500 license for $16,130 with three-year subscription.
Check Web site for availability of UpdateEXPERT 6.0 in the fall.

SOFTWARE DEPLOYMENT TOOLS
Our readers gave Microsoft's Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0 its fourth Readers' Choice Award for its ability to deploy software efficiently.

Organizations can address their IT needs quickly, safely, and cost-effectively using SMS inventory features to plan deployments in a distributed computing environment and by using SMS' software distribution features to execute them. By leveraging the Windows infrastructure, such as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), this inventory provides the consistency and extensibility that corporations need to effectively target critical software installations.

A rich set of targeting and scheduling options allows software to be sent to directory users or groups, as well as to specific machines or hardware profiles. SMS can distribute any software exactly where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. The tiered architecture of SMS can handle distributing software to hundreds of thousands of Windows machines. And, in cases where customers take advantage of the Windows Installer technology, SMS can deploy software that installs cleanly, and it can benefit from such features as self-healing. Tie all this together with enterprise and reporting, and enterprise customers have all the tools they need to send critical software updates throughout their enterprise with precision and control.


SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT SERVER 2.0
Microsoft Corporation
Redmond, WA
(425) 882-8080
www.microsoft.com/smserver/
Price: Starting at $1,129 for a server and five user licenses.

USER AND DIRECTORY MANAGEMENT TOOLS
NetIQ's Directory and Resource Administrator (DRA) captured nearly 25 percent of the vote to win the category Best User and Directory Management Tools.

DRA lets you easily and securely delegate administration tasks to your help desk and to other users in your organization. DRA provides an easy-to-use interface designed to ensure enterprise security, significantly reduce the overall cost of administration, and increase administration efficiency in your Windows environment.

DRA allows for easy, Web-based self-administration with the DRA Web Console. This product streamlines IT tasks and reduces errors by automating complex, time-consuming administrative processes and providing trusted delegation. Data integrity is maintained with DRA, which reliably enforces corporate business polices by controlling what data can be put into your directories.


DIRECTORY AND RESOURCE ADMINISTRATOR
NetIQ Corp.
San Jose, CA
(408) 856-3000
www.netiq.com
Price: 100-user License Pack, $1,600.

PRINT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
In the category Best Print Management Software, NORTHERN's PrintControl won one of four Readers' Choice Awards.

PrintControl can reclaim your printing resources, create accurate reports, and control the costs involved. With PrintControl, a system administrator can set quotas on users, groups, and printers, as well as filter which documents can be printed. You can configure PrintControl to trigger a number of actions when a user or group reaches their printing quotas, or at any number of customizable thresholds. An action can send a popup message to the user about their quota status, deliver a popup to the system administrator bringing attention to a locked quota, or take a printer off-line for maintenance.

PrintControl's ODBC-compliant database logs all printing jobs within the network, allowing easy exports for cost analysis and forecasting reports, as well as offering internal billing flexibility. Its chargeback functionality holds users accountable for print costs. Organizations can set up a cost-per-page structure, which will calculate the printing costs after each print job and designate which user or department is responsible for this cost.


PRINTCONTROL
NORTHERN Parklife, Inc.
Tampa, FL
(800) 881-4950
www.northern.net
Price: Starts at $695

CAPACITY PLANNING AND TREND ANALYSIS SOFTWARE
For the best in capacity planning and trend analysis software, our readers chose Argent Software's The Argent Predictor.

The Argent Predictor is a leading capacity planning and trend analysis product because it enables users to monitor, track, and graph all metrics regardless of their source. Users can concur- rently graph on a single chart all their hubs and routers, SQL Server statistics, and CPU performance on a number of different servers.

The product provides full SQL Server backend and Crystal Reports interface, and it installs in under 60 seconds. Because of its agent-optional architecture, The Argent Predictor does not need to have agents installed on monitored servers.


THE ARGENT PREDICTOR
Argent Software, Inc.
Farmington, CT
(860) 674-1700
www.Argent.com
Price: One-time investment starts at $8,000; 16 percent maintenance in second and subsequent years.