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On Technology
John Agsalud

Monday, March 14, 2005

Maybe you should have
a monitoring system

Do you ever wonder what your systems are doing when you're not using them?

Do you come into the office in the morning to find your main server down and the entire office sitting around reading the paper?

Worse yet, do you wake up to dozens of e-mails and voicemails from clients who can't access your Internet site to buy your company's products?

If you fit any of these profiles, you might consider acquiring an automated monitoring system.

A monitoring system allows you to monitor your systems and network connections, and automatically take corrective action, such as restarting a device, running a program to fix the issue, or even turn on a backup system.

Furthermore, most systems allow for alerts to be sent out to technical and/or managerial personnel, indicating the nature of the problem. These alerts can be sent to e-mail addresses, cell phones, and even text-messaging devices.

Why bother? In the old days, as long as the systems were up and running by 6 a.m. or so, everything was hunky dory. Technical staff could come in a couple hours early, make sure things were operating normally, and then leave a couple hours before everybody else. The rare late-afternoon hiccup wasn't too much of an inconvenience. Organizations that truly operated their systems on a 24/7 basis usually had round-the-clock staff.

Nowadays, however, people and organizations have become more and more dependent on computer systems. The beauty of today's technology is that it allows systems to be accessed from anywhere on the Internet, at any time of day. Of course, this is useless if the system you are accessing is down.

Despite all the advances in technology, the fact remains that modern computer systems are not failsafe. Even the best systems crash at some point. Prudent businesspeople must take every reasonable precaution to ensure uptime. We believe one of these precautions is to ensure that when downtime occurs, it is rectified as soon as possible.

According to Justin Goo, a systems engineer with ISDI, "the AMS systems we've implemented, both internally and for our clients, have resulted in improved business efficiency. Critical alarms can be responded to immediately, and many times we can resolve the problem before the users notice it."

There are several monitoring systems on the market today, but Justin's weapon of choice is IPSentry, (www.ipsentry.com) by RGE Inc. Other similar products now on the market include IPCheck from Paessler (www.paess-ler.com), and IPMonitor from Tsarfin Computing (www.tsar-fin.com).

The systems are also useful if you rely on a service provider to host your Web site or other systems. Most providers guarantee certain levels of uptime through a service level agreement. A monitoring system can be configured to confirm actual uptime.

Of course, any good service provider will have their own system!

John Agsalud is the president of ISDI Technologies Inc. of Honolulu. He can be reached at jagsalud@isdi-hi.com

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