Help/Systems Extends Robot to Linux Servers
November 27, 2007 Alex Woodie
System i shops that rely on Help/Systems‘ Robot systems management tools recently obtained the capability to manage several aspects of their Linux servers, when the software company announced support for Linux servers with Robot/CLIENT, its open systems extension to the System i-focused Robot world. Help/Systems also unveiled a new release of the Robot Browser Interface, a product that puts an HTML view on top of several popular Robot products, including the job scheduler and the message management and alerting tool.
For years, Help/Systems has sold Robot/CLIENT, a product that enabled its customers to control certain aspects of Unix and Windows servers using other Robot products running on the System i. With this month’s release of a new version of Robot/CLIENT, Help/Systems is now extending that capability to the second most popular server platform in existence today: Linux. (Windows, of course, is first.)
With Robot/CLIENT, customers can now manage their Linux environments using some of the same Help/Systems products they use to manage System i environments. Not all Robot products are compatible with Robot/CLIENT. But the list of supported products (below) provides Linux users a good subset of the Robot’s capabilities:
While Linux has made great headway into the world’s data centers, the decision to support Linux servers with Robot/CLIENT was strictly based on customer demand, says Tom Huntington, vice president of technical services for the Eden Prairie, Minnesota, company. “Linux is becoming more popular in the System i community, but it’s still not as prevalent as Windows or Unix,” he says.
Not content with opening up Robot to Linux, Help/Systems also issued a new release of its browser-based console, the Robot Browser Interface, that brings several additions to the list of supported products.
When it was first released in 2003, the Robot Browser Interface was intended for use with Robot/REPORTS, the company’s report generation and distribution utility. With the announcement this month, Help/Systems has opened up the Robot Browser Interface to work with several other products, including Robot/SCHEDULE, Robot/NETWORK, Robot/SPACE, and Robot/ALERT.
The new Web interface should provide immediate benefits to users of Robot/SCHEDULE. For example, users can now view and filter the status of scheduled jobs, which are displayed as colored icons sorted by job type and status in the Robot Browser Interface. Robot/SCHEDULE users can also view their “good morning report” from the safety and comfort of their favorite Web browser, according to Help/Systems.
Robot/SPACE users can also use the new interface to view information about ASP usage and thresholds across multiple System i servers or logical partitions (alas, the Robot Browser Interface doesn’t yet support Linux, Windows, or Unix machines).
If the Robot/ALERT notification system is installed on the System i server, customers can use the Robot Browser Interface as a sort of one-way text messaging platform. Users simply pick a device, select a recipient or broadcast list, enter the text of the message, and send it off.
Finally, for Robot/REPORTS, the original recipient of the Robot Browser Interface, the product provides users with the capability to view, save, and print their System i reports to a PC or System i printer, add notes to reports, and create a personalized “My Reports” page, Help/Systems says.
The two new products are available now. Robot/CLIENT pricing is based on Help/Systems’ proprietary tier system, and ranges from $2,500 to $30,600. The Robot Browser Interface is free when customers buy one of the products it works with. For more information, go to www.helpsystems.com.