HMS has four parts: management console, Web interface, agent and solutions studio. The management console is a standalone application, a place for the system administration of HMS. The Web interface, however, is where most of HMS's day-to-day management takes place. With the exception of remote installation, batch processing of reports and group management, the Web interface can handle any task related to the HMS system. The agent resides on monitored machines and reports information back to the Heroix server. The solutions studio creates custom monitoring solutions. If you can look past the awkward user-interface of the management console, you will enjoy HMS's ease of use and extensive features.
Installing and Using HMS
I installed HMS on a dual Pentium 600-MHz box with 512 MB of RAM at Network Computing's Real-World Labs at Syracuse University. After installing the solutions studio, management console, Web interface and agent, I was ready to deploy the HMS agent to other servers. HMS allows the remote installation of the agent through the management console, a nice feature. Agents can be deployed to other machines in your trusted domain or workgroup by providing domain name and administrator-level credentials of the target system. HMS then will deploy the agent and scan for programs to monitor. The agent does leave a big footprint--a 50-MB storage footprint and 38 MB of memory--but uses only one percent of CPU resources on each client.
You would think that doing a remote install of the agent would mean you want to monitor that machine, but you must also add the machine's name in the "managed computers" section of the management suite or Web interface. Once the server is in the management list, HMS is able to correctly identify common existing solutions that are running, such as IIS, Terminal Services, Active Directory and Windows Server.
Customizing predefined sensors or solutions is easy with HMS. I wanted to monitor our MS SQL 2000 Server running on our Solarwinds box. Because the MS SQL server was detected as running, the only configuration I had to change was when to schedule the sensors to check different facets of SQL server and the threshold under which to fire an SNMP alert. HMS has a wealth of options for sensor scheduling. Individual sensors can be set to check their part of the solution over a repeated interval, at certain time of the day, on certain days of the week/month and even months of the year.