Fort Monmouth help desk turns to Web for an assist

By the end of next year, an Army base will upgrade to the latest version of an asset management tool that will let IT administrators access the software via the Web.

Officials at Fort Monmouth, N.J., said the software, PatchView for the Enterprise Version 2.51, has been running on three software engineering center help desk computers for the past two years. The center's help desk will be upgrading to Version 3.0 under a $3,000 follow-on contract with Rit Technologies of Tel Aviv, Israel.

When users call the six-person help desk with computer troubles, PatchView automates the formerly manual process of identifying information about each user's location, PC and port connections.

PatchView shaves the process down to a five-minute database search, said Charles A. Jones, a senior engineer at the base.

The information is 'right at their fingertips,' Jones said. 'They love it.'

If the help desk employees can't fix the problem immediately or remotely, they then send an e-mail to the base's network administrators detailing the trouble.

The 2.51 version had to be loaded onto each help desk computer, but 3.0 is Web-based, which means employees log in and examine network issues remotely through any standard Web browser. More users will be able to access it simultaneously.

The PatchView management software, which originally cost the base about $37,000 to implement two years ago, is running under Microsoft Windows 2000 on Hewlett-Packard ProLiant 6000 servers.

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