An Industry Report on Network Management Tools:

TME 10 NetFinity

From Tivoli Systems, An IBM Company


Table of Contents

1 Executive Summary

2 TME 10 NetFinity Overview

3 A User’s View of TME 10 NetFinity

4 An Administrator’s View of TME 10 NetFinity

5 The TME 10 NetFinity Architecture

6 TME 10 NetFinity’s Support of DMI

7 Using TME 10 NetFinity With Other Management Tools

8 TME 10 NetFinity Extensibility

9 A Closer Look At TME 10 NetFinity’s Features

10 Managing Desktop Systems as Assets

 


June 26, 1996

Prepared By:

 

Workgroup Strategic Services, Inc.

75 Congress Street

Portsmouth, N.H. USA 03801

603 - 431 - 4409

 

1.0 Executive Summary

With the enormous media fixation on the Internet, even the popular press has begun to notice the sweeping changes transforming the computer industry. The computer industry is continuing to evolve and change at a rate unmatched since its beginning earlier this century. The vision of this transformation is to deliver critical information to users - regardless of distance and location - and empower them to make decisions based on that information. "Downsizing", "Rightsizing", "LAN based computing", "Intranet" and "Client-Server" are all industry developed terms which attempt to describe these shifts in information and application development, distribution and deployment. In fact, the essence of these terms describes one single market driven activity - incorporating personal computers and servers into the enterprise information network. Conceptually simple, however it is one of the most daunting tasks that Information System (IS) professionals are undertaking today.

The interface and means of connection to networked resources are changing rapidly. As a result, successful deployment and management of LAN-based applications requires that IS executes and delivers at several new functional and technological levels. First, the physical connection must exist between the LAN and the enterprise backbone. Second, application sets must be developed and deployed into the LAN which dynamically communicate with back-end sources of information within the organization. Finally, and most critical to success, IS requires a robust and easily accessible management and system administration platform which evolves with both the physical LAN and the scaling of the LAN-based resources.

In fact, research illustrates that many times it is a lack of industry-standard management tools that causes the highest failure rate when moving into a client-server environment. According to a select group of IS professionals, over 56% of the failures of Client-Server applications are a result of poor, or under-powered, system and client management tools. Without the functionality and scalability of a robust management platform, IS professionals lose control of the roll-out, deployment and the on-going support requirements of both the server-based application and the client workstation. These are the shortcomings Tivoli currently addresses within their family of network computing management products - most notably, TME 10 NetFinity.

Another important business consideration in the selection of a network management tool set is the potential effect on positively impacting a company’s return on its personal computer assets. Since Workgroup Strategic has found most organizations spend nearly seven times the initial PC acquisition cost in the areas of installation and on-going support, effective management tools have the capability to drive internal costs down while providing substantially higher levels of system and user support. Based on the features present in TME 10 NetFinity, it would appear that these objectives were targeted by Tivoli’s development and design efforts.

Tivoli Systems, an IBM company, is dedicated to providing smart management tools for network computing. Since IBM has been managing the world’s largest heterogeneous networks for decades, their acquisition of Tivoli greatly expanded IBM’s already impressive support and integration capabilities. Tivoli grew to their position in the industry by providing a unified, standard management approach for computing environments which masks the complexity of these systems with a powerful, easy to use interface. NetFinity was an IBM product which has been brought into the Tivoli family after the acquisition, and today, TME 10 NetFinity from Tivoli Systems delivers a scaleable management platform which enables a full suite of functionality. Included in this suite are client and server asset management, system performance measurement and monitoring, system alerts, problem notification, remote fault diagnostics, and full systems management and control. In short, TME 10 NetFinity delivers on the promise of full scale management today while IBM’s competitors are still trying to define the problem and sort through the various technical issues.

2.0 TME 10 NetFinity Overview

NetFinity was originally developed within IBM’s PC Company’s Server Group with the single-minded vision of delivering the most complete and usable set of personal computer systems management tools available to the industry. Their problem, which is similar to that of other IBM network management groups, is that any tool developed by IBM is largely viewed by the industry as being closed or proprietary. As point of reference, and counter to industry impressions, IBM management software development groups are delivering core software technologies to Open Software Foundation’s (OSF) Distribute Management Environment (DME) - a management standard endorsed by virtually every enterprise hardware and software supplier from around the world. Closer to the desktop, however, TME 10 NetFinity is building on this open and robust legacy by supporting an array of client operating systems connected to multiple LAN protocols and services. In support of Tivoli’s claim of TME 10 NetFinity’s being the "open" management tool, TME 10 NetFinity currently supports the DMI (Desktop Management Interface) standard developed by an industry consortia - a technology which few other management tool vendors are able to deliver today.

