Retooling your Web site: Page 2

Posted December 1, 1999

David Strom

David Strom

(Page 2 of 3)

There are several tools to help you monitor these tasks (see table, "Web management technologies"). If you are running NT servers, perhaps the best product is App Manager Suite from NetIQ Corp. This software product contains three components:

  • First, is a series of software agents to monitor the particular service of interest, whether this is an Exchange server, SQL Server, IIS, or general NT services

  • Second, there is a management console that keeps track of the agent and the service and sends alerts

  • Finally, there are additional modules to communicate with the alert system, ranging from alphanumeric pagers to more sophisticated network management frameworks such as Computer Associates Inc.'s Unicenter TNG or Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView.

    Additional products include Sitescope from Freshwater Software Inc., which has similar monitoring components but also runs on a few different UNIX platforms in addition to NT. A different sort of product is ServerSitter from FastFocus Systems Inc. This takes the form of a special add-in adapter card that sits inside your NT server and monitors it constantly to ensure that it is running reliably. When the card detects the server has crashed or certain critical services have failed, it sends a signal to reboot the machine. Given that NT can be unstable under certain circumstances, an investment in this product seems prudent.

    Site load balancing

    But these tools still don't cover the entire management picture. You also need to handle peak load traffic to your site, and be able to understand how to calculate and anticipate these peak loads properly and how they will affect your various servers and systems. Perhaps the most complete service for this situation is provided by a company called, which will set up the appropriate servers, routers, and switches to ensure that your site will be able to satisfy the number of visitors and Web shoppers coming by, even at the busiest of times. The company has test tools to examine your Web storefront and monitor such things as response time, link integrity, and overall transaction throughput. While these services are expensive (typical prices are in the tens of thousands of dollars), if you are running an e-commerce site, you can't afford not to investigate them.

    Besides, there are a number of vendors that offer Web switchgear and ways to balance loads across multiple servers. These products are useful when you have multiple Web servers that make up a single site and want to distribute your visitors across these servers in an intelligent way, such as sending the next visitor to the least busy server or sending secure transactions (like payment and order processing) to a particular set of servers. These products are from companies such as Alteon Web Systems Inc., Foundry Networks Inc., iPivot (now owned by Intel Corp).

    To make use of these products, though, requires a fairly heavy investment in network infrastructure, often replacing existing routers and hubs with these products to obtain the switching features and intelligent load balancing offered. For example, to handle the increased traffic, you may have to upgrade your network to 100Mb Ethernet or install a switched Ethernet network, both of which will require expensive changes to your wiring, routers, and hubs. Again, any of these products are an investment in the tens of thousands of dollars.

    Site scanning

    Once you have set up your management system and collected the appropriate series of tools, you aren't completely finished: You still want to keep track of what others around the Net are saying about you in public. This could involve tracking down mentions of your company's brand names, corporate officers, or products, as well as the names and product names of your competitors or partners.

    There are two different and free services that I use, called CompanySleuth from Infonautics Corp. and's Tracerlock. Both scan a variety of data sources and Web sites and will send you periodic e-mail bulletins containing Web links that you can click on to obtain further information.

  • Page 2 of 3

    Previous Page
    1 2 3
    Next Page

    0 Comments (click to add your comment)
    Comment and Contribute


    (Maximum characters: 1200). You have characters left.