RevSoft Takes Server Management Mobile with Rev Web
October 15, 2013 Alex Woodie
RevSoft recently rolled out a new offering called Rev Web that enables users to interact with its suite of cross-platform system management and monitoring tools from any device equipped with a Web browser and an Internet connection. The idea is to give managers the capability to oversee critical IT tasks, such as the execution of jobs on an IBM i server or escalating an error message on a Windows box, from anywhere in the world.
RevSoft’s suite of systems management and monitoring tools–including Rev Scheduler, Rev Message, Rev DataFlow, Rev Messenger, and Rev View–are designed to run equally well on IBM i, Linux, Windows, and Unix servers. The software automates IT-centric tasks, such as job scheduling, message monitoring, and file transfers, that would otherwise be done by human operators (although probably more slowly and with more mistakes).
Like any systems management tool worth its salt, the RevSoft suite easily handles normal day-to-day operations, when events run in predictable fashion. But actual humans are no match for machines when the excrement hits the ventilator, so to speak. In these situations, IT managers need to get their hands on the controls, and do so quickly.
Rev Web was developed to provide this sort of capability. When an IT manager or administrator logs into Rev Web, they gain full control over all of the RevSoft products they are running and that they are authorized to access. They can open multiple tabs in the Web browser to work with different products, or even have multiple Rev Scheduler tabs open to manage jobs running on different servers.
If Rev Scheduler is running, the customer is presented with a color-coded view of jobs as they are executing on the machine. If the customer has Rev Message, he can view messages about potentially critical errors. If Rev DataFlow is installed, he can access that product’s data- and file-movement capabilities.
What’s more, because the software is HTML-based, all a user needs to access this capability is a phone, tablet, or PC equipped with a Web browser and an active Internet connection.
RevSoft CEO John Massey found an innovative use for the software during a recent visit to Florida to watch his daughter, a professional golfer, play the links. While in Orlando, he was notified of a potential server problem of a RevSoft customer.
“I bought a Windows tablet, went to Panera, had a sandwich and a salad, and force ran jobs on a server in Australia,” he tells IT Jungle. “I didn’t need anything else. The tablet was already charged. It was so simple.”
Rev Web runs on a Windows server, and does not require any software to be installed on the client. In most cases, a Rev Soft customer will set up Rev Web by placing a link to the HTML interface on the company’s website or portal. When the manager wants to log in to Rev Web, he clicks on the link on the website.
Provided the website is set up with an encrypted connection (that is, it uses an HTTPS connection), the manager can feel secure accessing his server from a public WiFi connection, even while eating Mighty Wings at a McDonald’s in Timbuktu.
“We have so many users around the world who are saying, ‘It’s cool that I can get an email if something goes wrong, but it’s not the same as being able to watch it and control it and manage it wherever I like,'” Massey says. “Nobody sleeps very well when the end of week or end of month is running and you’re waiting for something to go wrong. But now, all of a sudden I can jump in there and watch any job that’s running on any platform, on any server, from any location.”
This is not the first UI from RevSoft that gives users access to all of their duly licensed RevSoft products from a single pane of glass. And it’s not even the best interface for every use case. For instance, there is a high-level, read-only interface available with Rev View (which acts as the networking “glue” that connects the various RevSoft products together) that would be sufficient for executives to monitor IT activities. It even works in a tablet or a phone.
For most IT power users, the company’s full .NET interface will provide superior navigation, responsiveness, and control over the full suite of RevSoft products. That .NET-based interface will be the go-to product for technologists to use while on the job, or when traveling with their laptops.
Rev Web is designed to fill in gaps, and to provide a way to get fairly deep operational access to systems when a customer is not expecting to need it, such as when he is on vacation. It’s a fairly simple approach that doesn’t sacrifice security, and doesn’t come with the headaches that can arise when trying to establish a VPN connection across a finicky hotel network, which would be required with the .NET interface.
What the product lacks in glitz and polish, it makes up for with simplicity. The company could have taken the native tact, and developed a special product for every size and dimension of iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry, Kindle, and Nook device in the world. Instead, it split the differences, and delivered a touch-enabled interface that works on all of them.
Ideally, Rev Web is accessed from a tablet, which has enough screen real estate to avoid information being cramped. But even with an iPhone, an administrator can log in and use his fingers to pinch and drag the screen to see the important information displayed about his IBM i environment.
Rev Web is available free to existing RevSoft customers. For more information, see the company’s website at www.revsoft.com.