Have you heard of ControlUp yet? Smart-X, its creator, has received a bit of press lately for it due to it's simple, unique approach to monitoring and management. I had a chance to meet with Yoni Avital and Asaf Ganot when I was at Citrix Synergy in Barcelona, and while Control-Up isn't going to be everything to everyone, it is a free monitoring tool with some snazzy features.
Like a lot of people, I'm likely to glaze over when it comes to monitoring apps. VMware's Kevin Goodman coined the term "YAM" a few years ago, which is a TLA (Three Letter Acronym) for "Yet Another Monitor". There are probably a dozen, if not more, monitoring solutions in the desktop virt space, and while some are very comprehensive (and complex), others are just dashboards that find new ways to display PerfMon counters. There are exceptionally powerful ones that use their own technology, but in many every-day situations, those solutions can be overkill.
ControlUp takes a different approach. As it is today, ControlUp runs entirely in memory. On the server side, the management console collects data from lightweight agents that have been pushed out to the clients using RPC. There's little impact on the client side, but since all of this is not cached or otherwise stored for later, the memory impact on the server side can be substantial. Nothing a typical box can't handle, mind you, but you're probably not going to roll this out in production on a Windows 7 VM with 1GB of memory.
What I like about ControlUp is the real time aggregate view of the organization's computers. It works on physical and virtual desktops, including both VDI and TS-based. From the management console, you can get sortable views of every single process running on monitored machines, sessions, accounts, and executables with process-specific and aggregate CPU and Memory information. From there, you can also dig into some of the more subtle features of ControlUp, all of which can be done on single or multiple machines at once, in real time:
- Group policy refresh
- Filterable event log aggregator
- Session screen shots (Check out the comments on this blog post from Citrix)
- Manage Windows services
- Copy files/folders
- Registry edits
- Remote Desktop Connection console to access multiple computers via RDP from one interface
- I'm not sure how well some of the features scale, especially when dealing with less-than-optimal networks. Things like file copies could be problematic, I think, but I could be wrong.
- Control-Up does require you to have an account on the Smart-X website to verify your license (even though it's free) and collect usage stats. It seems legit, but unnecessary.
- There is no offline way of using this as an ongoing monitoring solution. When you shut down the management console, all the info goes away.
- Smart-X is working on an enterprise version of Control-Up, so if you have ideas for features you think it should have (like offline use, database storage, etc…), let them know. Many features, like being able to turn off the desktop screenshot feature, have come from user requests.
For more info, check out the ControlUp website or watch some demos on their YouTube Channel. If it's not quite where you'd like it to be, get in touch with them and let them know how they can enhance the product. They seem more than willing to listen.