If you are an IT admin with a day-to-day job description that goes beyond checking all the functions of your servers all the time, and if on top of this you are alone to do this, odds are high that what you think is “I need an assistant”.

And what your management thinks is “where the hell does he think we can get the budget for an assistant ?!”

You may need a system monitor software, and KS advanced host monitor is what we use here.

What does it do ?

First, it does hat most of monitoring software do, it runs the test you defined on your servers. The range of tests is quite impressive: 58 test, plus all the basic monitoring tests of Windows. I use it to:

– check server up time.

– check CPU, memory, hard drive use, network interface use…

– Monitor printing jobs and check that printers are trouble free.

– Get alerted if a hard drive fails in a RAID array

– Check free space % on hard drives.

– Check if essential services (like the Lotus domino service, SQL server) are running.

– Check if my servers stay accessible from the outside on specific ports.

– Check our web servers, mail servers, ftp servers… are up, running, and accessible from the outside and inside.

– Check our switches.

– Check the number of web pages on our web site, the last update of essential web pages. Essential if you want to monitor your web site against defacing.

Checks can be run from a central monitoring computer, and also from agents (Remote Management Agent, RMA) directly installed on the monitored server. This reduces tests related network traffic and increase the variety of performed tests.

Then, you can get alerts when tests fails in several ways: network messages, sounds, but also e-mails, pager messages… I use it to send e-mails to my mobile phone for very important events (like a crash of the mail server). For redundancy, you can set it up to use a main and a backup SMTP server. It works well with Micorosoft IIS default SMTP server.

Interface is slick and easy to understand. You can group your tests into folders, which makes things easy to understand. Options are all accessible from 1 point, and easy to set up.

Learn more by visiting KS web site.

You can download KS advanced host monitor from here.

One more thing

Although what you can download from KS web site is just a trial version of Advanced Host monitor, and you have to purchase a license number, I realized that the difference between the full and trial version is only that you can use the trial version for only 2 hours in a row.

And then I realized that it is not secured against scripting, service automatic restart and Windows scheduled tasks…

Similarly, although a license for the Remote Management Agent (RMA) must be purchased, it does not require formal installation to work: a simple file copy, and a scheduled task make wonders.