Designed to utilize the power of the customer’s existing network protocols, TME 10 NetFinity includes support for NetBIOS, IPX, TCP/IP, and even ASYNC/serial modem LAN protocols. Additionally, TME 10 NetFinity is able to manage most client operating systems found within customer sites, including DOS/Windows 3.1 Enhanced Mode, OS/2 2.11, OS/2 Warp, OS/2 Warp Connect, OS/2 SMP, Windows 95, Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT 3.51, and NetWare 3.1x and 4.x. In addition, TME 10 NetFinity integrates effortlessly with Windows NT, capitalizing on the management functions contained in NT. In short, while TME 10 NetFinity is pre-loaded on all IBM PC Desktop 300 and 700 models and is bundled with IBM PC Servers, it supports the management of virtually any Intel-based personal computer in a variety of industry standard operating system and LAN environments.

An exciting new feature of TME 10 NetFinity is WEBability, which turns web browsers into systems management sites and allows secure systems management through the Internet. Any platform using Netscape, Internet Explorer, IBM Web Explorer, or other browsers supporting HTML 2.0 can manage Intel based systems running TME 10 NetFinity. This gives the power of systems management FROM systems running OS/2, AIX, HP UX, Solaris, Windows 3.X, Windows 95, Windows NT, or Apple System 7. WEBability also allows use of an internal TCP/IP network for cross platform systems management. A designated TME 10 NetFinity Manager acts as a mini web server, a function that is an integral part of the Web feature which can be selected at Manager installation. Pass-through management, a standard TME 10 NetFinity feature, allows the network administrator to access any authorized TME 10 NetFinity systems within the LAN.

TME 10 NetFinity offers its own security features of UserID with scrambled passwords, restricting access to TME 10 NetFinity management functions. Additionally, the TME 10 NetFinity Web feature will support SSL (Secured Socket Layer security model) when available. This will provide full public/private encryption at the secured socket layer over a remote Internet connection.

 

Sample TME 10 NetFinity Service Manager Screen

Figure 1

Today, TME 10 NetFinity is delivered as two components - TME 10 NetFinity Services for the LAN client (for stand alone or remotely connected PCs) and TME 10 NetFinity Manager for the network/system administrator. Since TME 10 NetFinity provides a comprehensive set of management information via icons and real-time performance graphs, the non-dedicated management console must support a graphical interface (See Figure 1). Today, these choices include DOS/Windows 3.1 Enhanced Mode, OS/2 2.11, OS/2 Warp, OS/2 Warp Connect, Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51, and Windows for Workgroups. In comparison to competitive management tools which might require a Server Based Management architecture, the TME 10 NetFinity Manager does not have to reside locally within the LAN on a server, but rather, a single TME 10 NetFinity Manager console could reside on a single personal computer anywhere within the LAN. For example, employing TME 10 NetFinity’s concurrent protocol support, a TME 10 NetFinity Manager could establish a serial connection into another TME 10 NetFinity Manager that also supports TCP/IP, NetBIOS and IPX. Then, using pass-through management, they could manage any of the clients running TCP/IP, NetBIOS or IPX that are attached to that manager. This is a level of power, capability and integration far beyond what many competitive management vendors have envisioned.

However, TME 10 NetFinity’s integration capabilities do not end there. One of the most important customer requirements in today’s management world includes conformance to the installed management tools already in use within the organization. TME 10 NetFinity delivers compatibility with these tools by maintaining full inter-operability with both Novell’s NMS (Network Management System) and NetView for OS/2. For additional open based management architectures, TME 10 NetFinity may also be configured to pass SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) alerts onto SNMP based management consoles. This feature provides a basis for supporting such products as NetView for MVS, NetView for AIX, and even Hewlett-Packard’s OpenView and Computer Associate’s UniCenter.

