Systems Monitoring Made Easier, Better, GUI-er
July 25, 2016 Dan Burger
With the introduction of its newest systems management software, HelpSystems is showing off what it can do by merging its traditional Robot line with an acquired product from the CCSS family of tools. Raise the curtain, please, on Robot Monitor 14, a feature enhanced version of what was formerly known as CCSS QSystem Monitor now integrated with the Robot IT operations management and infrastructure monitoring software stack.
The new Robot Monitor specializes in keeping watch over system performance from a single, central dashboard. It provides real-time data on:
According to Tim Woodfield, software development manager at HelpSystems, Robot Monitor is built over a series of IBM i system views. The views provide more depth and are more comprehensive than the previous Robot Monitor.
“It’s all in one view now and users can pick the views that they want. Instead of monitoring one aspect of the system, it allows the monitoring of multiple aspects depending on the user’s interest in specific KPIs. This is a step up from QSystem Monitor (QSM) and a whole new product compared to the previous Robot Monitor,” Woodfield says.
HelpSystems acquired CCSS, a competitor in the systems monitoring and performance management tools business, in October 2012. One of the prizes in that deal was QSM and its monitoring capabilities that included hardware items such as memory, disks, network, and CPU utilization; IBM i-specific stuff like LPAR, object, ASP, and job activity; and even the status of DASD battery packs.
Although rebranded as Robot Monitor and integrated with the other Robot products (Robot Schedule, Robot Console, Robot Alert, and Robot Network), it maintains its integration with the CCSS products (QMessage Monitor and QRemote Control) as well.
HelpSystems has a great deal of brand equity in the Robot name and its installed base of system software management customers is largely tied to the Robot software, which is IBM i specific.
Robot Monitor was designed as a standalone product, but in the past has been often teamed with one or more of the other Robot offerings. It’s capability to drill down to root cause analysis–what caused a datacenter to go bump in the night–has been one of its most acclaimed features. User interface improvements in this latest release is claimed to make root cause analysis easier.
The user interface enhancements include updated graphics and menus.
“We wanted to build on this technology and bring it into the Robot family of products,” Chris Heim, CEO at HelpSystems, said in a statement. “We previewed the product at our user conference last month and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Robot Monitor is robust and will solve a number of problems for our customers.”
In an interview with IT Jungle last November, Matt Bresnan, vice president of development, explained that one of HelpSystems’ goals was to create a single pane of glass, centralized console that allows users to manage, at least to some extent, all the key products in the HelpSystems portfolio. It includes unified dashboards that allow widgets from any of the products to provide data to a common dashboard.
Robot Monitor became available last week. Specific pricing was not announced, but it will be based on HelpSystems’ traditional licensing model, which takes into account the number of servers and the number of instances. It is supported on IBM i 7.1, 7.2. and 7.3.