MKS AlertCentre 2.04
MKS AlertCentre 2.04 is the latest version of this add-on for MKS
Toolkit which offers a complete solution for monitoring, alerting,
and corrective action automation.
For instructions on upgrading to MKS AlertCentre 2.04 from MKS
AlertCentre 2.02, see the
Upgrading From MKS
AlertCentre 2.02 section. Also, if you are installing MKS
AlertCentre 2.04 on Windows XP SP 2, see the
Installing on Windows
XP SP 2 section.
Additionally, AlertCentre 2.04 resolves problems in the MKS AlertCentre
2.03 release as well as earlier releases.
(see the Fixed Problems section for
MKS AlertCentre 2.03
As of release 2.03, MKS AlertCentre is now an add-on to MKS Toolkit.
Each AlertCentre monitoring station requires a copy of MKS Toolkit.
For instructions on upgrading to MKS AlertCentre 2.03 from MKS
AlertCentre 2.02, see the
Upgrading From MKS AlertCentre 2.02 section. Also, if you are
installing MKS AlertCentre 2.03 on Windows XP SP 2, see the
Installing on Windows
XP SP 2 section.
Additionally, AlertCentre 2.03 resolves problems in the MKS AlertCentre
2.0, 2.01 and 2.02 releases
(see the Fixed Problems section for
MKS AlertCentre 2.02
In addition to resolving problems in the MKS AlertCentre 2.0 and
(see the Fixed Problems section for
details), MKS AlertCentre 2.02 includes the following enhancements:
- AlertCentre Monitoring Station Monitor.
Lets you use MKS AlertCentre to watch (monitor) other monitoring
When any monitor on a watched station enters an error state, an error
is triggered on the watching station. This feature lets you create
a hierarchy of monitoring stations.
- Enhanced CPU, Disk, and Memory Utilization Monitors.
These monitors have been enhanced to use SNMP in conjunction with
RFC 1514 conformant tables (
hrProcessor). This lets you use these monitors to monitor
any Windows, Linux, or UNIX server running a RFC 1514 conformant
SNMP service and should, in general, improve the performance of
- Packaged Application Wizards Renamed.
Packaged Application Wizards have been renamed to Monitoring Solution
Wizards. This reflects the fact that MKS AlertCentre now includes
wizards for building monitoring solutions for devices and system
services as well as applications.
- New APC UPS Wizard.
This new wizard helps you set up monitors for APC UPS devices with
Network Management cards installed (see
This wizard creates a series of lower level monitors that combine
to give you the complete coverage needed to monitor battery use by the
UPS and let you know when the battery needs to be replaced.
- New Windows Server Wizard.
This new wizard lets you set up monitors for a Windows Server. It
is similar to the wizards for IIS, SQL, and Exchange, but instead of
setting up monitors for a specific application, it sets up monitors for
system services such as DFS, DNS, and DHCP.
- Support for IIS 6 on Windows Server 2003.
You can now install MKS AlertCentre to use IIS 6 on Windows Server
2003. To do so, you must have All unknown CGI extensions
enabled. You can enable this option in the IIS Manager under
- Improved Ping Monitor
MKS AlertCentre 2.02 now supports pinging multiple hosts
simultaneously. This increases the efficiency of ping monitors
(the single most used monitor), allowing you to have more of them
per Monitoring Station.
- Support for Monitoring Station Hosting on IIS on Workstation Class Machines.
The MKS AlertCentre installer now lets you install a Monitoring Station
in a virtual directory off the default site when using IIS. This lets
you use MKS AlertCentre with IIS on a Workstation class machine.
More information on virtual directories and the default site can be
found in the IIS online documentation.
- Improved Control Over Monitor Timeouts.
The system-wide timeout used in previous versions of MKS AlertCentre
has been replaced with per monitor timeout. This lets you configure
monitors specific to their individual needs, including specifying an
unlimited timeout (often used for jobs and web link integrity
- Updated MKS AlertCentre User Guide.
The online MKS AlertCentre User Guide (available from the
Start menu) has been updated to include the new features
added in both release 2.01 and 2.02.
MKS AlertCentre 2.01
In addition to resolving problems in the MKS AlertCentre 2.0 release
(see the Fixed Problems section for
details), MKS AlertCentre 2.01 also includes the following
- Monitors Now 30% Faster.
Due to improvements in the back end data gathering engine, monitors
in AlertCentre 2.01 run approximately 30% faster (that is, in about
two-thirds the time) than in AlertCentre 2.0. This, in turn, means that
you can run 30% more monitors on a schedule.
- New SNPP Pager Action.