The core functionality of the TME 10 NetFinity client is delivered by TME 10 NetFinity Services, a foundation which provides for several levels of workstation administration, including a complete set of both system and user management facilities. Overall, TME 10 NetFinity Services can be configured in one of three various client modes of operation: stand-alone, passive client, and active client (see Figure 2). Stand-alone mode allows an individual user, who isn’t connected to a network, to effectively manage or monitor their own system's hardware, resources and performance. With the Passive Client installed on a LAN workstation, a TME 10 NetFinity Manager is able to fully manage and monitor the client’s system, resources and configuration settings. However, with the Passive Mode installed, that same client is not able to perform their own management tasks locally. This mode is most effective for LAN Administrators who do not want individual users to have management capability on an individual basis. The Active Client mode allows the local user to perform their own sub-set of local systems management tasks.

TME 10 NetFinity Modes of Operation

Figure 2

3.0 A User’s View of TME 10 NetFinity

Customers who are the least bit familiar with a Microsoft Windows or IBM OS/2 Graphical User Interface (GUI) should feel very much "at home" using TME 10 NetFinity. Designed as a well behaved native Windows or OS/2 application, TME 10 NetFinity’s simple icons and graphical displays permit users to quickly interpret system, configuration and performance data (see Figure 3). From this information, they are able to dynamically monitor their personal computer’s resources. An interesting feature of TME 10 NetFinity is that it allows users to pre-configure alerts to notify them if certain resources reach critically low levels - in advance of an application or system failure (see figure 4). Requiring only 350 Kbytes of upper memory, TME 10 NetFinity is an unobtrusive tool that quietly runs in the background until it is activated by either the user or by the system itself.

TME 10 NetFinity User Interface

Figure 3

 

 

More specifically, TME 10 NetFinity Services provide a local user with the following features and system functions:

 

 

Figure 4

4.0 An Administrator’s View of TME 10 NetFinity

Once installed, TME 10 NetFinity Manager automates the collection of an array of data from the managed TME 10 NetFinity clients. Upon collecting this data, it is archived to a database which maintains specific, unique workstation data and configuration settings. In addition to these TME 10 NetFinity databases, an administrator may set optimal performance and resource parameters to maintain and dynamically monitor the client workstation. As with TME 10 NetFinity Services installed on the client, the administrator can also set alert boundaries for client system resources, and in the event that an alert is issued, notify the administrator using a number of methods.

A noteworthy feature of TME 10 NetFinity Manager is its ability to "discover" LAN attached TME 10 NetFinity client workstations. For example, if a new TME 10 NetFinity client is connected into a domain, it will be sensed by the Manager Services and, from that point on, will be automatically included as a managed device within the LAN’s profile. Further, these managed domains, or TME 10 NetFinity "groups", may be dynamically declared, reset and maintained on an as needed basis by the administrator. The obvious benefit to this approach is that an administrator could set up and maintain "groups" based on unique attributes such as operating systems, installed transport protocols, or even "keywords". "Keywords" are administrator defined descriptors of systems, users or profiles. As discussed earlier, the users within these administrator created groups could be comprised of either local users, remote clients - or a mix of both.

TME 10 NetFinity Manager can also be configured to manage other TME 10 NetFinity Manager workstations. With TME 10 NetFinity’s pass-through management capability enabled, an administrator could set up and maintain a hierarchical group of network managers - each with various levels of support responsibility. This is an interesting feature that allows particular "events" to be handled by the appropriate system administrator - and to be escalated up within the organization if required. The implementation could be even more straightforward - if an administrator is away from their office, their management tasks can be temporarily passed into another TME 10 NetFinity Manager’s console.

A summary of TME 10 NetFinity’s Manager functions includes, in addition to NetFinity Services:

Given this feature set, a network manager is able to support attached TME 10 NetFinity clients at a number of various levels. From simply assisting a user with a problem (remote screen view), through conducting an extensive hardware audit (automated asset discovery), TME 10 NetFinity provides a platform that conforms to the needs of both the manager and user. Furthermore, with the deployment of TME 10 NetFinity, supplementary benefits are realized in its ability to automate many time-consuming tasks. Mundane administrator routines such as scheduled software updates, file transfers, remote session and rebooting of remote systems are all supported by TME 10 NetFinity. As previously discussed, administrators can accomplish this from their own computer attached locally within the LAN, or remotely - from virtually anywhere within the LAN or even from their own home.

5.0 The TME 10 NetFinity Architecture

Each TME 10 NetFinity Service is comprised of two separate executables - one, which has been developed for each of the unique graphical interfaces; and the second, a native operating system executable (referred to as the BASE executable). The BASE executable is the actual TME 10 NetFinity code which performs the client management and monitoring tasks for each unique workstation. Communication between the GUI and BASE executables is handled by the TME 10 NetFinity IPC (Inter Process Communication) mechanism. These relationships are illustrated in Figure 5.

