December 15, 2000, 3:21 PM — NASHUA, N.H. -- IT executives are not only habitually concerned about how efficiently their Windows-based networks run, but how fast they can recover from inevitable failures.
A new tool for addressing the latter is scheduled to ship in January from imagine LAN. The company's RecoverySafe gives IT administrators a centralized console that can remotely bring corrupt servers and desktops back online.
The browser-based tool lets administrators manage registry and configuration files on Windows servers and desktops. Those files can be used to recover from problems resulting from hardware and software conflicts, third-party drivers or software that crash a machine after installation, or when a user changes a system configuration that renders the computer inoperable.
Other vendors, such as Aelita Software and Ecora, also offer enterprise configuration management software. Windows Millennium Edition (ME), the newest version of the Microsoft operating system, has a similar capability for recording and restoring registry and configuration information. Windows NT also offers tools, but it lacks the central console and automatic restore features found in RecoverySafe.
"A lot of people are talking about self-healing or mission-critical recovery," says Tony Bailey, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates. "It's beneficial if you can put out fires automatically or assist network administrators in doing it." But Bailey says that while protecting PCs is important, what's also critical on the server side is making sure applications stay up and running.
RecoverySafe does not address applications but the underlying operating system. The software comes with consoles for administrators and client PCs.
The Administrative Console can be used to remotely restore machines as well as for scheduling snapshots at various intervals.
Users also can produce change reports to compare the before and after results of a system restore. The administrative software supports the Windows Management Interface and the Web-based Enterprise Management standard so it can be integrated into existing management infrastructures.
"We developed these network features so users can quickly restore any configuration and systems file over an IP system," says Kirk Olsen, director of development for imagine LAN.
The Administrative Console relies on the Client Console, which is installed locally on the PC, to take a "snapshot" of the registry and configuration files and store it on the machine.
With either console, users can restore the system using a browser interface if the corrupt machine can be booted into Windows or Safe Mode. A command line prompt also is available if the machine must be booted using a floppy disk, but the feature cannot be used over the network.