Stories by Mike Avery

Laptop Tools to Stay in Sync

Your sales staff is hitting the pavement, but if the data they have on their laptops is out of date, they 're walking time bombs. With the wrong information, they may not be able to close a deal, or worse yet, they may close a deal at the wrong price. To prevent that you need to make sure your staff has the right data on their laptops by letting them synchronize data easily.

Dialup Blues

A recurring problem that affected each product was configuring and reconfiguring laptops to make them connect via the LAN or via dial-up over the Internet. When the laptop was cabled via Fast Ethernet to the LAN, the laptop tried to dial out. When we had the laptop dial out, it couldn 't find the Domain Name System server on our LAN.

Network management on the cheap

As networks grow and the numbers of users and devices increase, maintaining them is ever more time-consuming and costly. One solution to this expansion is to install a network management system large enough to surround the enterprise. But whenever people talk about large-scale network management tools, they inevitably mention dollar amounts that have lots of zeros behind them. It appears to most people that for a network management tool to be very useful, it has to be wide-ranging and expensive.

IPMagic Performs Traffic-Control Wonders

If you are building or running a sophisticated IP-based network, installing an IP traffic-management suite could be just what your IT department, customers, and CFO need. Used properly, it will help maximize the efficiencies of your hardware and bandwidth, while giving better control of the traffic itself. No matter what your situation, there's nothing wrong with saving time and money while increasing the quality of your network service.

PictureTaker 3.0 Eases Group Installation

One of the biggest challenges facing system administrators is finding a manageable way to distribute software, especially on the enterprise level. A simple manual software installation or upgrade can cost IT staff members an obscene amount of time and productivity. Even if all goes well, about two staff weeks are lost for every 40 PCs -- and usually all does not go well.

WhatsUp Gold: High Appeal at Low Cost

A big network often calls for a big network management tool, which usually translates into a big price. Many companies purchase a major network management suite, only to find that it doesn't cover all of what they need. But surprisingly, a few low-cost tools can take care of entire networks -- even for large corporations.

Glitches Make MonitorIT a Poor Value

Enterprises can benefit from large-scale network management software tying its far-flung elements together. But there's still room for inexpensive network monitoring tools. They allow a network manager or technician to keep an essential handful of tools on a laptop and deal with whatever troubles the network might develop. Whether the technician is at a remote site, a client's site, or helping one of your suppliers, using good, portable tools means the network recovers sooner.

Link Analyst Reduces Troubleshooting Time

One question that's sure to strike fear into the heart of any system manager is, "Why is the network so slow?" Staff members become impatient because it takes too long to do their jobs, managers become upset because the staff is becoming unproductive, and slow networks can mean missed deadlines for companies on tight schedules.

ImageCast Keeps Drives Clean, Costs Low

Drive-image copiers make life much easier for system managers by slashing the cost of setting up new machines, as well as shortening trouble resolution time on installed machines. However, their use is limited and usually requires a visit to users, which can be extremely time-consuming.

EtherPeek Fully Tracks Net Usage

As soon as something goes wrong in the deepest levels of your network, you have to fix it fast. Few companies can afford to let their IT staff dally when the network suddenly slows down, a new program crashes half of the servers, or the printers stop printing. EtherPeek 4.0 for Windows, from AG Group Inc., is a software-based packet analyzer that lets technicians, programmers, or network managers immediately determine what is happening on their network at a very low level.

Web Transporter Does Job, Lacks Flair

If you are responsible for a network of users who are spread out geographically, you must figure out how to get current software to them quickly and easily. In an effort to simplify distributing software to clients or staff beyond a LAN, Metatec Corp. offers Web Transporter 3.0.

VitalSuite Offers Strong Solution to Downtime

EVEN IN A market bursting with dozens of products, finding the network management solution that meets at least most of your needs is no simple task. With its latest release of VitalSuite, Lucent Technologies Inc. hopes to make that job a little easier. Version 7.0 is a comprehensive package that lets you monitor your network and its servers and devices from a contemporary Web browser. It also helps you find trouble spots before they become critical and cause expensive downtime.

Retrospect Shines in Windows Backups

Dantz Development Corp. Retrospect has long enjoyed an excellent reputation among Macintosh users, and beginning with Retrospect Backup Server 5.0, Windows users can benefit from this solid, well-designed workstation backup product. System managers will find a lot to like about Retrospect -- it's fast, easy to use, reliable, and very affordable. It also makes desktop backups and restores simple to do, which is what managing a network is all about.

OnePoint Tool Proves Reliable

Companies now rely on microcomputer-based systems to do mission-critical work that would have given mainframes pause just a few years ago. The software that monitors these machines, including Windows NT systems, and their networks is becoming more important. Luckily for the consumer, competition is heating up the market.