 

 

Using this IPC within the LAN, TME 10 NetFinity was designed to provide a peer-to-peer platform architecture which does not require a management server or a dedicated management console. With this design feature, a client - regardless of its location - appears as a locally based system (see figure 6). From this design, a manager may take control of the TME 10 NetFinity client system to perform all TME 10 NetFinity administrative and problem reconciliation tasks as if the manager were a local user. Additionally, TME 10 NetFinity is insulated from any network protocol or operating system layer dependencies. In essence, TME 10 NetFinity communicates through the existing transport layer(s) within the installed network. The IPC simply communicates between the installed TME 10 NetFinity modules and services utilizing the transport mechanism within the workstation.

If the transport layers between the two TME 10 NetFinity workstations are dissimilar, TME 10 NetFinity will utilize a "mapper" (within a Manager’s system), to receive data packets from one transport and, using TME 10 NetFinity Manager, re-wrap the packets for transport into the remote network. This is illustrated in Figure 7.

When two TME 10 NetFinity systems are connected in a networked environment (see Figure 7), they communicate via the IPC into the manager’s mapper, and then into a TME 10 NetFinity Manager’s management services and system modules. This pass-through management feature provides an extensive capability to meld dissimilar LAN’s into a single TME 10 NetFinity console.

6.0 TME 10 NetFinity’s Support of DMI

In acknowledgment of the customer requirement to provide an open management architecture for desktop and LAN devices, a consortium of vendors was created in 1992 called the Desktop Management Task Force (DMTF). Originally comprised of Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Digital, Hewlett-Packard, Novell, Synoptics, and Sun-Connect, several other vendors recognized the importance of the initiative and joined, including AST, Dell, Compaq, Symantec and Apple. This group’s charter is to develop and provide an open industry desktop management architecture. Today, the DMTF enjoys a total of about 350 members.

Functional Architecture of DMI

 

The original objective of the charter members of Desktop Management Task Force was the creation of the Desktop Management Interface (DMI) specification. This architecture provides a consistent interface for defining and managing a PC client’s hardware and software.

Management Information Format (MIF) was delivered by DMTF in mid-1994 as a PC management technology. PC System MIF defines system unique information which represents the basic components of the PC including motherboard, CPU type, operating system, and additional system components. The DMI Service Layer enables communication between the client specific MIF data and other applications and components, including Tivoli’s TME 10 NetFinity (see Figure 8).

TME 10 NetFinity was one of the first systems management products available to customers which included DMI support. Tivoli’s implementation of TME 10 NetFinity’s DMI support provides instrumentation from its System Information Tool, as well as system monitor and group management data, to the DMI Service Layer for OS/2 and Windows 3.1, 95 and NT clients. To accomplish this, IBM has delivered a DMI Component Agent which allows a TME 10 NetFinity Manager to access a client desktop’s MIF database to deliver system specific information back into TME 10 NetFinity’s DMI Browser. Today, TME 10 NetFinity not only supports local DMI browsing capabilities, but also DMI alerting and a remote DMI browser service (see Figure 9).

TME 10 NetFinity DMI Browser

Figure 9

7.0 Using TME 10 NetFinity With Other Management Tools

Given the breadth of Tivoli’s network computing management products, TME 10 NetFinity customers can be assured of an upgrade path that provides both an open management environment as well as a growth path into other Tivoli management products and those offered by third parties. TME 10 NetFinity supports coexistence with almost any other LAN or enterprise management product - whether from IBM or other vendors. To provide for this integration, TME 10 NetFinity’s Alert Manager was developed to allow its alerts to be captured and forwarded into any SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) collection console or SNMP compliant management application. SNMP alerts are recognizable by the vast majority of different management tools in the market today. With this TME 10 NetFinity agent DMI to SNMP mapping feature, administrators can integrate TME 10 NetFinity’s sophisticated systems management functions with their existing SNMP-based systems management applications. Examples of these other tools include H-P’s OpenView and Computer Associates’ CA-UniCenter. In direct support of heterogeneous LAN management environments, TME 10 NetFinity is also launchable from within NetView for OS/2 and Novell’s ManageWise.

