Letters to Redmond

Readers Respond: September 2005

Linux is on the loose with the Redmond audience; Argent writes in to clear up details about its product.

Make Room for Linux!
In "Make Room for Linux Apps" (August 2005), Jeremy Moskowitz states: "My testing shows serious formatting issues with moderately complex Word docs (like a resume) and moderately complex PowerPoint files."

News flash: You can show serious formatting issues if you open moderately complex Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents with another version of Word or Microsoft. Heck, it's even possible to create a file that only displays properly on the system that created it. From my testing—and I've done a lot of it—OpenOffice is as compatible with Microsoft Office as Microsoft Office versions are with each other.

OpenOffice [OO], by the way, is a great rescue app for Microsoft Word—when a file refuses to load, load in OO, save as OO Format, reload and save back as .DOC and it usually clears the hex.

OO is also a great cruft remover for Excel: .XLS files I loaded into OO, saved as OO format, then reloaded and saved back as .XLS were noticeably smaller.
Tsu Dho Nimh
Phoenix, Ariz.

That's a fair statement, but not what we're setting out to test. If people get truly committed to OpenOffice, then OpenOffice has to be truly committed to 100 percent conversion—from all versions of Office then, if that's what's required.

I have heard of this magic with .XLS files, and it is interesting to note.
Jeremy Moskowitz

I have found that running XP in VMware on Ubuntu Linux to be a better solution than running Linux on Windows. I'm never afraid of getting a worm, adware or a virus when running this way. I can also protect XP using the much better firewall provided in Linux when I'm attached to a (wireless) network with unknown security. I can also replicate virtual copies of XP to perform tasks that might be suspect, plus create vertical Linux environments for the same reason.
Mike McGinty
San Diego, Calif.

As a person who implemented method No. 4, "Emulate a Linux Environment," I agree with Jeremy's statement that it's "clunky" to set up, but I did pick it for one reason: speed.

My system is coLinux with Gentoo. coLinux is basically a modified Linux kernel where VirtualPC emulates a PC at the "bare metal" level (BIOS start up and all). In speed terms, coLinux does better, as it doesn't have to emulate everything in a PC. Also, coLinux doesn't suffer from clock skew, where the time on the emulated system gets further and further out of sync with the time on the main system.

For Gentoo, the speed advantage is that the entire system can be configured to use the features of your processor rather than using a generic processor level defined by the distribution.
Mark Felt
Eugene, Ore.

Agent-Optional Architecture
In response to the Redmond Roundup in the May 2005 issue ("Keep an Eye on Those Servers"), Argent would like to clarify several points. First, we do not want your readers to think that it exclusively uses an agentless architecture. It's more accurate to call it "agent-optional." We like to give our customers in-depth monitoring—with or without agents—depending on their needs or preference.

MOM 2005 does have agentless monitoring, but it's limited to status monitoring without agents and can only monitor 10 servers without agents. Argent Guardian can monitor your servers without agents remotely or with agents.

Furthermore, you do not lose any functionality by not installing agents. We have customers like One Beacon Insurance that monitors more than 200 servers with only two Argent Guardian "engines" installed.

In addition to supporting several databases as stated in the roundup, you don't need a dedicated SQL Server to operate Argent Guardian because it works with your current database system.

We feel the Redmond Rating for installation and deployment should have been higher because you can literally be up and fully monitoring the same day, without any scripting. Argent's Rapid Deployment program allows customers to be up and running with their production monitoring system in a matter of days.

Everything you need to start monitoring your servers—regardless of operating system or application—comes ready out of the box with no third-party add-ons required. Our 30-day trial version is not a lighter, less-capable version. It is a fully operational product that gives customers a true sense of what Argent can do.
Peter Fil
Argent Software Inc.

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