Server problems managed straight from the hip

Utility customer first to market

Unix provider SCO Group has released its mobile Windows and Unix server manager HipCheck for the Australian market.

The client monitors the status of software and hardware from a mobile phone running Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC or Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2003, allowing users to restart and terminate applications and to be alerted to low disk space or availability of peripherals.

HipCheck currently runs as a hosted solution for Windows and SCO's Unix servers, while the company develops compatibilities with Solaris, Linux and other Unix versions.

SCO Group Australia managing director Kieran O'Shaughnessy said the hosted solution has already been taken up by a wholesale electrical company which deployed HipCheck for its 200 SCO Unix servers.

"HipCheck works great for this sort of deployment but we will see a key market in large single office buildings which will use it to monitor a bunch of servers," O'Shaughnessy said.

"Once users register their servers, the phones they use to manage them run at SCO. Alerts are then sent to selected phones which also run server administrative tasks."

He said while it is a hosted offering, the company will allow third party hosting.

"An in-house solution is still some time away," O'Shaughnessy added.

"The mobility server, which is the middleware that sits between the managed servers and the phone client devices, is going to be available for customers to host on their own site, but we are yet to have a release date."

SCO IT technician Nigel Simpson said the hosted version is popular because it is less expensive than in-house and readily available.

"People prefer the hosted service because it is available if there are problems with the user's servers and it's actually far cheaper to use," Simpson said.

"The Me Inc server provides HipCheck's secure connection in which no passwords or IDs are stored on the phone. Users can set IDs to be short-lived for security if a handset is stolen or lost and can be taken off the service so they can't be used to attack the servers."

HipCheck costs between $13 to $26 per monitored system per month, and is available through SCO distributors MPA Systems and Tardis Services.

It is free as a two-week trial.

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