A new SNPP (Simple Network Paging Protocol) pager action has been
added. This action allows you to send a text message directly to
a pager that supports SNPP.
MKS AlertCentre 2.0
MKS AlertCentre 2.0 is the second major release of this new
product from MKS which offers a complete solution for monitoring,
alerting and corrective action automation. This release includes
many new customer driven enhancements such as a new interface,
additional monitor types, and packaged application monitors. MKS
AlertCentre 2.0 also includes the latest version of
MKS Toolkit for System Administrators.
The Fixed Problems section discusses
the problems resolved in this release. The following section
discusses the specific enhancements in much greater detail.
New User Interface
The MKS AlertCentre interface has been completely redesigned to
take advantage of its web-based infrastructure.
- Status of Operations Console.
This new feature provides a classic-style console that makes
use of Red, Amber, and Green indicators, status pop-ups, and
customizable views to let you know instantly the status of all
network connections, system resources and
applications that are being monitored by AlertCentre.
- Easy Navigation.
The new AlertCentre toolbar gives you instant access to the Status Of
Operations, Monitors, Jobs, Actions, Schedules, Reports, and
Housekeeping areas of the product.
The toolbar also gives you information on the Monitoring Station and
instant notification to any available patches or updates for
- Critical Monitoring Station Information.
The status bar gives you memory and CPU usage for the
monitoring station so that
you can easily balance the monitoring loads on your system.
- Action Coverage Graphs.
New Action Coverage graphs give you at-a-glance information to insure
adequate coverage of all desired time periods for a given monitor.
New Monitor Types
MKS AlertCentre makes application and network monitoring easy
with these new monitor types:
- SNMP Monitors. The SNMP Monitor allows you to poll
any SNMP aware device, and accept inbound SNMP Traps should the
AlertCentre Monitoring Station be configured as the device's SNMP
Trap host. In the former case, the SNMP port on the device is
polled (using SNMPGet) on a schedule as with all AlertCentre Monitors.
In the latter case, the state testing is performed dynamically as
the trap is received, providing realtime alerts of critical SNMP
events. The success or failure of the monitor depends upon flexible
match logic, which is performed on either the trap data or the SNMPGet
data. (or both if you schedule and permit traps).
- Machine Share Monitors. A machine share
monitor checks that a shared directory is available. Share names are
automatically discovered once the machine is specified and an action
is triggered if the share does not exist or is not available.
- Incoming E-mail Monitors. An incoming mail
monitor uses the MKS Toolkit
pop3mail utilities to retrieve e-mail messages from an
IMAP or POP3 server and reports an error based on the exit code for
that utility. The monitor looks for a specific text string in
messages stored in the given account. Note that running an incoming
e-mail monitor does not result in messages being removed from a
mailbox on that server.
- Outgoing E-mail Monitors. An outgoing mail
monitor connects to an SMTP server uses the MKS Toolkit
smtpmail utility and sends an e-mail to the
specified account and reports an error based on the exit code
for that utility. The log and action result contain extra
diagnostics as output by the
-D option of
smtpmail. Note that running an outgoing e-mail
monitor results in a message being placed in a mailbox on that
server, so it probably should not be used to send mail to a live
- E-mail Monitors. An e-mail monitor is a
combination of the incoming and outgoing e-mail monitor types. It
monitors the complete cycle of sending and receiving e-mail messages.
- Directory Monitors. A directory monitor tests
for the existence of or change in, represented by directory size,
number of files in the directory, or directory modification, a given
directory and triggers actions according to the results of that query.
- File Monitors. A file monitor tests for the
existence of or change in, represented by file size or date stamp
changes, a given file and triggers actions according to the results
of that query.
- SSL Monitors. An SSL monitor tests for the
validity or expiration of certificates given when issuing a
particular HTTPS request. The monitor triggers an action if the
certificate has expired or expires in a specified timeframe or if the
certificate is not yet valid.
- Print Monitors. A print monitor uses the MKS
snmpwalk utility to test the status of a network
printer and trigger an action if a positive response is detected for
any or all of the following criteria:
- Low toner
- No toner
- Low paper
- Out of paper
- Door is open
- Paper jam
- Service requested
- Newsgroup Monitors. A newsgroup monitor uses
the MKS Toolkit
utilities to retrieve newsgroup postings from an NNTP server and
reports an error based on the exit code for those utilities.
The monitor looks for a specific text string in message postings
stored in the given newsgroup. Note that running a newsgroup e-mail
monitor does not result in messages being removed from a news server.
- Website Link Integrity Monitors. A web site
link integrity monitor traces an entire web tree from a given URL
recursively following all HREFs on the site to insure that there are
no broken links. You can also specify additional hosts to recurse
into, for example a web site and the attached web store. An action is
triggered if invalid URLs are found and a report of all broken links
is output by the monitor.
