SCO Mobile HipCheck 1.0.3 review

£136
Price when reviewed

Although servers have long been able to send alerts by email or SMS when they need attention, support staff still needed to gain access to them, either directly or via a remote link, in order to deal with the problem. Even more worrying, in the event of a major failure the server might not be able to send an alert at all. HipCheck addresses these issues by using its own servers to monitor client servers and to send automatic SMS messages when required.

SCO Mobile HipCheck 1.0.3 review

Each monitored server runs a HipCheck agent that provides two-way communications between it and the HipCheck servers. The HipCheck Client software allows suitable mobile phones to communicate with the HipCheck servers using the mobile phone network. The client allows the user to interact with the monitored servers through a comprehensive user interface. This offers a summary showing each system’s colour-coded status and any active alerts associated with them. Detailed system information is available, and snapshots of important items such as free disk space, printer status and service status can be obtained. Individual services and processes can be started and stopped, and the system logs examined. A system’s user accounts can now also be manipulated remotely – accounts can be unlocked, enabled and disabled as needed. Equivalent software facilities are also available in the HipCheck Client for Windows software. The monitoring servers can send alerts via email and SMS. This allows monitoring of systems from fixed locations or from a laptop.

Access to the monitoring system is controlled by HipCheck user accounts. These can be assigned privileges as needed. A manager’s account can allow the user to receive alerts and monitor system status, while a support person’s account would also allow access to the monitored systems to make changes.

In previous incarnations (web ID: 102320), we’ve found HipCheck to be effective but not without its limitations. This release addresses these issues, and adds new features, too.

The software now generates an SMS alert if a monitored system fails to respond, as we discovered when we powered down one of our servers by mistake. The alerting system has also been extended. It can still be configured to monitor key items such as free disk space, printers, processes and service status, but it can now also check for keywords in event logs or other text files. This enables the administrator to set up alerts for when processes start or stop or, indeed, fail to start at all. Finally, it’s now possible to reboot a server remotely.

An important new feature adds a command-line facility that allows the user to run a command remotely. To avoid potential security issues, only commands on an approved list can be executed. The number of server platforms supported has increased, adding Windows 2000 Server and Sun Solaris systems to the mix. There’s now a Java J2ME client available, allowing the use of Java-capable mobile phones.

Now that the limitations of the earlier release have been addressed, HipCheck is a much more capable support tool than before.

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