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Remote Server monitoring and and workstation administration software

Posted on 2009-07-08
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We are planning to offer remote monitoring and remote administration to our clients, and it calls for a good software package. Should I mention that price is a major factor?

As far as the monitoring goes, we want to have the main server in the office, and be able to monitor Windows servers status, managed switches (perhaps non managed if possible), firewalls, T1/DSL/etc lines, services running on the servers. Software should produce real time status and should be able to generate weekly/quarterly reports.

PRTG, SPiceworks do not offer ability to monitor several networks over the internet, one software that look promising is being offered as a service by few companies on the Internet (screenshot attached), we were able to locate it once but not recently.


As far as the remote admin portion we want to be able to interact with the user (VNC like) and also have option to control it while user is logged in (not a must have).

VNC, RDP may work but that would require us to login to a remote server and establish remote session to a workstation. Ideally we want to be able to initiate the remote session from our office from one or more dedicated computers. LogMeIn may be a good solution but it'll cost $1,600 for only 25 remote computers. At this point we are anticipating about 60-90 remote workstations that needs to be controlled. UltraVNC server may be OK, we had some problems with it before.

Thank you

Some clients have dynamic IP address,
noc-screenshot-big.gif
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Question by:Coffinated
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ou_dober earned 350 total points
ID: 24808066
Coffinated,

If you want to monitor systems as a service for free, look into Zenoss.  It is unix driven but covers many types for hardware and OS platforms. WMI and SNMP are the primary components for getting critical information. Hyper HQ is another great product as well but has not be on the market for long.

Zenoss
http://www.zenoss.com/

Hyperic HQ
http://www.hyperic.com/products/open-source-systems-monitoring.html

The pitfall to these products is there is a decent amount of tech time to ramp up these products but what do you expect for free.

As for remote customer support solution, I would suggest TeamViewer.  It is much more secure than VNC and more flexible than RDP.  It is alot less costly than LogMeIn. It also has the capability to ensure privacy to your clients without any hacher just trying to access their systems.

http://www.teamviewer.com/index.aspx

It sounds to me like you are trying to get into managed services for your clients.  I would suggest looking into MSP Center. http://www.manageengine.com/products/msp-center/index.html

It is a great cheap starter package that will help you get your feet wet in this type of arena without a lot of technical or business overhead.  The great thing about this product is it is already cloud based on Amazon.  Its weaknesses will be reporting and invoicing but you may already have something in place for that.

Lastly, consider Googling MSP or managed service provider products.  There are many out there and I have reviewed quite a few for my own business.  Look into scalability and integration with other solutions as well to leverage your arsenal of support products already in place. Do not forget either to research agent footprints so that you do not impact the end user systems performance.

If you are in need of consultation on this offline, feel free to contact me at ou_dober(at)yahoo(.)com

Hope this helps.

ou_dober
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by:manicsquirrel
manicsquirrel earned 150 total points
ID: 24814204
If you want to initiate remote session easily, check out Boztek's VNCScan.  I use it's management console for 40 different networks, each with dozens of workstations.  I install UltraVNC Repeater Service on each network's main server, then I don't have to port tunnel to each workstation, nor do I have to have a user initiate a session.  I just double-click an icon in VNCScan and I'm on their desktop.  It's a great tool for remote service and maintenance.  

If you also install VNCScan on each network's server, it'll even remotely install VNC on all the workstations for you.

Additionally, you can configure the VNC rollout to use MS authentication which checks credentials against ActiveDirectory.

http://www.vncscan.com
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by:ou_dober
ID: 24826604
manicsquirrel,

Nothing against your suggestion, but is VNC not considered kind of security flawed with holes and exploits?  I would not sleep well knowing that type product is on my clients PC's and servers.

Coffinated - did you have more questions or are you waiting for more input?

ou_dober
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3 Use Cases for Connected Systems

Our Dev teams are like yours. They’re continually cranking out code for new features/bugs fixes, testing, deploying, testing some more, responding to production monitoring events and more. It’s complex. So, we thought you’d like to see what’s working for us.

 
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by:manicsquirrel
ID: 24827291
ou_dober,

I sleep fairly well.  Nothing against your concern, but I think you may be in the minority opinion about VNC.

Check out: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Security/Q_21691894.html
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by:Mike_Courtney
ID: 24827308
I think VNC has suffered from bad press in the past, but currently they offer lots of solutions for enterprises.

Check out their web site for more info
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by:ou_dober
ID: 24851193
Manicsquirrel & Mike Courtney,

Thank you both for your input on VNC and I will do my  homework a little on VNC next time before popping off so fast...   :)   My apologies if I cam off offensive to anyone.  Great EE post btw.

Coffinated,

Did any of these suggested solutions help you out with you challenge?

ou_dober
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by:Coffinated
ID: 24882189
First of all sorry for the delay,

ou_dober:
Great suggestions, I have been looking into all products listed by you, and am leaning towards "Hyperic HQ" If time permits I'll try all of them in the lab to select best one that fits my needs.
TeamViewer looks like a very nice product, the only disadvantage to me is that a client must call us or emails us the password. There is nothing wrong with that, but requires a little extra work.

manicsquirrel,
Most likely we'll go with VNC Scan (totally forgot about its existence), I agree that VNC is a great product but suffered from bad publicity lately. After all I am going to filter the traffic at the firewall level (if possible), and that would allow me to sleep at night. For other clients who would require extra security team viewer looks like a good option,

Thank you all for good suggestions, I am going to start with "Hyperic HQ" and "VNC Scanner" and most likely use "Team Viewer" in the near future.
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by:jayeshputhoor
ID: 25213007
Go for Kaseya Software, I am sure u will like it. Just give a try.http://kaseya.com/
Regards
Jayesh
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