Even the best-designed networks can have problems, and many of us are guilty of making a mistake or falling behind on our networking to-do list. Despite our best efforts, problems can occur, and network monitoring suites such as WhatsUp Gold help identify the little problems before they become big ones. Towards that end, Ipswitch has crammed in even more features and capabilities in to WhatsUp Gold v16 to give IT administrators complete visibility over the network.
Knowledge is power, and the detailed information available through the WhatsUp Gold dashboard gives administrators the tools they need to troubleshoot issues and identify potential problems before they occur. The latest version of WhatsUp Gold suite is a combination of several different types of network monitoring applications, making it easier to collect and view a wide range of data in a single well-designed interface.
We’ve looked at WhatsUp Gold before, the most recent being WhatsUp Gold v11 standard edition. Since then, Ipswitch has expanded the platform tremendously, making WhatsUp Gold version 16 a solid Editors’ Choice product for network monitoring. I tested WhatsUp Gold v16 Premium Edition on a mixed testbed which contained Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 machines, several Linux servers, and two network-attached storage boxes.
Pricing varies by software type. The entry level pricing for WhatsUp Gold Standard, which covers up to 25 devices, is priced at $1,595. For mid-sized enterprise environments, WhatsUp Gold Premium for up to 2,500 has a hefty $18,995 price tag. Larger enterprises can expect to pay over $100,000 for WhatsUp Gold Premium for up to 20,000 devices. For organizations with larger enterprises, Ipswitch offers custom pricing.
While the software package prefers to be installed on Windows Server, it’s possible to proceed on a different type of machine, but it will perform less optimally. I liked the fact that Ipswitch made allowances for non-server environments, as this would allow administrators to still use the software. The software installer takes care of installing SQL Server and IIS on the machine as part of the installation process. No need to install each component separately before even getting started. Advanced options are available for administrators who want to select an existing SQL Server instance and configure IIS. I skipped those tasks.
The software installer prompts the user to create a new server administrator password for the WHATSUP instance in the soon-to-be-installed SQL Server. However, the installer attempts to use the pre-defined password by default, which is not a good security move. Perhaps it was intended to simplify setup for SMB administrators, but I would have preferred setting a password to be the default, and using the pre-defined password as an option.
After installation, the WhatsUp Gold interface automatically launched in the Web browser, and I was prompted to finish the final configuration. I really liked how there were video tutorials embedded in the wizard windows for extra assistance. The wizard steps through setting up the notification process, selecting the network credentials to use when discovering devices on the network (including SSH, SNMP, ADO, etc).
My Windows devices had SNMP enabled, so I entered the SNMP credentials at this point so that WhatsUp Gold could collect additional data, such as looking inside the Windows Event Viewer, collecting installed software information, and other configuration data.
The initial network discovery was done as an IP scan. This was a good thing, because I’d forgotten that WhatsUp Gold grabs everything; I’d assumed my list of devices would have only the servers and laptops connected on my test network. Switches, routers, KVM devices, the firewall, and the NAS all showed up in the network discovery pane. I’d actually forgotten I had two KVMs on my network, so that was a nice surprise. If nothing else, running the network discovery would be a great way to find out exactly what you have running. If you are concerned employees are using unauthorized devices, network discovery would be the easiest way to find them all.
You can’t secure the network if you don’t know what you have.?
Next: Rundown of Features in WhatsUp Gold v16