Packaged Application Monitoring
- Packaged Application Wizards.
Application Wizards are used to build many monitors at once centered
on a particular application (for example, Micorsoft Internet
Information Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, or Microsoft
SQL Server). Every time you run a wizard, a Monitor Group is created
and populated with monitors that you select. The result is complete
Statistical and Configuration Reports
- Uptime Reports.
Uptime reports give you information on the "Availability (that is,
% uptime)" of a
network resource or application for a given period of time.
- Status of Operations Reports.
The status of operations reports provide snapshot type information
detailing information such as the status at last runtime and any errors
or warnings that occurred for a given monitor.
- Monitor Log Reports.
Similar to the individual monitor run logs, this report shows
you status, dates and run output for all, or simply failures of any
- Configuration Reports.
Complete and detailed information on the schedules, actions,
and monitors set up on your monitoring stations.
Miscellaneous New Features
- Action Control.
AlertCentre now allows you to control how and when you want a given
action triggered. Easily define failure behavior, specific fire times,
temporary redirects, and pre and post actions events (for example, to
set up an environment, dial a RAS connection, or clean up after
- New SNMP Set Action Definition.
AlertCentre now givese you the ability to use SNMP SET requests to set
information on a network entity with Actions when monitor failures
- New Control a Service Action Definition.
AlertCentre now gives you the ability to directly control (start,
stop, restart) Windows services with Actions when monitor failures
are detected. This is useful in automating the corrective action of
various application type monitors.
- New SNMP OID Browser.
For any field that requires an object identifier (OID) you can now use
the new MIB tree browsing object to navigate and select that OID.
- New Command-line Corrective Action and Administrative Tools.
MKS AlertCentre includes the latest MKS Toolkit command line tools to
help automate corrective actions and facilitate additional
administrative tasks. Please refer to the release notes in the
documentation section of the MKS Toolkit Start menu
for more details.
New Features in Previous Releases
- New Features in MKS AlertCentre 1.1 (8.1):
Hardware and Software Requirements
- MKS Toolkit. As of MKS AlertCentre 2.03, a copy of the most
recent version of MKS Toolkit (including patches) is required for
each AlertCentre monitoring station. For information on current
releases and patches, see
- Processors. MKS AlertCentre runs on Windows systems with
Intel 32-bit and Intel 64-bit processors. A minimum CPU speed of
1 GHz is recommended.
Note: At time of writing, Service Pack 3 of MSDE (included with
MKS AlertCentre) does not install on the Itanium version of
Win64 (although it does install on the AMD version without error).
Until Microsoft provides a newer version of MSDE or a workaround,
MKS AlertCentre cannot be installed on an Itanium Win64 system.
If Microsoft does release a version of MSDE that works on Itanium
Win64, please contact
MKS Toolkit Customer Support.
- Windows NT 4.0 (Workstation or Server) with Service
- Windows 2000 (Professional, Server, or Advanced Server)
- Windows XP Professional
- Windows Server 2003
- AlertCentre is NOT supported on Windows 95/98/Me, Window
NT 4 Terminal Server, and Windows XP Home though you can
access the AlertCentre (HTML) Console from any supported
browser on these systems.
- Memory. Additional memory of 128 MB over operating system
requirements is recommended. Memory requirements vary depending on
the number of simultaneous monitors running and the frequency of
the polling interval.
- Hard Drive: A hard drive with a capacity of at least 30 GB
is recommended. The actual amount of disk space used depends upon the
the number of monitors and how long you keep logs before purging them.
- File System. You must install MKS AlertCentre on an NTFS
file system. This is for purposes of file security and impersonation.
- Infrastructure. You require a live network connection to
run MKS AlertCentre.
- Applications. You require the following software to run MKS
- Internet Explorer Version 4.0 or later (for Windows
The following browsers have been tested and are supported by
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5, 6.0
- Netscape 6.2, 7.0
- Mozilla 1.0.0, 1.1
- Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) AlertCentre has
been tested against Version 2.6, although earlier versions are
likely to work, 2.6 or later is recommended.
- The packaged Application Wizards require the following to
determine remote machine configuration:
- For NT 4 target machines (and monitoring startion):
WMI Redistributable Components version 1.0 currently
- For NT 4 monitoring station: ADSI 2.5 currently
- A monitoring station must have the IIS admin tools
installed for the Application Wizard for IIS Server to
automatically build monitors.
