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Tools seek to shave costs

New tools will address one of the hottest topics in the computing industry: cutting operational costs.

Tools set to debut this week will address one of the hottest topics in the computing industry: reducing administrative support costs.

New management and diagnostic software being delivered by McAfee (MCAF) and Hewlett-Packard (HWP) play into the "total cost of ownership" buzz that has gripped the industry and sent companies back to the drawing board to analyze the potential of stripped-down computers.

The introductions include:

  • new versions of McAfee's help desk software packages focusing on small, medium, and large businesses. The software, previously called Vycor Enterprise, have been renamed McAfee HelpDesk, now on version 3.2; McAfee ServiceDesk 2.1, Workgroup Edition; and McAfee ServiceDesk 2.1, Enterprise Edition.

  • a new desktop diagnostic tool from McAfee called PC Medic 97 for Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system.

  • a new PC management tool from HP called TopTools that will be bundled free of charge in all HP Vectra models.

    The new McAfee tools break out the functionality found in the enterprise version to address the market for help desk software in small and medium-sized businesses. Enhancements to the versions include help desk interface customization; integration of the PC Medic tool; integration with enterprise management software platforms such as Tivoli Systems; and use of McAfee's Enterprise ServiceCast software distribution "push" technology. The new features are intended to make it easy for an administrator to take over or reconfigure a desktop from his help desk console, if necessary.

    PC Medic 97 is a new diagnostic tool that can protect users from software crashes by intercepting a crash before it can occur and alerts a user to save his or her work. It also diagnoses the state of a PC in real time and takes advantage of "push" technology to deliver software upgrades and virus updates to the PC.

    The new McAfee help desk products will ship this spring. Pricing has not been set. PC Medic is available now and is priced at $65.

    Taking advantage of its size, HP will offer its TopTools for free with all Vectra PCs. The tool is based on the Desktop Management Task Forces's Desktop Management Interface 2.0 standard, which means an administrator can view information on any DMI-compliant PC. The tool offers a variety of remote control capabilities, as well as configuration management and security features.