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Need software suggestion - also Q&A 50k

By Cactus Pete ·

I need to communicate better/faster with the end users during outages of various sorts. My idea of the solution is some sort of program that sits on each workstation as a service, listening for status changes. The systray icon changes color and/or pops up a communications bubble when something happens.

The admins can editing the alerting status and message, which then updates to everyone's desktop.

Anyone know of something like this, or have a better suggestion?

The broadcast email or voicemail thing isn't good for us, we've had 3 exchange outages recently (some human error, today's was the switch port going funky) which rules out those methods of communication (voicemail is stored on exchange).

Walking the floors is impractical. We were talking about a web page to tell everyone to look at, but it's a bit passive for alerting...

Any ideas are welcome. Please feel free to hash out ideas in discussion along with posting in the Q&A section.

I've only asked 2 other questions, both for 50k in points, and I gave the awards each time. (trust me, I'm good for the points...)

Thank you all for your participation.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

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by JamesRL In reply to Need software suggestion ...

Two things come to mind. If you already have a monitoring tool that messages a central console, then all you need is a way to get the right information to the users. Using the Net Send(unless you have disabled it due to security concerns) allows you to send a simple message to all users on the network.

If you want something more automated, you might look at some of the monitoring systems like NetView or Net IQ from Net IQ. Here is a page full of tools:
Server Observer for example will show pop up windows - don't know for how many users though - presumably it would work through the same protocol as net send, so if you have disabled it....


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Net send

by Cactus Pete In reply to Automation

Yeah, we have that disabled.

Law firm with about 750 uers...

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You could modify my idea

by jmgarvin In reply to Net send
/showing off ;-)

Ok, so you could basically have a monitoring system that signals to your clients a change in the status of one or more of your servers. The clients would then be signaled by the monitor and they would have a simple script that would explain the error (Mail Server Down...You cannot send Email)

I don't think there is any boxed software that does this.

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The real flaw

by JamesRL In reply to Net send

is that you have voicemail and email on the same system.

I have in the past done voicemail broadcasts when viruses shut down our mail services for days. We also posted paper notices in prominent areas just for good measure.

I've also seen mail servers go down for days because of corruption in the mail db and the time needed to restore mail dbs.

You might be best to buy a separate server for voicemail.


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by jmgarvin In reply to The real flaw

Try out Asterisk. It is a software (free open source) PBX. It does everything from voice mail to VoIP.

While it has more power than you need, it will at least get your voicemail off your mail server.

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Getting the word out....

by ippirate In reply to Need software suggestion ...

I'd say try to find something more on the lines of Weatherbug. I'll do some research and see what I can find on that line, seems I've seen it in the past.

Still, if it is acceptable maybe try internal IM software such as the below..

Peer to peer utilizing no central server, local network only-

Maybe look at this package as well, ability to grant sending authority or receive only. -

The latter one is nearer to what I ran across in the past and may be a better fit.

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I think this is the one I was looking for....

by ippirate In reply to Need software suggestion ...

Try this..

Look over the Bopup Observer and Secure Messenger

Should fit what you are looking to do

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PC/Workstation Based Checking

by PHelms In reply to Need software suggestion ...

Write your own utility, which runs on each PC or
workstation, and queries various services,
including network access itself. This will allow
the user's machine to determine, from its own
perspective, what's available, and to signal the
user accordingly. It could also query a database
of scheduled down times for various services, to
give the user a heads up on upcoming outages.

This approach gets you away from relying on a
service that might not be there to tell you that
it or another service might not be there.

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Sorry for the delay

by Cactus Pete In reply to Need software suggestion ...

I had a little holiday there... to replace my roof at the end of last week. Thanks for everyone who is helping, I'll research your findings today!

[At least the new roof looks nice]

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by Cactus Pete In reply to Need software suggestion ...

That suggestion looks best. I closed the Q and gave everyone points. Thanks to all of you.

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