increasing numbers of servers in various locations around the world, monitoring

things such as disk space, load, and network status can be a bit of a headache.

This is especially true in a non-windows server environment. There are quite a

few offerings which will (or claim to) solve problems of control faced by

administrators. The obvious options come licensed with your servers, either IBM

Director or HP Insight

Manager. As most of our servers are from IBM, I’ll take a brief look at

what Director offers: 


An easy-to-use, integrated suite of tools with consistent look-and-feel and

single point of management simplifies IT tasks


Automated, proactive capabilities that help reduce IT costs and maximize system



Streamlined, intuitive user interface to get started faster and accomplish more

in a shorter period of time


Open, standards-based design and broad platform and operating support enable

customers to manage heterogeneous environments from a central point


Can be extended to provide more choice of tools from the same user interface

That’s the marketing blurb, but what does it mean in

English? Well I installed IBM

Director, which was provided on CD’s with some of our servers. Here, I came

across the first problem, and I was quite surprised by it! The agent (this goes

on the servers to be monitored) is included on the CD in a variety of formats

for different types of servers. I tried to use the provided installation

scripts to install the agent packages (system monitoring, service monitoring,

RAID configuration, etc.)–shock, horror–they failed!

The problem was quite obvious: In the installation scripts,

package files were referenced with caps, for example, DirectorAgentPackage.rpm, but the actual name of that file was directoragentpackage.rpm. Linux/Unix

file systems are case sensitive; therefore, the files could not be found. I

thought it quite surprising that a large corporation like IBM would make such

an obvious error, which would have been found if they decided to test the

scripts at least once (which I would do, personally, if I were planning to make

thousands of CDs to include with my products). Anyway, to overcome this, I

simply copied all of the files to the hard disk and then edited the installation

using the correct file names. It installed without any problems after that. I

came across the same problem with the server package installation–the same fix


My second issue came while installing the client application

on my computer, after installation, and on my first attempt to log in to the

server. I was informed that my client version did not match the server version.

I had to download the correct client version from their Website, which again

left me wondering who on earth would distribute incompatible software versions


With these problems overcome, I finally got to start looking

at the software. The RAID manager worked very well, but then the IBM RAID

manager can be used standalone without IBM Director. To be honest I wasn’t very

impressed with anything else, it was a pretty drawn out and slow process just

to set monitoring of disk space. I didn’t find the interface very intuitive and

very quickly felt that I didn’t really want to deal with this on a day-to-day


Next week I’ll take a look at Nagios; this is an open-source solution
offering server monitoring and alerting.