Version 12.3 of WhatsUp Gold provides a good network monitoring platform, and the Layer 2 topology WhatsConnected plug-in makes setting up monitoring alerts simple. The network monitoring market is already crowded, but the WhatsUp Gold plug-ins introduced by Ipswitch make monitoring easier for network managers, and the ability to easily integrate further ones could give Ipswitch an advantage.
Plug-ins deliver better network device and service information.
Alerting for many out-of-bounds conditions can require a large amount of monitors to be set up.
£ 3,013 for Standard Edition; £4,188 Premium Edition
The Premium edition of Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold 12.3, launched in October but with several plug-ins added at regular intervals, helps IT managers to monitor networks and application performance in a package that's designed to be easy to install and manage.
However, configuration can be time consuming depending on how many devices or applications need to be monitored.
Three new plug-ins are now available for use in version 12.3, the first being WhatsUp Gold VoIP Monitor, which was launched before the 12.3 upgrade last June. This allows users with Cisco hardware running its Internetwork Operating System to use the IP service level agreement feature to assess a network's suitability to run VoIP, or to measure VoIP performance.
The plug-in provides mean opinion scoring (MOS), calculated planning impairment factor quality scoring as well as measurements of latency, jitter and packet loss. MOS threshold alerts are provided through an active Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) monitor.
The other two plug-ins are NetFlow Monitor, launched in October to take advantage of routing and traffic flow information provided by NetFlow-enabled network hardware, and a layer 2 topology WhatsConnected plug-in launched in December.
WhatsConnected takes layer 2 and layer 3 and can help IT managers visualise device connectivity down to port level, and then integrate that information with the main WhatsUp Gold package.
Version 12.3 now supports Windows Server 2008, Vista Ultimate and Vista Business. Vista can be used as a Windows management instrumentation monitored operating system, and as the actual monitoring workstation itself.
We installed the package on systems running Windows XP Professional and SQL Server, which took up the majority of the time. Customers can use the standard SQL Server Express or choose to connect to a running SQL Server database instance. We chose the Express install and within 10 minutes we could specify IP subnet ranges for the package to pick up the devices connected on our Labs test subnet.
Users can set up a web server to access WhatsUp Gold remotely, but we chose to access the device through a LogMeIn Pro service.
After opening firewall ports for specific protocols, and making sure that SNMP was running on workstations and other network hardware, we could use the 'discover devices' option to poll and discover our network devices. It correctly picked up our switches, servers, network-attached storage (NAS) device, wireless firewall router and wireless access point using a standard IP range scan. There are options to use an SNMP Smartscan, Network Neighbourhood scan or to import the local area network manager (LMhosts) file, which gives name resolution of the Windows NetBIOS host names to IP addresses.
After discovering all our devices, we could then set up the device dependencies and have alerts via email if devices go down or if specific parameters are out of defined bounds. Pager and SMS alerts can also be generated if a modem is connected.