Product Reviews

Inventory, Distribution, and More

LANUtil32 offers polished network management in an easy-to-use package.

Vector Network’s LANutil32 is a hardware/software inventory and software distribution tool that’s simple to install and a joy to use. In sharp contrast to other products with these capabilities, for example, Microsoft Systems Management Server, it’s easy to get LANutil32 up and running in an hour or less. This utility offers a wealth of options for monitoring the computers on your network and proactively managing them.

LANutil32 has a distributed architecture that relies on ODBC to connect to a database (Access, SQL Server, or Oracle). If you want, you can run the database, console, and scheduler on different computers. In fact, you can even connect multiple consoles to a single database, which opens the possibility of having multiple administrators share duties in a large organization. After you install the console and database on your server, a simple setup program with minimal user interaction installs the client on any Windows 95, 98, NT, or 2000 computer.

When you install the client, it automatically takes an inventory of the computer hardware and installed software and sends the results back to the central database. If you like, you can schedule periodic re-inventories of any part of this information. For example, you might want to monitor groups of computers once a week to check for unauthorized applications installed by end users. Or, you might generate nightly reports showing disk space usage across your entire network in order to act proactively to solve problems before drives fill up.

LANutil32 offers an extensive set of reports to sort out the equipment and applications on your network. You can customize reports or create new ones if the preconfigured reports don’t satisfy your needs. You can also use LANutil32 to distribute software across your network. To do this, you build packages based on silent installations from either InstallShield or Microsoft and identify the target machines.

Although LANutil32 doesn’t offer the same distributed multi-site management found in Microsoft SMS, it does work with SMS. You can set up LANutil32 to prepare its inventory information for submission to the SMS database when the SMS client runs. This allows the possibility of using LANutil32, with its easier learning curve, at one site, then moving up to full SMS for the enterprise.

LANutil32 provides an extensive set of reports to sort out network equipment and applications. If necessary, you can customize reports.

LANutil32 has many other features, including software licensing, integration with UltraBac backup, and integration with Vector Networks’ own PC-Duo remote control utility. All in all, it’s a well-designed, functional package for keeping track of diverse hardware and software on your network. For more information, visit Vector Networks’ Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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