I think it's time to have an upfront and honest conversation about SmartConsole and its long standing bugs and quirks. I am a long time consultant specializing in Check Point implementation, troubleshooting and management. Needless to say, I spend a good portion of everyday on SmartConsole across multiple clients and varying backend versions/configurations.
This list of issues in SmartConsole describe the long standing behavior and bugs that have been present in the application since its debut release through the most recent R81.20 releases. Basically, we are talking about these issues persisting for many years. In the back of my mind, I always thought these issues were well known and looked forward to the next release curing things. Never happened.
This post is not meant to be a session of complaints, but more designed to bring attention and credibility to the issues with the appropriate development team, in hope of resulting software fixes to better the product and make my life easier 😁 -- I believe these are issues experienced across the industry, and get shrugged off as "just the way it is". Most of us veterans have just become accustomed, and keep moving forward.
After a lot of thought and note taking, I have boiled it down to 6 major items:
- GOOFY LAUNCH - Most days, SmartConsole is straight forward. You enter your credentials on the initial window, it reaches out to the management server, authenticates and launches. But on some days, it gets stuck in a condition where you enter credentials, it cycles through the various status messages, says "Launching Application ..." and then just disappears/closes entirely. No error at all, just gone. Subsequent attempts are met with the same exact result (even after a clean OS boot). However, I have noticed that you can enter your credentials, click the PROCEED button and freeze on moving your mouse. When you don't move your mouse, it will launch. And, after you successfully get it launched, new attempts work no matter what, mouse movement or not. Very goofy,
- LOSS OF FLOW - Moving through the interface and clicking the general Install Policy button is usually met with a dialog box that asks you which gateways to install on (for policies with multiple installation targets). However, often you click the button, select the policy, wait for the dialog box for installation targets, and it never appears. If you click inside the SmartConsole application window, that dialog will suddenly appear and you can carry on. This is a minor quirk, but comes about often.
- OVERALL DELAYS - Many movements/actions within SmartConsole are met with lag and delay. The application is obviously conducting network/application requests behind the scene with the management servers. The delays are sometimes very minor, causing a quick windows blue circle spin. Other times quite major delays, where Windows actually dims the SmartConsole application window and deems it "Not Responding" and pops a window to terminate or wait. If you do click wait, it will come back 3-10 seconds later. This is sometimes tolerable, and other times infuriatingly annoying. The synchronous flow of backend requests vs UI response just creates a horrible experience along with slowing the workflow.
- VOLUME FATIGUE - SmartConsole is often connected to a management server for lengthy periods of time. Sometimes an entire day, sometimes multiple days. When you combine the time with a major volume of changes, SmartConsole often slows to a crawl on every operation, sometimes to the point of becoming useless. It usually requires an applicaton restart, and sometimes a complete OS restart to clear.
- MULTI DISPLAY - In a multi display environment, SmartConsole misbehaves in so many ways. It's almost like the development team made no code accommodations for Windows multi display integration. For example, shutting off monitors at the end of the day and turning those monitors back on in the morning will cause issues. Most of the time, the SmartConsole window will simply maximize (annoying, but mild). In some cases, it maximizes and ends up on a completely different monitor entirely. When this happens, you can continue to use SmartConsole, but SOME dialog windows will pop up in a ghost mode (outline, but transparent and no content). If you drag that ghost window (assuming you notice it) to another monitor, it will show itself and populate. And last, but not least, SmartConsole will sometimes decide to home itself to a display, but never ever show itself. If you explore and pay close attention, it can found, but has no actual window bar, like a minimized ghost, which requires a clever keyboard action to make it expand.
- NOT TOO FAST - If you start to become a power user in SmartConsole, you tend to move around quickly in the interface. But, some days this works against you, as when you double-click on an object and delay occurs, but no actual spinning circle or other indication. Naturally, this causes you to click on something again. In this scenario, SmartConsole delays a bit and just crashes.
→ CCSE, CCTE