Reasonably priced and effective, HoundDog is the king of remote monitoring, although only of Windows servers.
Review Date: 6 Dec 2007
Reviewed By: Ian Parsons
Price when reviewed: per server, per month minimum
Although a product called HoundDog is asking to be subjected to any number of bad puns, this product is no dog. Using fully redundant secure servers, HoundDog's software can provide remote monitoring and management facilities for any number of Windows systems. Although primarily used to monitor server systems, the software can also keep an eye on ordinary PC systems that normally run unattended.
Since the system is web based, it can be used to monitor servers in any location. This isn't only useful where there are multiple server installations in different places, but also for companies that provide support for several clients' servers. Sadly, HoundDog supports only Windows servers at present, which limits its usefulness to some extent.
HoundDog can monitor a wide range of system attributes, such as CPU performance, disk space, antivirus signature files and event log entries. And when needed, it can generate an alert using both email and SMS messages.
It's also possible to monitor the current status of any system using the Dashboard display. This can be accessed from any location using Internet Explorer or Firefox. All communications between the managed servers and HoundDog's servers are encrypted using SSL.
Adding a system to HoundDog's list of monitored systems is easy. A simple software agent is installed, which then runs as a Windows service to monitor the system. You can't install the server-monitoring software remotely, but it's easy to download the correct agent from the central servers.
As long as the agent can make contact with the HoundDog servers, its system can be monitored. If a system fails to make contact or another monitored parameter exceeds its limits, the HoundDog servers will trigger an alert. The system's status is updated in the Dashboard display, and problem systems are easily identified. A simplified mini-dashboard is also available for use with any mobile phone. Unlike some other web-based monitoring systems such as SCO's HipCheck, HoundDog is completely contained on the server and needs no client software installed on a mobile phone. Although this means practically any mobile phone can be used, the mini-dashboard can be awkward to use on a phone without a keyboard. If the technician wants to use a laptop to deal with the alert, there will need to be an internet connection or Wi-Fi hotspot available.
The reporting system covers important information such as critical events, fault history and costs, and reports can be generated in various formats including PDF and CSV.
The system offers a remote access facility using Terminal Services, VNC or NetSupport Manager software. This allows a remote connection to the target system to be made via the HoundDog website, eliminating the need to open up ports in the firewall to get remote access to the server or local access.
Offering a web-based server-monitoring service for Microsoft Windows-based systems, HoundDog can manage widely separated servers from almost any location while keeping costs to a minimum.
Author: Ian Parsons
- Google to follow Apple with device encryption
- U2 and Apple working on "new music format"
- Ellison steps down: but who's really running Oracle now?
- Audioboo to become Audioboom in app revamp
- Apple slaps down Google and police, as it takes high ground on user privacy
- Amazon releases high-end Kindle Voyage Touch
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Virgin carpeted again for broadband speed claims
- Microsoft set to make more job cuts
- Sony warns of massive loss on smartphones
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6 (X or Shamu) release date, price and specs rumour roundup
- Best of IDF: top tech and memorable moments from Intel's tech show
- How Apple Pay works and how to use it on your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch
- Tech of the future... and the British boffins building it
- Abuse magnets: the people behind corporate Twitter accounts
- Putting people at the centre of software design
- How to use remote-access software
- Tech support horror stories
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office