Product Review: New Features in Robot/NETWORK PDF Print E-mail
Application Software - General
Written by Chuck Losinski   
Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00





6455 City West Parkway, Eden Prairie, MN, USA, 55344

Help/Systems develops, markets, and supports automated operations and business intelligence software for the IBM System i. We devote 100% of our research and development to operations automation and business intelligence for System i computers, so we always will be here for the System i user.


There's a new web interface in town, and it's up and running on Robot/NETWORK. View your IBM i performance stats and Robot product metrics in the palm of your hand. Take your GUI to go.


The new web interface for Robot/NETWORK is a browser-based tool that uses the HelpSystems Web Server to help you access system performance data for your network of IBM i systems collected through Robot/NETWORK from any laptop, tablet, or smartphone. You can also work in the Robot/NETWORK Status Center to see and respond to messages and other events that have been escalated to the Robot/NETWORK host system.


The architecture of Robot/NETWORK Web UI uses a "responsive design" so that it adjusts its display based on the hardware technology you are using (see Figure 1). It effectively replaces the Robot/NETWORK Status Center and Performance Center in the thick client GUI and allows you to access system information using bookmarked links in your favorite browser—so it's not an app that needs to be installed on Android or Apple devices.

Complete IBM i Network Control that you can monitor and manage from anywhere!

Figure 1: Robot/NETWORK Web UI displayed in a browser, on an iPad, and on an iPhone.


There are no Robot/NETWORK IBM i component updates required for the new web interface. All you need is Robot/NETWORK v11 software installed, configured, and running on your IBM i systems. A typical configuration of the HelpSystems Web Server will see it installed inside your firewall on an appropriate Windows or AIX/Linux server on the same network as your IBM i. Then, to access the data on a mobile device, you'll either connect to your network internally using a Wi-Fi connection or externally via a VPN connection. Yes, you can use a VPN client on your tablets and smartphones. Talk to your network administrator to plan for appropriate server resources and mobile access.



Robot/NETWORK Web UI features a number of available dashboard widgets. You can choose the column formatting and whether you'd like the dashboard to be shared with others (Figure 2). After saving the format, you'll be prompted to choose the widgets you'd like to view in the dashboard.


Product Review: New Features in Robot/NETWORK

Figure 2: Format and customize Robot/NETWORK Web UI dashboard displays.


You may choose widgets that display the most current performance metrics collected, performance history, and/or Robot product metrics. The Robot/NETWORK Status Center is also available in widget format, allowing an easy way to see all the important information about your systems in a single glance. Figure 3 is a sampling of the available dashboard widgets:


Product Review: New Features in Robot/NETWORK

Figure 3: Select from many widget options in Robot/NETWORK Web UI.


You can configure your dashboards for automatic refresh, sorting, filtering, graph type, and amount of historical information to display so you get just the information you need (see Figure 4). A new feature of this interface allows you to select your preferred systems to be included in the widget display.


Product Review: New Features in Robot/NETWORK

Figure 4: Robot/NETWORK Web UI dashboard widgets display your latest data center information.


The performance metrics widgets also have drill-down capability so you can see the details behind the graph to review the individually collected performance statistics (i.e., system status, memory pools, or disk units) for any of the IBM i systems in your network (see Figure 5).


Product Review: New Features in Robot/NETWORK

Figure 5: Performance details for system status, memory pools, or disk units.


Status Center

The web Status Center has all the same features of the GUI Status Center to allow further escalation, reply, acknowledgement, notes, and status assignment. A new feature included in the web Status Center is the ability to group escalated status messages. Statuses are grouped when the text, node system, and product are all identical (see Figure 6). This makes it easy to see recurring events and allows all status messages to be acknowledged at the same time!


Product Review: New Features in Robot/NETWORK

Figure 6: Grouped status display in Robot/NETWORK Web UI.


The HelpSystems Web Server is available for download free from our website to anyone licensed to Robot/NETWORK. For folks not yet using the product, you can try Robot/NETWORK free for 30 days and take advantage of full product support.


Wondering what the future holds for the HelpSystems Web Server? Plan on seeing a new web interface for our flagship product, Robot/SCHEDULE, in the coming months, followed by Robot/CONSOLE!


Chuck Losinski
About the Author:

Chuck Losinski is Director of Automation Technology for the Robot product line. He has more than 25 years of experience with IBM i systems. Chuck¹s background includes system implementation, programming, operations, and support. He is certified as an IBM System Administrator and has helped customers automate business applications from InFor, JDE Enterprise One, HBOC, RxClaim, Infinium, Jack Henry, and more.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 May 2014 11:20
User Rating: / 0