These tools are normally installed with IIS or Personal
Web Server. Or if both the server being monitored and
the monitoring station are Windows 2000 systems, you
can install these tools with the Windows 2000
Administration Tools Package for Windows 2000
Note: Monitoring stations running on Windows XP
systems cannot use this wizard to automatcally build
monitors for IIS Servers running on Windows NT systems.
Such monitors must be created manually.
- RFC 1514 conforming SNMP servers such as Windows SNMP or
Net-SNMP on Linux.
- Optional Microsoft Management Console (MMC) version 1.0
- Optional similarly configured machine as a replication
- Optional phone modem for contacting pagers.
Most versions of Windows 2000/XP/2003 come with Internet Explorer 4
(or later), MDAC, and MMC pre-installed. If these are not
installed, they are available on the MKS AlertCentre distribution
CD (in the redist directory) or can be downloaded from the Microsoft
web site. The installation of these components is not integrated
into the AlertCentre installer. The installer does, however, list all
the missing pieces. These pieces can then be installed from the MKS
AlertCentre CD (or the Microsoft web site) before resuming
the AlertCentre installation.
While not required, we recommend installing AlertCentre on a server
and using a dedicated machine for the primary monitoring station.
Installing MKS AlertCentre
Before installing AlertCentre, make sure that you have up-to-date
versions of the MDAC drivers installed. Sufficiently recent
versions of these drivers are provided in the
directory of the MKS AlertCentre distribution CD.
If you are installing from a CD, insert the MKS AlertCentre
distribution CD; the installer should start automatically. If you
are installing from an electronic distribution, run the self-extracting
As part of AlertCenter installation, the installer creates
three standard schedules, secures access to the configuration
console and the components, creates a local group called
AlertCentre Administrators, and creates an empty
configuration database ready to use the AlertCentre.
Once the installation of AlertCentre is complete, the
AlertCentre User Guide is available from the Start menu. Chapter
3 of this document, "Getting Started", gives complete
instructions for configuring AlertCentre and creating a simple
For step-by-step installation instructions for AlertCentre and
information on administrative and silent installations, see
Note: When performing an administrative installation of
MKS AlertCentre 2.03 or later, the MSDE directory may not be copied
to the administrative image created.
If the installer reports that a program
required to run for this install to be completed cannot be run,
manually copy the MSDE directory from the root of the installation
source (either CD or Web download) to the root of the administrative
Installing on Windows XP SP 2
If you are installing MKS AlertCentre on a system running Windows XP
Service Pack 2, you will need to perform some extra steps due to
the built-in firewall in that release of the operating system. Here
are the steps you should perform to correctly install this product:
- Start the MKS AlertCentre installer and let it install MSDE.
When the installer complains that MSDE is not installed, you may
need to reboot your system.
- Create a firewall exception for the MKS AlertCentre instance of
MS SQL as follows:
- Launch the Firewall control panel applet. The
Windows Firewall dialog appears.
- Click Add a Program on the Exceptions tab.
The Add Program dialog appears.
- Using the Browse button, locate the MKS AlertCenter
instance of MS SQL at
Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL$ALERTCENTRE\Binn\Sqlservr.exe.
Select this instance and click OK.
- Under Programs and Services, check the box next to the
name you selected in the previous step and click OK.
- Restart the MKS AlertCentre installer.
Upgrading From MKS AlertCentre 2.02
AlertCentre 2.02 came bundled with two copies of MKS Toolkit for System
Administrators, one for the primary monitoring station and one for the
backup monitoring station. If you are covered under an AlertCentre
2.02 PCS agreement and wish to upgrade to AlertCentre 2.03 or later,
you must first uninstall AlertCentre 2.02, then install a copy of
MKS Toolkit for System Administrators and finally, install the new
version of AlertCentre. This process preserves your AlertCentre
settings. Please contact your MKS support represenstative for details
of obtaining your replacement MKS Toolkit for System Administrators
Uninstalling MKS AlertCentre 2.x
To uninstall MKS AlertCentre, use the following procedure:
- From the Control Panel,
run Add/Remove Programs.
- Remove MKS AlertCentre 2.x.
You must reboot your system before reinstalling MKS AlertCentre.
The following known issues exist in MKS AlertCentre 2.0:
Currently, all monitors and file names used by AlertCentre must
contain only ASCII characters
With Netscape browsers, within the Status of Operations frame,
the monitor status pop-ups do not automatically close when the
mouse pointer is moved off the status light.
When reporting a problem, you need certain information
about your product, which you can find on the Support
Information of the MKS Toolkit Control Panel Applet.
Contact MKS customer support at:
Several problems were fixed in MKS AlertCentre 2.04.
These are listed at:
Fixed Problems in Previous Releases