Since over 70% of the installed LANs today use Novell NetWare, TME 10 NetFinity has been tightly integrated with Novell's ManageWise. TME 10 NetFinity is launchable from a ManageWise server within a ManageWise network map. Furthermore, TME 10 NetFinity can export much of its hardware information into NMS’ database/object profiles. Another important TME 10 NetFinity and NMS coalescence feature is TME 10 NetFinity's capability to export some of the System Profile information to NMS’ object profile. This degree of integration insulates users from having to make a single LAN management tool selection, often sacrificing robustness for commonality.

8.0 TME 10 NetFinity Extensibility

Tivoli is offering a special 10+ Organization that is geared to working with third party suppliers to help them integrate their products with TME 10. This program offers tools, technical assistance and marketing assistance to facilitate joint businesses. The TME 10+ Organization has assisted both corporate developers and other system suppliers alike to integrate their products and applications into TME 10 NetFinity.

For example, TME 10 NetFinity Developer's Tool Kit provides programmers a tool to develop extensions to TME 10 NetFinity, such as new services, alerts and alert actions, scheduler DLLs and system/application monitors. Both Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) and customers alike have written their own services that "plug" into TME 10 NetFinity.

Some examples of current TME 10 NetFinity partners are:

 

9.0 TME 10 NetFinity: A Closer Look At Its Major Features

The TME 10 NetFinity application consists of a rich set of PC hardware, software and network monitoring tools to provide the information necessary to manage a large network or a smaller group of distributed PC workstations and servers. Following is a list of major TME 10 NetFinity Services:

System Information Tool

The System Information Tool enables users to quickly and conveniently access detailed information on the hardware and software configurations of their system. System Information Tool gathers data about most PC systems, but provides the greatest detail when used with IBM computers. All of this information can be saved in MS SQL, DB2, ODBC or Lotus Notes database file formats, ASCII text, or a common tab delineated file.

System Information Tool delivers information on the following system features:

System Profile Service

System Profile stores a variety of system and user-specific information such as: the user's name, department and location, system type, serial number and other relevant data. It provides a quick overview of who owns the system. And because this data can be exported as either ASCII files, DB2, ODBC or Lotus Notes database files, it can become part of a much larger system database.

System Monitor Service

The TME 10 NetFinity System Monitor provides a convenient method of monitoring vital system resources, such as CPU, memory and disk usage, and disk read-write errors. Thresholds can be set so that alert messages are triggered when the thresholds are reached, giving administrators time to correct a problem or optimize the server configuration before the users encounter difficulties. Data can be displayed graphically and stored as historical records for future reference.

Included in version 4.0 are monitors for Pentium processors, TCP/IP attributes, system swap file, system processes and threads, print file queues, and IBM LAN Server performance. All of this data may be retained in a TME 10 NetFinity’s historical database file - again exportable to a number of file formats.

Alert Manager Service

The Alert Manager facility (figure 10) allows TME 10 NetFinity Manager to receive alerts generated by other TME 10 NetFinity utilities and applications; for example, when there is an error from PFA, or a System Monitor threshold is exceeded. When alerts are received, a variety of responses can be initiated automatically: from simple logging of the alert to forwarding the alert to another system (via TME 10 NetFinity or SNMP). Administrators can be notified by a system pop-up message or remotely, by activation of a pager. Users can even initiate another program automatically, such as a system dump or backup program.

Figure 10

Predictive Failure Analysis Service

The Predictive Failure Analysis (PFA) service enables users to monitor the well-being of all PFA-enabled disk drives installed locally or remotely on their LAN. If disk write errors reach the predefined threshold, an alert is generated and the network administrator will be automatically notified so that data can be quickly backed-up and the error corrected before valuable data is lost.

File Transfer Service

File Transfer allows administrators to move files between a local and remote PC easily. Users can also delete multiple files on a remote PC, which makes remote file maintenance easy for systems administrators.

Event Scheduler Service

The Event Scheduler Service enables users to automate a variety of hardware systems management tasks. Users can schedule a task for execution at a predetermined time, such as during the night, for either one PC or a whole group of PCs. Users can even log the results of these scheduled events so that users know if there has been a problem. A number of tasks can be scheduled, ranging from the collection of detailed system hardware data to the update of system partition and software files, which may also require a system reboot. As these types of tasks are best performed when the user is away from his system (typically at night or over a weekend) the Scheduler allows users to define precisely the date, time and frequency of each event.

