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Tools improve Windows view

New products from companies such as BMC and LANart, debuting this week, let network managers get a handle on Windows-based networks.

Networking companies are debuting new tools this week to take advantage of Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems.

New software from BMC Software, LANart, and LANovation are keyed on the ubiquitous platform to provide increased management functions that offer administrators a better view of their Windows 95 and NT-based networks.

Among the new management applications rolling out this week are:

  • a software plug-in for the Microsoft Explorer browser from BMC Software called the Patrol Pathfinder that allows an administrator to launch programs and find network elements using BMC agents. The new tool, available as an add-on for other BMC management applications, can offer an entire network view from a Web browser.

  • a tool for Hewlett-Packard's OpenView for Windows from a software company called LANart that uses SNMP (simple network management protocol) to monitor a variety of network hubs and switches. The application, dubbed Inspector, can remotely manage networking gear on a per-port basis and modify a network configuration. The software runs on all Windows platforms and costs $400.

  • support for Microsoft's forthcoming Active Directory, a feature of Windows NT 5.0, which is expected to ship in the first half of next year, from LANovation. The company, maker of a desktop management software tool called Escort, intends to leverage the directory technology to administer software configurations and upgrades to Windows PCs.

    A directory provides a central repository where all network elements can be located. Using a directory to distribute software has the potential to save time and money for IT organizations, because a software upgrade rollout can be launched from a central console through use of a directory.