Get to Know Those Nodes
LANutil Elite 5.1 is an efficient, effective hardware and software inventory program.
- By Sally Miller
So what do you want in an inventory tool for the hardware and software
on your network? How about easy installation, complete data and efficient
data transmission and storage? With these design points working in its
favor, LANutil is a tool worth considering.
LANutil Elite includes the LANutil Iventory product for hardware asset
management and software license management, along with a software distribution
component and a PC remote control product called PC-Duo. Vector Networks
also offers LANutil Inventory or PC-Duo separately, or in different combinations
with the software distribution component. For this review, I explored
the whole Elite package.
LANutil is extremely efficient, requiring very few resources to run the
console, house the database, run the client or even pass the inventory
data. The console system requires a mere 15MB of free disk space and runs
on Win9x, NT 4.0, or Windows 2000. The database requires only the ODBC
Drivers for Microsoft Access, though for a more robust database you can
also use Microsoft SQL Server 7 or Oracle (7 or 8). Not having to purchase
a special database engine makes the price easier to justify for a small
company. The client software requires only 3MB of free disk space; you
can run it on DOS 3.3 or higher, Windows 3.1, 9x, NT4.0 or Win2K.
LANutil’s console installation takes you through configuring the initial
database for your site. Once that’s finished, simply install the client
component and it pushes that node’s first inventory data, including hardware
and software inventories, to the console. The push sends data in pieces,
so it takes a few minutes to show up in the console, but this also prevents
the application from draining your network resources. When you view the
inventory at the console, you have the choice of publishing it to the
database or leaving it to be overwritten by the next inventory for that
node. You can also inventory non-networked systems via floppy disk.
The inventory seemed very complete. It picked up a lot of detail, including
the operating system version and serial number, all the disk capacities
and free space, the NIC model and configuration information, the display
type and even its current settings, as well as drive redirections and
network shares. Some of my software wasn’t detected, so I followed the
simple steps to use Package Database Editor for adding software to recognize.
LANutil provides software license management through License Groups that
you define, specifying computers that should have (or not have) software
installed. Then you run the License Group Analyzer, which compares the
license groups to the software inventory information in the database for
those nodes and displays the results. This way you can keep track of discrepancies
between your installed base and actual licenses.
PC-Duo for remote control works great. It has all the features I expected
and more. The drag-and-drop file transfer is easy. It also has an option
to synchronize directories. I configured the TCP/IP address manually,
but it has a browse option too. You can chat, send messages, send and
receive the contents of the clipboard and even enable audio communications.
The space in this review only permits me to scratch the surface of the
rich features in PC-Duo.
|The LANutil Console design provides the Groups, Nodes
and an intuitive Favorites panel.
If you need a PC-management tool, LANutil Elite has the features to do
the job. Along with inventory, license management, software distribution
and remote control, it also has a scheduling system to automate these
tasks. The great thing is, with an efficiency of software design, the
package doesn’t degrade your system or network performance.
Sally Miller, MCSE, is network administrator at a medium-sized manufacturing company with a distributed WAN. She hopes to upgrade her certification to Windows 2000 as experience permits.