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This news area has been renamed 'WhyLinux' in order to broaden the scope of information being made available to you. If you are a Linux/Open Source user, please send the webmaster letters telling us why you chose Linux. For those of you who are here because you wonder what all the Linux fuss is about - read on.

The following item was sent to me by a LOSUR member:

Well, where I work, we use NetSaint to keep the Microsoft machines running. It is set up so that when something goes down, NetSaint tries some remote auto-recovery. If that fails, it tries to boot the machine to fix the problem. If the problem still isn't solved NetSaint is set to page the SysAdmin.

We basically have an event handler that is activated when one of the services that NetSaint monitors fails. It sends commands to a small, custom Perl applet running on each of the Windows servers. For instance, ASP will periodically (often several times daily) stop functioning properly on our web servers. Once NetSaint detects a problem, the event handler sends a remote command over the network to the applet to kill and restart the HTTP daemon. If NetSaint still detects the problem, another command is sent to reboot the server. If there is sill a problem, the Sysadmins are paged.

Before NetSaint, the servers could be down all night, or even all weekend, before we'd notice that something had gone wrong (which is something our customers didn't like at all). The telephone would ring off the hook at the tech support office. Now, there are days where the telephone rings only a few times daily -- all due to the fact that NetSaint is taking care of the repeat troubleshooting.