Still haven't found what you're looking for? Consider IT management search technology

Simple and sophisticated search products can help with troubleshooting and management techniques that all IT managers will need, analysts say.

Companies such as Splunk, Hyper9 and layerX provide IT management data search capabilities that industry watchers say is gaining ground with IT managers looking to quickly gather meaningful data from distributed systems.

Google isn’t the only company famous for its search capabilities. IT management vendors such as Splunk, Hyper9 and layerX make log data residing across several systems and network devices accessible, meaningful and useful for IT managers tackling day-to-day duties and long-term projects.

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“Search as a general mechanism to identify issues has become popular in a short period of time, and I expect this type of technology will become an underlying element that many will apply in many management tools,” says David Williams, research vice president at Gartner.

Splunk entered the IT management market several years ago with a unique perspective on search. The company believed search technology could ease IT management tasks and built a business around being the “IT Search Company.” The Splunk software, available in free and commercial versions, searches for management data across logs, message queues, configuration files, SNMP traps and database transactions to more quickly correlate events that could be related to a failure -- and that network managers would typically have to search manually.

“Splunk got it started, but IT search is making a comeback,” Williams says.

Other vendors such as Hyper9, Paglo and now layerX with its free Punq tool joined the IT search camp and are making use of that data to troubleshoot short-term problems and diagnose the root cause of IT trends. With Paglo, for instance, IT managers can post questions to their search index such as, “How many Windows XP or Vista licenses are in the environment?” or “What applications does this end user access?” Paglo’s user interface allows IT managers to continue to refine the search as they go as well. And Hyper9 coupled virtual systems management with search to launch its flagship product last year.

And now layerX Technologies offers a free search tool, also with a unique name: punq. The free punq download, short for portable utility for network query, offers a rapid indexing technology that allows for fast searches.

"Punq offers the ability to gather huge amounts of data and try to make sense of it based on a time stamp. It is not an overly sophisticated technology, but if you know what information you need, this type of tool picks up loads of data and helps you make sense of it faster," Williams says.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.