capsule review

PageSentry 2.5

At a Glance
  • Maxum Development PageSentry 2.5

Webmasters often rely on customer complaints to tell them that the company home page is off the air. Maxum's PageSentry 2.5 watches your servers for you-from your office or from across the Internet-automatically notifying you by e-mail or alpha page when problems arise.

PageSentry is a small application that can run in the background of any Internet-connected Macintosh. It comes with a well-written user guide, online documentation, and some sample AppleScripts for use with pagers or remote power-control devices. You configure a list of probes–called sentries–that periodically test specific protocols on specified servers, and a list of people to notify by either e-mail, pager, or Apple event. PageSentry then quietly checks your servers for proper operation, emitting notifications when servers become unreachable or respond incorrectly, and then when they return to normal operation. A handy status display lets you see problems at a glance.

The program includes numerous perks. For example, you can probe servers using HTTP, FTP, SMTP, Telnet, AppleShare IP, DNS, and arbitrary TCP/IP streams and configure multiple notification techniques–e-mail, alpha paging, or AppleScript. Included are AppleScripts for Mark/Space Softworks' PageNow, Ex Machina's Notify, and Sophisticated Circuits' PowerKey Pro. The PowerKey AppleScript lets you automatically reboot a nearby server when PageNow finds it unresponsive. You can schedule and customize notifications to occur only during certain time periods, to automatically repeat, and to wait a predetermined interval before sounding the alarm. These features combine to make PageSentry easy to configure for even complex monitoring chores.

PageSentry has no obvious technical faults, and the affordable entry-level package lets you configure up to ten sentries and ten notifiers. Alas, the next-larger PageSentry package costs nearly three times as much, entering the range of full-fledged network monitors. However, although PageSentry performs some of the functions of a full-blown network monitor, its feature set is not as complete.

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Scheduled notifications
    • Periodic status summary
    • Multiple protocol support
    • AppleScript support

    Cons

    • Expensive for more than ten sentries
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