Instant Messaging: Understanding it's value in the network monitoring environment today and tomorrow.


Even the most sophisticated network monitoring strategy has no value if it does not offer flexibility when it comes to transmitting alerts to human beings who can respond to any threat or emergency. That's why Servers Alive offers a variety of alarm notification methods including:

  • SMTP mail
  • Cellular phone via SMS
  • Paging via SMPP or SNPP
  • NotePager
  • Instant Messaging alert via ICQ, MSN, AIM, Jabber, Google Talk, or any XMPP-compatible application.

While cell phone and pagers are often the preferred notification devices for reaching network personnel after hours or when they are in the field, instant messaging notifications can be a real advantage whenever responsible personnel are on the Internet no matter if they are working within the enterprise, using their internet-connected PDAs, or surfing from their home.

When a network monitor application like Servers Alive receives an alarm for any monitored event, it can access an instant messenger "buddy lists" and instantly broadcast that event to an unlimited number of authorized personnel without having to access the cellular or PSTN and without concern for bounced or missed e-mail. Instant messengers are called "instant" for a reason.

Instant Messaging applications like ICQ, MSN, AIM, Jabber and Google Talk are so common that it is unlikely that any of your staff does not already have one or more of the applications installed on every internet-connected device that they use.

As an added advantage, all of these instant messaging tools are free to acquire and use, so it's a simple matter for an organization to standardize on one of them and make that instant messenger available to all authorized personnel. That way there is no need to manage multiple technologies and notification lists for each instant messenger application in use.

Because Server Alive supports network monitoring alarm notification using the XMPP protocol, an organization's IT teams could use XMPP to add instant messaging capabilities to their legacy help desk application or any other application, and add those users to the "buddy list" for emergency network monitor alerts.

This serves to extend the reach of the network monitoring notification capabilities by potentially making the receipt of alarm notifications available across a wide range of application users.

The Jabber/XMPP protocols have been continually refined through the open design process since it they were first introduced in 1999. The Internet Engineering Task Force IETF) ETF approved the base protocols in October 2004 as RFCs 3920 and 3921 under the name Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP).

This has raised the visibility of Instant Messaging as an accepted communication tool for network monitoring purposes. Servers Alive was one of the first network monitor software developers to see the value inherent in XMPP support and include it in their product line.

One of the additional advantages of using instant messaging as part of your network monitoring strategy comes from the fact that some instant messenger clients have the ability to forward inbound messages to the user's cell phone if they are away from their computer and not logged in to the instant messenger client.

While most of today's instant messaging strategies involve one-on-one or one-to-many text-based broadcasting, the continual evolvement of the XMPP protocols, as well as new technology that's in the works, could raise the visibility of instant messaging to an entirely new level in the near future.

Instant messaging industry experts predict that the appearance of "smart" instant messaging applications are just around the corner.

This new generation of instant messaging will revolutionize the network monitoring industry by employing technology that will involve sending "smart" messages that are capable of instantly tracking their recipients down no matter where they are including at home or at work, and communicating with them through as assortment of devices including the television set in their home or the GPS in their car. Tomorrow's instant messaging platform will be capable of transmitting voice, text, data and even real-time images.

And when that technology is available, rest assured that it will be available in the Servers Alive network monitoring software. At Servers Alive we're committed to providing the latest network security monitoring tools and delivering leading edge solutions to you every day. The next generation of instant messaging notification tools is already on our drawing board. Soon it will be on your server.

For more information about Servers Alive or to see how you can easily set up a world-class network monitoring solution without breaking the budget, visit http://www.woodstone.nu/salive today.

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