If you are a Sysadmin or an IT “jack of all trades” admin, then there is a good chance you are already familiar with DameWare.  However, for those not familiar with DameWare, I am going to spend time talking about the products and what they do.  I will apologize up front, this post is less technical than we traditionally do, but I wanted to make sure I let folks know about this change.

 

First off, I am pretty darn excited about adding these products to the family.   For those familiar with the history of SolarWinds, we got our start with Engineers Toolset as the main product aimed at providing network tools for network engineers and many of our other products have graduated from here, including NPM.  DameWare is like Engineers Toolset, but for folks performing Systems Administration management and tasks.

 

DameWare provide two primary products:

 
      
  1. NT Utilities
  2.    
  3. Mini Remote Control
 

Let’s first dig into NT Utilities in more depth.  The best way I can describe this is that NT Utilities is like a Swiss army knife for managing anything related to managing your systems. 

 
      
  • Remotely administer Windows servers and workstations
  •    
  • Manage Active Directory, users and groups, servers, and printers
  •    
  • A complete administration solution for Windows administrators that covers virtually any problems in administering Windows Server, Active Directory, or Exchange
  •    
  • Inventory and manage domains, workstations, disk drives, event logs, local groups, global groups, domain members, open files, printers, processes, properties, registry, services, sessions, shares, software, terminal services, users and many more
 

image

 

The other cool product is called MRC or Mini Remote Control, but don’t let the mini in the name fool you, this thing is packed with functionality.  You can find a list of the key features here, but in the conversations I have had with folks so far they ask me why this over using built in RDP?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
         

Mini Remote Control

      
        

MSFT RDP

      
Multi-monitor support        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports more than one active connection on WinXP        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports more than two active connections on Server 2000/2003        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Built in file transfer        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Supports Screen Sharing        

Yes

      
        

No

      
NAT Pass thru Support        

Yes

      
        

No

      
Audio Support        

Yes

      
        

Yes

      
Seamless Window        

Yes

      
        

Only Win2k8

      
IPv6 Support        

Yes

      
        

Yes

      
 

Vista2-P3

 

A next natural question is how do I use these products in conjunction with Orion, specifically APM?  There are tons of use cases, but let’s walk through a couple basic ones.

 
      
  1. You get an alert from Orion that a service is consuming a large chunk of memory on the server and you want to bounce or restart the service.  So instead of remoting into the server, you can quickly stop and start the service in NT Utilities.
  2.    
  3. An application is having connectivity problems to a database and thus the counters are not showing properly in Orion, you can remotely perform troubleshooting, including basic functions like executing ping or traceroute from that machine having connection issues
 

SysAdmins don’t just manage server most of the time, this also includes end user support.  I remember in my days of doing end user support, I would get a page in the middle of the night from a user and I didn’t have tools like this.  How many of you have situations like this occur?

 
      
  • Application X is broken, fix it.  99% of the time, it was a problem between the keyboard and the chair or pilot error, but I would have to get out of bed, get dressed and head upstairs only to find they had cap locks on or something else really basic they were doing wrong
  •    
  • I can’t print, the printer is broken.  I would look at the print spool and some crazy person was trying to print a 200 page document from the internet with tons of images and it was taking forever for the printer spool to process and prep
 

The list goes on and on.  With DameWare, I would have been able to remote connect to their machines and do things like screen sharing and have them show me exactly what they were doing and the problem without leaving my cabin.

   

You can read more about the products and download a fully featured evaluation from www.dameware.com.  Love to have folks who own it, give me feedback on what they would like to see going forward and same to those of you who don’t own it, try it out and let me know what you think.