Mark H. Anbinder wrote about some network management packages at Macworld Expo last week, but didn't see GraceLAN (through no fault of his, Technology Works may not have shown up). We know about this program because Technology Works sent us a fully functional - for 30 days on ten Macs - demo copy to try out. We recently tried it on a friend's decent-sized network. Overall, we were pleased, though GraceLAN is not the PromiseLAN (that was actually the name of a networking scheme for the Atari ST).
GraceLAN is easy to install and operate, as it merely requires dropping the GraceLAN Responder in every System Folder and installing AppleTalk Phase II and the GraceLAN application on the administrator's Macintosh. Once you reboot the machines, running the GraceLAN application allows you to see a graphical display of the network, which was unfortunately not representative of the true layout, but merely separates the network by zones. GraceLAN lists all the Macs along with their System software versions, and double-clicking on a Mac in the list brings up an extensive profile of that Mac, including hardware types, INITs, DAs, other files in the System Folder, and applications. It even tells which INITs and programs are running and which are inactive. Another nice touch is that it will export selected data on the Macs to a text file, for later importation and analysis in a spreadsheet or database.
A friend who was helping said that GraceLAN wasn't displaying all of the information about the network because each network node (a Mac, for instance) can have a number of sockets, which are used by individual network peripherals or programs. GraceLAN always showed the network node, but would show only one named socket on that node. The fact that it only displayed named sockets was a problem as well, since not all sockets are named (this is hearsay - I'm not a network expert). Otherwise, GraceLAN performed well and is reasonably priced, unlike some of the other network administration programs. The $395 GraceLAN standard package works with 50 users, and can be upgraded to another 50 users for $195. If you have lots and lots of Macs, they have a Corporate package for $995 that works with an unlimited number of Macs.
Technology Works -- 800/688-7466 -- 512/794-8533
Technology Works propaganda
InfoWorld -- 26-Nov-90, Vol. 12, #1, pg. 36
PC WEEK -- 17-Dec-90, Vol. 7, pg. 50