For many InterWorx users, servers are their business and their livelihood. They depend on on them to be in peak operating condition every day of every week. Of course, technology being what it is, 100% uptime isn’t on the cards: hardware fails, complex software systems go awry, and people make mistakes. If we can’t rely on perfection in our hardware and software, the next best thing is to know exactly what’s happening with our machines so that we can put it right when something inevitably goes wrong.
We initially created InterWorx to solve our own server administration problems, so we know what can go wrong with servers and what server administrators need to be kept informed of. We also know that they don’t want to hunt through layers of abstruse menu items to discover information that should be available to them immediately.
The InterWorx web interface is designed to provide just the sort of intuitive usability that system administrators need. In this article, I’d like to take a look at two of the ways InterWorx helps system administrators keep track of their servers, and briefly compare those InterWorx features to offerings from cPanel and Parallels Plesk.
System Health Monitors And Problem Detectors
InterWorx problem detectors are a configurable notification system that monitors key aspects of server health and send notifications to selected users.
Each problem detector is fully configurable, with finely grained notification preferences and the ability to choose which users receive notifications by email and if a banner notification is displayed in the interface.
Problem detectors are the first line of defense against the sort of potential problems that can cause a headache for system administrators. An obvious example is the SSL expiry detectors. SSL certificate expiries are easy to overlook but if a certificate expires, browsers will start to display security warnings to users, which can create support issues and damage a site’s reputation.
Neither cPanel or DirectAdmin have a system analogous to InterWorx problem detectors.
In addition to the sort of intermittent issues that problem detectors are intended to help with, it’s important that administrators are able to get a comprehensive overview of the health of their server.
InterWorx system graphs display comprehensive real time metrics for server and service performance levels that cover the web server, FTP server, MySQL server, mail server, system resources, and network resources.
cPanel, Plesk, and DirectAdmin have limited graphical usage statistics, but nothing with the coverage and depth that InterWorx provides, and with their arcane information management, you’d be hard pressed to find what they do offer.