Remote Session Service

TME 10 NetFinity's Remote Session allows administrators to execute remote commands on PCs running TME 10 NetFinity Services under OS/2, Microsoft Windows or Novell NetWare. The interface presented to the administrator is an OS/2 window for OS/2 systems, a DOS window for Windows systems, and a NetWare System Console for NetWare systems. Hence, administrators could issue "NET SHARE" commands from a remote OS/2 LAN Server system, or operate the NetWare console of a NetWare server, as if end users were actually using the server PC itself. The Remote System Manager enables an administrator to connect and remotely access TME 10 NetFinity Services installed on other PCs attached to the network.

Screen View Service

Screen View allows administrators to see exactly what is displayed on an end user's screen at any moment in time. It provides a "snapshot" capture of any remote display in a window on the TME 10 NetFinity Manager's own screen. This can be invaluable for helpdesk facilities or just keeping track of remote tasks.

System Partition Access Service

The System Partition utility allows administrators to access files on an IBM PC system partition, such as the adapter description and diagnostics files, that would only normally be accessible via the system reference disk. In this way, reference partitions can be centrally maintained by a skilled systems administrator. This service is only available on IBM systems that have a system partition.

Power-On Error Detect Service

Power-On Error Detect provides an administrator notification of any POST errors that have occurred while remote IBM configured systems are powering-up. If an error is detected an "SOS" message is sent to the administrator from the failing system, including the system's identity and information on the failing component.

ECC Memory Service

Systems configured with large amounts of installed memory are vulnerable to memory failure, so it is important that Error Correcting Code (ECC) memory is used wherever possible. ECC memory can be easily managed from TME 10 NetFinity. Single-bit memory errors can be monitored and automatically corrected, and a TME 10 NetFinity alert generated should the specified threshold be exceeded. Correct use of ECC memory can prevent unexpected memory errors and improve data integrity.

Security Manager Service

The Security Manager allows end users to control access to TME 10 NetFinity services on their system. This prevents other TME 10 NetFinity Managers from performing unauthorized actions, such as accessing sessions remotely and transferring files, which could result in system sabotage or breaches in data security. With the "Incoming Password" facility, end users can define user-ID and password combinations that are allowed access to restricted TME 10 NetFinity services on their PC. Then only users who are given this combination and have them defined through "Outgoing Password" on their PC can access these functions. This facility allows users to define user-ID and password combinations that can be used from their PC to gain access to TME 10 NetFinity Services on other PCs. Without these users will only be able to access unrestricted functions on other PCs. You can also be alerted of failed access attempts in the system.

TME 10 NetFinity Serial Control Service

TME 10 NetFinity provides the capability to accept dial-in connections over a telephone line so that a user’s network can be managed from a remote location, whether that is from home, a hotel or another office. The serial connections can be defined in a notebook and the modem connections can be customized through the Serial Control utility.

Process Manager

The Process Manager allows administrators to view all of the processes running on a remote system or their own TME 10 NetFinity Manager system. Details of process and session IDs are displayed and processes can be started, stopped or monitored. A monitored process can initiate an alert if it starts, stops, or if it fails to start. This presents an excellent way of tracking the health and operation of individual programs running on critical systems.

Remote System Manager

The Remote System Manager (figure 11) allows TME 10 NetFinity Managers to access all other systems on the network that have TME 10 NetFinity Services installed. The Remote System Manager allows users to create logical groups of systems and performs the automatic discovery of TME 10 NetFinity clients. Discovered systems can be viewed in ICON or DETAILS format depending on the level of information desired.

Figure 11

 

Critical File Monitor Service

The Critical File Monitor checks to see if critical system files or critical data files have been changed. File size, date and time stamps are monitored in this user configurable service.

RAID Manager Service

Server RAID systems can be viewed and monitored from the TME 10 NetFinity RAID Management service. Both NetWare and OS/2 server RAID systems are supported.

DMI Browser Service

The peer-to-peer architecture of TME 10 NetFinity lends itself to the development of remote services such as the Desktop Management Interface (DMI) Browser. TME 10 NetFinity is built to support the DMI interface on any system with the DMI Service Layer installed. However, DMI provides its information to a local managing application, and does not provide for remote management capability. TME 10 NetFinity is able to provide an application local to each DMI supported system that makes that information available remotely via the TME 10 NetFinity peer-to-peer architecture.

