Dos and don'ts for managing multiple computing platforms

Running several operating systems on one network? Make this tough job a little easier with these best practices for managing mixed-platform networks.

Running several operating systems on one network? If so, like many IT administrators, you're probably scrambling to gain and maintain expertise in Windows, Linux, Unix, OS/400, and so on. Added to that, you're facing the daunting daily task of unifying these disparate OSes into one well-oiled system, said Simon Murrell, director of business development at Barcelona, Spain-based Tango/04 Computing Group.

Making operating systems play well together is Tango/04's business. Tango/04 makes a multi-platform management product called VISUAL Message Center. Murrell offered searchWindowsManageability some tips on how to effectively manage multiple computing platforms.

Do take the time to train your administrators to be literate in the operating systems you are running. "Versatility is the key," said Murrell. If your administrator can solve any problem quickly, then you'll be providing a much better service.

Do centralize the systems management tasks for all the platforms, he said. Monitor messages, events, performance, security, applications, and databases.

Don't run two or more systems management packages at once. If you do, "you'll double your work and increase the chance of errors," said Murrell.

Do automate responses to system events. For example, automate replies to system messages, collections of diagnostic information, performance adjustments, and alert distribution. "When you automate a process, you are allowing your experts to input their knowledge into your management system," said Murrell.

Do study the use of data replication software. Replicating databases between platforms can benefit IT projects, such as building Web-based access and data warehousing, Murrell advised.

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