Brylow also ensures performance by using several generic network-monitoring tools, including Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView and CiscoWorks from San Jose-based Cisco Systems Inc. He says he's considering more comprehensive monitoring suites, including BMC Software's Patrol and products from NetIQ. However, Brylow says he sees such tools as more important to someone trying to squeeze availability out of hardware that's running near capacity.
"We tend to oversize servers as opposed to running really tight," he says. "They're really not breaking a sweat."
Electronic Weigh Station
Del Webb is a medium-size company with a large appetite for e-mail. It maintains six dedicated GroupWise 5.53 servers plus about 70 shared machines to provide e-mail for 3,300 of its 4,700 employees in 13 offices. Besides being the internal lifeline, GroupWise is a temporary communication channel for contractors and has processed half a million sales leads forwarded from the company's Web site.
The company has used GroupWise for seven years and finds it reliable and easy to manage, says Dirk Ellsworth, senior director of information services. With 10 network administrators at Del Webb's headquarters, Ellsworth says, he couldn't afford to run high-maintenance e-mail. "We probably have half a person who's dedicated to e-mail management," he says.
As a firm that regularly circulates large documents such as master plans and engineering blueprints, Del Webb is especially vulnerable to e-mail attachments that can bog down the entire network, causing gateways to crash. "We strongly encourage people not to attach 20MB worth of attachments," says Glass. "The gateways generally fail when you send 20MB." He acknowledges that the attachments policy hasn't been effective, though, so to stay aware of gateway uptime, the company uses Novell's ManageWise to automatically send alerts to network administrators, who then must reboot the offending gateway. Additional network monitoring is provided by seven data center administrators using HP's OpenView.
Guinevere antivirus software from Industrial Economics Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., recommended by Novell, is a less closely managed uptime and security tool, since GroupWise isn't as popular a target for hackers as Exchange, according to Glass. But Guinevere frequently rejects messages that are virus-free, says Glass, so the company runs it only on servers rather than distributing copies for each desktop. "We're just not finding anything [antivirus] that's really good for GroupWise," he says. GroupWise's built-in security is generally adequate, though Ellsworth says he regrets its lack of encryption for Internet mail, a shortcoming he hasn't tried to address with third-party software.