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Monitoring tool is budget-friendly

Arcana Development's Appmon monitoring and alerting tool helps administrators of smaller companies spend less time literally watching their servers to see when problems develop. It is geared toward smaller companies' system monitoring needs, and follows through with an equally as small price tag.

Smaller companies need ways to monitor their networks, too. Often, however, the small company can't afford to spend the high price of the monitoring tools that companies like Computer Associates or Hewlett-Packard charge. In fact, they probably don't even need the complexity of a CA or HP product, either. SearchWindowsManageability spoke to Bill Wingate, President of Fairfax, VA-based Arcana Development, LCC, a small company that caters to small companies' system monitoring needs. One of its products, Appcom version 1.0.3, a monitoring and alerting tool for the Windows NT/2000 operating system, provides scaled down monitoring at a scaled down price. Appmon prices range from $34 to $85, depending on quantity purchased. It has been available since January.

searchWindowsManageability: Can you explain briefly what Appmon is?

It's a systems management application monitoring tool primarily geared for watching unattended computers and servers. So administrators can be alerted rather than constantly having to logon to see if anything has gone wrong. It can be set up for e-mail notification and paging notification. Primarily, administrators use the e-mail notification.

searchWindowsManageability: What do your customers use Appmon for?

Mostly what people are using it for is for the ability to monitor the system event log. This is a big help because a lot of server applications write error messages to the event log. But, if you don't think to go in and check the server, then you miss out. With Appmon, it does the watching for you. Errors are brought to your attention rather than requiring you to keep monitoring yourself. Appmon also augments the capabilities that are in Windows, making it more of an active response to problems, rather than forcing you to fix them. For example, Appmon has a feature for watching for Dr. Watson errors, which are essentially fatal errors in programs that cause them to shut down. You can set up Appmon to notify you when that happens. Otherwise, then you just have an error dialogue box waiting for somebody to come by and notice it.

searchWindowsManageability: What sets Appmon apart from other monitoring and alerting products?

It's priced for people who can't afford the larger enterprise systems, and it does have a fairly easy way to integrate it into your own applications. The entire application is built on an open architecture. You can go in and add new modules and areas you want to monitor. It has a similar ActiveX interface that will allow an application to report errors through it.

searchWindowsManageability: Why did Arcana decide to focus on small companies?

We found when we were working on Appmon that there are a lot of systems management products out there and that most are enterprise-size tools with enterprise-size prize tags. We decided to focus on people who can't afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars.

searchWindowsManageability: Lastly, what's in store for the future of Appmon?

We will be adding new modules into the system. We're looking to make some sort of system performance monitoring in the future, which will warn you when you're running out of disk space. We'd also like to add modules that are tailored toward monitoring SQL server. We plan to make the pricing so those products will be available to be sold separately, too.



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