BMC Patrol now monitors Unix, Linux

BMC Software's Patrol product line has been extended to Unix, Linux and Windows servers. Monitoring and management will be automated with Patrol for Unix and Patrol for Microsoft Windows Servers. BMC's Carl Coken spoke to searchWindowsManageability about the new line.

Managing mixed operating system networks can give administrators migraines daily and leave no time for regular system maintenance. Systems management, however, is getting easier with new products designed specifically for networks running Unix, Linux, and Windows. Recently, BMC Software Inc., Houston, Texas, unveiled Patrol for Unix and Patrol for Microsoft Windows Servers. Both automate management and monitoring processes via intelligent,...

autonomous agents and can be run on the same network. SearchWindowsManageability spoke to Carl Coken, BMC's vice president and general manager of Patrol platform solutions, to learn why BMC is dabbling in the Unix/Linux world now, how the Patrol line can benefit enterprises and about some common Windows-related issues. Both Patrol products are currently available and start at $815.

sWM: What is one of the biggest issues enterprises face these days?
Coken:

They don't have enough people to manage all the systems. Companies want to get as much productivity out of their administrators, so they buy tools to automate all the functions an administrator would normally do. That helps administrators manage more systems than they could without any tools.

sWM: What are the most common mistakes administrators make when managing Windows systems?
Coken:

One is forgetting that they do need to manage Windows systems. When the Windows box is only a file and print server, it gets forgotten about. When a problem occurs, administrators don't know how to fix it. So, the first step is understanding how to do a better job of managing the system. Another big issue is not doing any proactive management of the systems. For example, not paying attention to log files filling up the disk storage and cleaning out the temporary directory when it starts to get full. These are things that everybody needs to do but doesn't spend the time doing. Because of that, if files get full, the Exchange server will crash. Automating that is one way not to have to worry about it.

sWM: What is a typical example of a system crashing?
Coken:

We typically see, especially with Windows NT boxes and some Windows 2000, the systems will blue screen, or crash, and administrators have no idea why. A lot of times the system reboots itself and administrators never know that it did crash.

Exchange is an example of an important application. It is very problematic, though, because it's very hard to understand exactly what's going on from the end user's perspective. From an IT administrator's viewpoint, they want to prevent the end user from having downtime or a slowdown. But, they don't know when the problems occur and if they're hitting a service level agreement. So, being able to view the whole environment from the end user's perspective is important.

sWM: Why did BMC decide to create a Linux management product now? How has the market changed?
Coken:

Our customers are looking at Linux as a part of their mission critical applications. They're putting a Linux box in at the Web application side or as the Web server. From the customer's perspective, it is one large application regardless if there are four different machines running it. They need to be able to manage that with the same policies that they've been managing everything else. So if a Windows guru does not understand Linux, but he still wants to administrator those boxes, we provide that administrator an interface so he or she can do that.

sWM: So, customers can run Patrol for Microsoft Windows Servers and Patrol for Unix at the same time?
Coken:

Yes. They can see the information from a central console and drill down on any of the information they see. They'll see an icon that's their Linux box and an icon that's their Windows box. They can view more information and understand more of what's going on.

sWM: Can Linux information be viewed from a Windows machine?
Coken:

Yes. We're able to manage Unix, Linux and Windows from a Windows box or from a Linux box. Whichever the customer prefers. If you've got Windows running Exchange or SQL server or Linux running some middleware or Web applications, all that information is available in that one central place. A lot of customers have a Windows desktop and that's what they want to manage all their disparate desktops on.

The central console is called the Patrol Console. Larger enterprises getting thousands events from thousands of servers will use the Patrol Enterprise Console.

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