SystemTools Hyena 6.2 review

Price when reviewed

As many network-management products become ever more complex and costly, smaller businesses are increasingly looking to simpler point-solution software. SystemTools’ Hyena is a prime example. It focuses purely on workstation and server management, and aims to present this information in a single, intuitive interface.

SystemTools Hyena 6.2 review

Hyena is designed to manage any Windows NT, 2000, XP and 2003 system, and supports multiple Active Directory domains with ease. The licensing scheme is also a bonus. Rather than be charged by the node like the majority of network-management products, SystemTools is licensed per administrator. Consequently, if you have only one administrator that’s all you pay for, irrespective of how many systems you’re managing. The Enterprise version also adds support for Microsoft Exchange and Terminal Services.

Hardware requirements are minimal, but the host system should have domain administrator privileges. Blink and you’ll miss the installation routine, as it takes only a few seconds. The Hyena interface is intuitive and opens with a simple Explorer-style view of network resources. Top-level objects represent the local system, all Windows networks and the domain the Hyena system is currently logged into. The Object Manager makes light work of customising this view, as you can change the sort order and add a range of objects, including individual workstations and servers, printers, directory paths, Registry keys or just a URL. Multiple domains may be added using the search facility or by entering them manually.

When expanded, each entry has a range of subordinate objects dependent on its type. Selecting a workstation or server brings up an extensive list of options, allowing you to see local drives, network connections, users and groups. All services and devices may be viewed and each started and stopped remotely. Details of network shares are provided, as is a list of all physical volumes along with used and free space. Local printers can be viewed, and the right-click menu allows you to use shell functions to examine and modify the printer’s properties, access its print queue and run the Add Printer Wizard. Domain management gets a boost, since user accounts can be created or deleted remotely. Multiple accounts may also be modified and have their passwords reset or changed. Group creation is supported, and it’s possible to select an existing group and copy all members to a new one. Synchronisation tasks for complete domains or selected domain controllers may also be run at will.

Further to reader enquiries regarding monitoring users logging on and off, we were advised by SystemTools that Hyena’s Exporter Pro utility can be used to retrieve all user logon information. However, as this is coming from the Windows user information, only the last entry is maintained and logoff details aren’t available.

Helpdesk tools include remote control, and Hyena is designed primarily to work with the open-source VNC products. You’ll need to modify a small script file first, but Hyena can automatically install the service on the selected system. We tested this feature using TightVNC and found it worked without any problems.

We’ve seen many management products creaking under the weight of their own features, but SystemTools shows that the simplest answers are often the best. SMEs looking for a low-cost way to manage their systems and domains will find Hyena a slick alternative that won’t break the bank.

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