WiseManager, The Solution
Comprehensive Management of Computing Services
As the PC emerged on the business desktops across the world, it was quickly recognized as double edged sword. On one side, these computers offer the promise of increases in productivity, greater control of information, improved communication, in some areas PCs held the promise significantly lower costs to accomplish a given set of activities.
On the other side, PCs had to be managed. Entire organizations had to be created to support an increased volume of equipment and users. As the number of users increased, networks increased in volume and complexity and these had to be managed. Over time, software increased and diversified including various levels and versions of operating systems, utility programs, and applications. These had to be managed.
Then there were the users. Many business users cannot be described as having strong technical skills. In fact, most of these users do not want to acquire technical skills. They simply want to use the computer execute the business activities required to do their job. They want the PC to be a cooperative and compliant tool for their use. They need access to specific applications, databases, and network connections. These users have great difficulty taking simple corrective actions when some part of the computing environment fails. And these users need to managed, too.
The Problem: Managing the complex computing environment, hardware, software, and users. And this problem is experienced by computing environments of every size, from several workstations to several thousand workstations. It's just a matter of degree.
Serenity Systems has developed a computing model to address The Problem. The solution implements a Managed Client workstation which delivers on the promise of the PC as a business tool. A combination of software and hardware, the Managed Client is simple and technically elegant.
These characteristics provide users with a straightforward desktop system that is more reliable and, therefore, more available. The number and type of failures which can occur are significantly reduced while the corrective actions are enhanced. And with these improvements comes the ability to manage client systems, software, and users more completely than ever before while greatly reducing the complexity associated with these management tasks.
A key part of the Managed Client implementation is the WiseManager product. In October of 1998, WiseManager was previewed at a computer conference in Chicago. A southern California user group published an article about the product, focusing on one of the important tasks made simple by WiseManager, installing software for users. Here is an excerpt of that text:
- Rolling out a new software release to dozens or hundreds of desktops is a major task. You can tell all your users to download the release from your server and cross your fingers. You can deploy your entire staff to the various corporate departments that need the installs, and leave the phone off-hook all day.
- Or you can put the package on one server, set up multiple profiles so each user has their own set of files, create a "general" profile for the 80% of files that never change such as .EXE, .DLL and .INF so you don't need disk space to store them multiple times, and have the new software installed on every client desktop around the world in a matter of minutes.
- Peter Skye
Using WiseManager accomplishes such tasks with a simple drag and drop by the adminisrator. Significantly, that drag and drop can be executed from an authorized workstation accessing the server through any type of connection, even remote locations dialing into the server. These capabilities solve real business problems while attacking the most significant expenses associated with cost of business computing.
To better understand the ease of use and value of WiseManager, here are the steps used to execute the function mentioned by Peter Skye, starting with adding a new machine to the network.
Click on the thumbnails to view the full-sized image.
When opened, WiseManager provides the user with the ability to create workgroups which reflect the organization. Each workgroup is populated with the appropriate workstations, creating an infrastructure which makes it simple access and manage workstations throughout the network.
So, let's follow the steps which would be required of the adminstrator who needs to create a new client system. Using WiseManager, the administrator can create this client system, including creating a desktop and associating it with applications, in a few moments. All done with simple entries into menus and drag and drop operations. In this example, we will create a new workstation in the Accounts Receivable department by double clicking on that workgroup.
Here, in the Configure Group menu, the administrator can see there are four workstations in Accounts Receivable. To create a new workstation, the administrator clicks on the Machine Display button.
Now the administrator can create a new client system by identifying some unique information about the workstation and associating the workstation with a workgroup or department. This menu can be set up to provide administrators with a set of default values, making the process easier, faster, and more meaningful to the organization.
Once the application has received the appropriate information, WiseManager checks the existing client systems to determine if this is an existing system. If it does not find a system which matches the entries, it invites the adminstrator to create a new Managed Client.
If the administrator has selected OK to creating the new Managed Client, the server requires verification that the user is authorized to continue.
After authority has been verified by the system, WiseManager creates a profile for the new Managed Client. Using predefined default values, the administrator may simply verify the entries and execute.
The administrator is shown a graphical indication of the completed process, which generally takes less than 30 seconds.
Then the administrator is shown a machine creation confirmation, if any errors were recorded, and the files updated.
Now that the Managed Client system has been created, a process which took only moments, the administrator needs to create a desktop for the user, providing access to the appropriate applications. The administrator can go to the Applications screen and set up folders for application groups. These can be organized by application type, or by user group, such as Marketing Department.
To create a desktop for the user, simply drag an application icon from the left side of this screen and drop it on the right side. This is all that is required to add the application to the user's desktop. This could be a single application or a folder containing a group of applications. At the same time, applications can be "dropped" on a single user or a group of users. Using WiseManager, it is possible to create a desktop with a set of applications and "install" it, make it accessible, to a group of users across a network, with one drag and drop.
Nothing could be easier, faster, or less costly to the organization.
Bringing More Value, Performing Day to Day Operations
The activities described above are some of the most difficult, time consuming, and expensive support activities associated with the business computing environment. And WiseManager demonstrates how easy it can be for an administrator to set up workgroups and workstations. Then, drag and drop actions can be used to put applications on the desktop for the users. All these activities can be done from any workstation by an authorized administrator. Even workstations which dial in to the server.
And all aspects of the user and software management can be executed from the server with WiseManager. This allows the Managed Client to be updated at the server, and the updated software flows to the users at their next log on. Extremely easy and inexpensive procedures keep the user community current. This capability also makes it easy to correct errors resulting from corrupt files, deleted icons, or similar mishaps.
WiseManager and the Managed Client implementation provide a more reliable network. Eliminating many causes of previous workstation failures greatly reducing the time needed to correct many others. This means the workstations are more available and that means workers can be more productive. All these things drive down the cost of computing environment at a time when other computing models are experiencing greater costs.