Insightix's Dynamic Asset Management


We sat down with Ofir Arkin, CTO and cofounder of Insightix (http://www.insightix.com), who explained the company's network-discovery product, DID Collector.The product provides real-time, continuous network discovery and visibility, delivering a detailed inventory about every network element, along with a dynamic graphical-topology map."Most discovery tools available in today's IT environment,"Arkin said,"offer incomplete discovery of assets with slow, intrusive processes that don't occur in real time." In contrast, with its combination of active and passive discovery methods, DID Collector overcomes the limitations of existing discovery tools, which provide a "guesstimate" of currently connected network elements and topology. DID Collector unobtrusively discovers all network elements, even those beyond firewalls, and maps a complete topology of the network infrastructure."With DID Collector, you can accomplish routine asset- and configuration-management tasks in minutes, and get results that are complete and updateable at any time," Arkin said. Impressively, DID Collector's installation time is less than 1 hour.

MRC's Application-Development Solution


MRC (http://www.mrc-productivity.com) has solved a universal problem: how to get information to business users in the form they need it, when they need it. The company originally served a strictly IBM–based clientele but branched out when it realized that all businesses face the same challenges in creating applications that deliver information to users, says MRC Marketing Director Heather Gately. The company's latest offering, m-Power, is an application-development product that creates a variety of Java-based applications, including interactive Web reports, calendar applications, graphic reports, and multiple record searches. The product addresses the needs of busy IT professionals who must deliver information to decision makers. According to Gately, many of MRC's newer clients get the product so that they can build executive dashboards and interactive calendars that work with their larger systems.

At a starting price of $28,800,the product might seem out of reach for limited-budget companies; however, companies that don't have the means for a development staff—or whose IT staff is already stretched thin—can leverage the flexibility the product provides. Developers don't have to know Java or any development language to create applications that address the specific needs of their business users. You can test-drive m-Power by using MRC's online lab demo at http://www.mrconlinelab.com.

Behind-the-Scenes Automatic Defragmentation


In celebration of its 10th year of providing Windows defragmentation solutions, Diskeeper (http://www.diskeeper.com) added new capabilities to its self-named defragmentation product. Senior Technical Engineer Howard Butler explained that Diskeeper 10 uses Intelligent File Access Acceleration Sequencing Technology (IFAAST) to accelerate application loading and data access and find the "sweet spots"—the best areas on your disk drive to put frequently used files for the quickest access. By using a self-learning algorithm, the product determines how often to schedule defragmentation and provides "just-in-time" defragging. According to Howard, the Set It and Forget It feature "allows daily defragmentation to be completely automatic and invisible to the user and frees users from having to manually maintain their systems." Diskeeper uses the lowest CPU priority and runs in the background, so it doesn't tie up system resources in even the busiest environment. Other improvements include a faster defragmentation engine, background operation, more intelligent drive access monitoring, and an improved UI. The new version also adds support for 64-bit OSs in the Professional, Server Standard, and Server Enterprise Editions.

Oracle Monitors and Develops in Mixed Environments

For DBAs in heterogeneous shops, monitoring the database environment is a complex challenge. Fortunately, Oracle (http://www.oracle.com) and Microsoft recognize the importance of helping their customers work efficiently, regardless of their database systems' makeup. In a recent conversation with Preeti Somal, Oracle senior director of systems management products, we learned that Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 2 includes seven new plug-ins that give Oracle Grid Control monitoring,service-level management, and diagnostic capabilities for the .NET Framework and Windows Server System. The Microsoft SQL Server Plug-In takes advantage of raw metrics in Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to provide Oracle DBAs with useable information about the performance of their SQL Servers. By adding monitoring for their Microsoft products, Oracle customers can make better use of Oracle features in their environments. In addition, Alex Keh, principal product manager at Oracle, explained how Oracle is supporting system integration from the development side. His group produces three developer products—Oracle Data Provider for .NET, the Oracle Plug-In for Visual Studio, and the .NET Stored Procedure Engine—that help developers create .NET applications that talk to Oracle databases.