Review: PA Server Monitor

Ian Yates has discovered a $US99 tool that he feels can make the chore of managing a fleet of servers much, much easier.

If you're one of those people whose job description includes the word "admin" then you also know you should be regularly checking the event logs on your servers to see what's going wrong. But hey, who has time for that? OK, who has a life and still has time for that? What if there was a way to know about all the warnings and errors in the event logs without even bothering to look inside?

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to call your boss (or your client) and say "Look, I've noticed a little problem with our DHCP configuration, but I fixed that already, however, one of our disk drives has a few more errors than is normal so I'll just take it offline tonight and give it a good scrub, OK?" You can achieve this by sitting and staring at the event logs all day, or you can go to the pub and wait for an email alert to arrive on your Blackberry.

The email alerts are provided by a nice little utility called PA Server Monitor produced by a Kansas City outfit called Power Admin. This thing only costs US$99 for a single server and there are discounts for multiple sites and multiple servers. And that's for the all-singing all-dancing 'Pro' version of the monitor, which you can download for a 30-day free trial. But be warned. Once you've tried this thing you are not going to let the trial expire. There's also a 'lite' version for US$49 but hey, why not splash out for the 'Pro' version - it's worth every penny. Or cent.

Of course, the monitor is fully customisable and you can configure it to pay more or less attention to different events and it can also restart stopped services as well as emailing you about their demise. However, our bet is that if you just run the auto-configure wizard you'll soon be getting far more information than you ever did before about the state of play in your server farm. Visit the company's website for all the details. Then you'd better also bookmark www.eventid.net so you can figure what all these alerts arriving in your email are blathering about. Oh, and add a filter to put the alerts in their own folder. Trust us on this one.

More power to your admin!

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