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January 1, 2010
Vol.32 Issue 1|
Page(s) 20 in print issue
Straightforward Network Server Management
AdRem Software Gets To The Point With Its Easy-To-Use Offerings
After getting a Master of Computer Science at Poland’s esteemed Jagiellonian University, AdRem Software CEO Tomasz Kunicki wrote custom software and did network consulting for several companies, including a Central European bank. Naïvely, Kunicki assumed that the network engineers with whom he worked knew at least as much, if not more, about computer networks as he did.
But then Kunicki discovered that his colleagues were overworked, understaffed, and lacked the time to learn about new technologies. “Configuring their systems took too much of their time, [and although] they have to use many different tools to do their job, [they] have no time to learn how to use them,” Kunicki says.
This realization inspired Kunicki to establish AdRem Software (www.adremsoft.com), now based in New York City and Krakow, Poland. “I wanted to create straightforward software to perform all the administrative and management tasks on network servers,” Kunicki says. He says he chose the name AdRem because “ad rem” is Latin for “to the point,” or without digression. AdRem Software has accumulated a wide customer base that includes organizations such as Rolex, Bertelsmann AG, the City of Flagstaff in Arizona, the University of Kentucky, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations.
Kunicki explains that AdRem is composed of software specialists who design software for IT and data center managers. “We are skeptical about the often-heard ‘Software made by engineers for engineers.’ Would you get into a plane that was made by pilots for pilots?” Kunicki says. This sort of thinking, he continues, “implies that the software user knowledge is similar to the knowledge of the software authors, which is often not the case.”
AdRem’s software designers include the sorts of functionalities demanded by IT professionals, but at the same time, AdRem builds its solutions in a clear and correct way, says Kunicki. “In today’s world, the demand for a given service or technology grows faster than the number of specialists who know and can properly implement this technology or service, and it’s technically impossible for most people working in the IT industry to have a deep knowledge of every detail of every technology,” he says.
Therefore, AdRem develops its products so that busy, perhaps less experienced managers can perform certain core tasks in the correct way while at the same time enabling more advanced users to drill down easily to tweak configuration settings and customize them as needed. “Our software not only gathers and displays information about a network’s status but also helps in the prevention and troubleshooting by providing that diagnostic information,” Kunicki says.
Doing More With Less
AdRem seems especially mindful of the issues SMEs face in running their enterprise networks. AdRem’s motto—“Doing more with less”—could double as the model for the average SME data center manager.
“In small and medium-sized companies, it’s common for IT pros to have advanced knowledge about a few aspects of their job [while having] more general knowledge in others,” says Kunicki. “They need a [complete] solution that will help them do what they need to do even if they aren’t a specialist in this particular field, not just tools that will just gather a lot of parameters to display for them.”
At the same time, the demand for specialized skills within the data center is growing faster than the number of skilled people available. Meanwhile, IT departments in most organizations are overworked and understaffed, so they typically don’t have the time to learn what a given piece of software can accomplish for them. “[They] expect the software to support them in their network management tasks, thanks to the predefined settings of the software that they can immediately use in their jobs, and then continue learning on the job,” Kunicki adds.
As a result, AdRem solutions are designed to provide the user with analysis as well as information. Once AdRem’s solutions gather and display various parameter values for your networks, they will also analyze and inform you of the impact and meaning of these results. “We want the solution to help with the diagnosis,” Kunicki says. “For example, if you measure the temperature and it gives you 75 F, it does not mean anything to you if you do not know what the expected value should be. 75 F is too low for the blast furnace, but it is way too high for your fridge.”
An Aptly Named Solution
AdRem released the first version of its flagship product NetCrunch in 2002. NetCrunch monitors a wide range of devices and operating systems, including all Windows iterations, multiple flavors of Linux, multiple versions of Unix, and Mac OS X. Kunicki says that NetCrunch centralizes fault management by collecting and alerting on events from SNMP sources, Windows Event Logs, and syslog servers. It monitors networks using SNMP protocol and self-controls the percentage of bandwidth taken by its own monitoring tracking, he says.
“Network administrators appreciate the advanced physical maps and notification mechanisms that allow implementing an advanced escalation scheme of notifications compatible with ITIL recommendations,” says Kunicki. “With NetCrunch, our clients always know exactly what is happening with critical applications, servers, and network devices.”
According to Kunicki, NetCrunch comes with the best network topology maps, including logical network maps, physical network maps with port numbers, and routing maps, all of which are automatically created. Users may easily add custom network views, as well. NetCrunch even comes with a network view called “Maps With Issues” that shows which nodes in a network are not working properly so that diagnosis and troubleshooting take less time.
Additionally, NetCrunch provides user profile management, which lets data center managers create individualized user profiles with complete contact details and preferences for receiving alerts. “User profiles are invaluable in case of any staff fluctuations,” Kunicki says. “You only need to change the contact details without having to manually review all of the alert settings.”
Upcoming Product News
AdRem has several things in store for this year, including NetCrunch 6.0. “With the fundamental transition into the client-server architecture of the software, we have been able to implement further improvements in the scalability of the software, which is the response to our customers who wish to monitor their networks in the more intensive way while keeping the convenience of agentless monitoring,” Kunicki says.
In addition, AdRem is readying AdRem Network Inventory software, currently in beta, for Q1 2010. According to Kunicki, Network Inventory takes a complete hardware/software inventory of your entire Windows network, tracks all hardware and software upgrades and other changes, and manages software licenses, as well.
by Robyn Weisman
AdRem Software Featured Products |
|Product ||Description |
|AdRem iTools ||A collection of IP utilities for managing TCP/IP and SNMP diagnostics, along with Windows WMI tools. |
|AdRem NetCrunch ||A comprehensive network fault management application that works with Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, NetWare, and SNMP devices to monitor and alert on events from SNMP sources, Windows Event Logs, and syslog servers. |
|AdRem Server Manager ||A real-time Novell OES Linux and NetWare server administrative and monitoring tool. |
|AdRem sfConsole ||A Web-based console that audits and restricts user- and group-based access to the network. |
|AdRem SNMP Manager ||SNMP management console that provides organized graphical view and remote control of SNMP-enabled devices. |
|Free MyNet Toolset ||A free utility that detects all the nodes in your local network as a graphical map so that you can personalize pop-up menus for each node for access to common network tools. |
AdRem Software |
• AdRem specializes in making network management tasks accessible for users of all skill levels, which is important to today’s understaffed IT departments that lack specialized expertise.
• The company plans to add to its offerings with network inventory software due in the first quarter of this year.
• “With NetCrunch, our clients always know exactly what is happening with critical applications, servers, and network devices,” says AdRem Software CEO Tomasz Kunicki.