Halcyon Updates Systems Management Tools
February 6, 2007 Alex Woodie
Halcyon Software, a U.K.-based developer of OS/400 systems management tools, recently updated its product offerings with new releases of its cross-platform Enterprise Console and its Intel-oriented Network Server Suite. The company also started the move into the on-demand world by giving customers in Europe the option to rent software, instead of paying large upfront licensing fees.
Halcyon’s Enterprise Console is a graphical, PC-based product that automates the task of gathering and sorting through messages generated from iSeries and Windows servers (although it supports any source of SNMP traps, according to Halcyon). By color-coding the various messages it receives and applying filtering and escalation rules, the product frees operators from doing the grunt work of manually gathering and sorting through the messages, so they can make quicker, more informed decisions.
With version 7.0, Halcyon has boosted the product’s integration with help desk products. With the press of a button on a mouse, operators can now send an alert to a third-party help desk system to create a problem ticket. The alerts include pertinent information, such as time, date, device, and inquiry, and support all popular help desk systems, such as Heat, Touchpaper, and Magic, according to Halcyon. The product also supports XML help desk formats.
The new release also brings the iSeries closer to a help desk operation by bringing so-called “second level help text” generated from iSeries servers directly into the Enterprise Console, where it can then be forwarded to operators via phone, e-mail, or other transfer mechanisms, the company says. This release also gives operators the capability to include individual servers in groups, which should give operators a more consolidated view of data center activities.
Version 7.0 should be more robust, thanks to the underlying Microsoft SQL Server database, which is also new in this release. Halcyon said it chose SQL Server “to ensure that the Enterprise Console is built upon a resilient, industry-standard platform that will facilitate the future growth of the product, and allow their customers to feel safe in the knowledge that they are investing in a reliable product.”
Enterprise Console 7.0 is available now as part of three iSeries systems management suites, including Systems Operations, Operations Center, and High Availability.
Halcyon has also been busy developing its flagship systems management suite for “open” platforms: the Network Server Suite (NSS). This suite is a collection of 18 products, including the Enterprise Console, the Central Configuration Console, and sundry end-point tools for monitoring things like SNMP traps, CPU or memory usage, FTP and HTTP activity, and Telnet and e-mail activity. The product is designed to facilitate the gathering and displaying of log messages from Windows, Unix, Linux, and NetWare servers, and is also used to monitor performance changes.
Last month, the company announced the availability of NSS 4.0. Besides the new features gained through Enterprise Console 7.0 (described above), the new release received a boost in the capacity planning department, through improvements to its Performance Reporting component.
With this release, users gain the capability to graphically map the growth of disk space, and also “see” CPU and memory details so that potential performance bottlenecks are identified before they become a problem, Halcyon says. The product also generates performance reports on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and enables administrators to zoom in and out of graphical displays and print exactly what is seen on screen, the company says.
In other news, Halcyon recently announced it’s now renting access to all of its systems management products. The new offering, which the company calls its subscription software service, will make it easier for users to get the software, says Lorraine Cousins, Halcyon’s managing director.
“More and more companies are asking for solutions based on predictable monthly costs, rather than more traditional, upfront capital purchases,” she says. “We have always worked on a rental basis with large managed services companies over the last nine years, but now we are able to offer our subscription software services to end users no matter whether they have a single system or multiple systems.”
The software rental service is currently only available to customers in Europe, says Carole Chandler, the company’s sales and marketing director. “We are piloting the concept in Europe and may choose to roll it out internationally later in 2007 depending on the take up,” she says.
Halcyon partnered last summer with an Atlanta, Georgia, company called Vertical VAR to distribute its software in the United States.