Software Inventory Service

The Software Inventory function is a logical extension of the System Information tool. It provides information on the software packages installed on the queried systems, including the product name, manufacturer, version and revision levels. As this function is fully configurable, applications can be added or deleted from the dictionary and search criteria can be modified to suit individual customer requirements.

10.0 Managing Desktop Systems as Assets

Maintaining and supporting personal computers throughout an organization is an expensive proposition. Assuming an average purchase price of $2,400 for a corporate desktop PC, Workgroup Strategic has found that most organizations spend nearly seven times that amount in the installation and on-going support of the system. Where technical and administrative support costs might average 22% of this figure, an average organization might spend over $16,800 in supporting a single personal computer over a five year time-frame. This is exactly the cost burden TME 10 NetFinity has been designed to address with its tools and asset management capabilities.

Effective asset management requires several levels of system and software administration. These include routine hardware and software audits, system performance monitoring, rapid problem notification, on-going preventative and pro-active maintenance, and security. While several products offer portions of these, TME 10 NetFinity alone offers the broadest competitive feature set, allowing administrators to easily and effectively perform all of these tasks.

Because TME 10 NetFinity automatically collects and maintains the hardware and operating systems profiles for each unique system, managers are able to automate their inventories and maintain profiles for both hardware and software assets within the enterprise. With this information, administrators are able to make informed decisions about each of the systems individually or collectively. For example, this feature could be used to determine what systems are able to be upgraded to another operating system - OS/2 Warp Connect or Windows 95 - based on the information collected by this TME 10 NetFinity feature.

Given TME 10 NetFinity’s ability to monitor actual workloads in "real time", it can assist administrators to determine which workstations and servers might require upgrading, tuning or the addition of further resources - such as main memory or incremental disk capacity. In fact, TME 10 NetFinity can constantly monitor critical system components individually, such as CPU, hard drive and memory utilization. TME 10 NetFinity is able to maintain an historical log of this information to show usage and performance patterns associated with those resources - tracking their utilization over time. These features allow administrators to quickly and efficiently assess the need for equipment enhancements demanded by application performance or system usage patterns.

If a problem does occur within the LAN, administrators need to be notified quickly and efficiently. With its customizable Alert Manager, a TME 10 NetFinity manager is provided with extensive alerting capabilities. Alert notification includes system pop-ups, detailed error logging, SNMP alerts into foreign management consoles, and even remote paging. Problem resolution may even be automated with TME 10 NetFinity’s automated program execution, First Failure Support Technology (FFST) and Predictive Failure Analysis (PFA) (See Section 6 - Feature Descriptions).

TME 10 NetFinity's remote troubleshooting and problem resolution capabilities enable administrators to provide pro-active service to users with a minimum of support personnel. HelpDesk functions can be centralized and actions taken quickly, often without the need for on-site visits. If a user encounters a problem, their screen can be viewed remotely by a TME 10 NetFinity Manager, and commands can be initiated by the remote console’s user. Furthermore, TME 10 NetFinity can sense if a system encounters a Power-on Self Test (POST) error on start-up, and alert the manager to the failing system.

TME 10 NetFinity also permits various customizable levels of security. It might even be programmed to monitor valuable LAN-attached systems, immediately alerting managers if a system is removed from the LAN. As an example of this TME 10 NetFinity feature, a large corporate customer had a significant problem with networked laptop systems being removed from the premises after business hours. The manager customized TME 10 NetFinity to monitor the network connections, and if any portables were unplugged from the network, TME 10 NetFinity would immediately notify the security guard station. Since that time, the customer is believed to have saved potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of corporate hardware assets.

In conclusion, what does TME 10 NetFinity deliver? A complete set of tools, unmatched by competitors, empowering users and administrators to manage, maintain and optimize their assets within both the LAN and enterprise. Without the proper tools, corporate moves into "Client-Server" are not only daunting tasks, but in fact, run a proportionally higher risk of failure. TME 10 NetFinity gives power and management control to users and administrators which will facilitate systems management, minimize administration costs, and maximize the value gained from system investment.

 

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All Rights Reserved

Tivoli, TME, TME 20 are trademarks of Tivoli Systems.

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Windows NT is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation; IPX, Novell, and NetWare are trademarks of Novell, Incorporated; Lotus Notes is a trademark of Lotus Development Corporation; Intel is a trademark of Intel Corporation; Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems Incorporated; Netscape is a trademark of Netscape Communications Corporation.

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