PacketTrap gives enterprise 'Perspective'

PacketTrap, a leading company in enterprise network analytics, have created Perspective which allows any administrator to keep tabs on any network, node, server and appliance on the network, all in one simple view.
By Zack Whittaker, Contributor on
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The first screen you'll see - a nice easy start by entering in some basic account creation details, and your SMTP settings so you can turn on email notifications.

You can use any notifications you wish, and by using a public SMTP server or your own enterprise's SMTP, this'll ensure it won't be marked as spam.
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As you can see, within seconds of sending a test message, it'll appear in your inbox.

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Network discovery is essential in getting this software to work. Most computers will already use SNMP or have it enabled, but if it doesn't then you can still use network ping or an IP range.

Either way, it's easy to get started with all the help it gives you.
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Once the network discovery is complete, it'll show you a full spectrum of devices - which protocols each server/device responds to, the IP and DNS names, how long the ping was in milliseconds, and other information.

From here, you'll be able to select the different devices and servers you want. Often there are many network administrators, maybe taking a chunk of IP's at a time or specialists working on servers or routers alone. This makes it ideal to allow those who need to look at certain things to do their job without extra "faff".
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From here, you're given the option to create your own policies, or allow Perspective to create its own, depending on what type of hardware, software and server you are running.

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There are so many options here, but don't feel daunted by it all. It allows those with specific responsibilities to monitor specific things - whether it's a specific set of Exchange servers, all the ping latencies between servers and the network or disk volumes.

This makes it easy to customise your network perspective and allows you to pick and choose what you want to monitor.
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Here is where the real magic happens. These alerts allow you to pick a condition to look for, what it should do should it see that condition occurring, an escalating factor of if things are getting worse, and then a final resetting condition which once it hits that, it'll reset the alert.

You can set it to alert the administrator or anyone else in the organisation. You could even set multiple triggers - if disk usage gets too high and network usage is too low, something is obviously screwy and needs looking at.
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Similar to the other screen, but allows you to create a policy for servers alone.

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When creating your server policy, it's probably a good idea to check which servers should be covered by it. After all, with different branch offices, one administrator may wish to run things differently.

Not only that, it'll guide you through it and tell you if another server is covered by a different policy. Naturally, some servers control networking (DHCP or DNS) so they may want to come under remit of both policies.
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Here's another good example of the alert feature. If a network device on say, a DHCP server, isn't working, a simple way of temporarily fixing this may be just to reset the adapter.

Perspective doesn't allow you to just reset an adapter, so for automating purposes, restarting the server should fix this. If conditions are met, it'll restart the computer and using logic, it'll reset the alert once the network adapter is "NOT" down. Clever stuff really.
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When getting an alert through, it can appear to come from any email address. It'll tell you generally what the alert is from which IP, which DNS name and roughly what the problem is.

A quick look at the server in Reports will tell you the problem, and whether it's something that can wait until the morning or whether you have to grab your clothes and run to the office!
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The Dashboard view is brilliant - you can customise it with exactly what you want. Of course I can see here, some servers are running dangerously close to burn-out so for those computers, I could add a few more servers to spread the load if possible.

Not only does it tell you problems, with a bit of thought process, it can help increase the stability of your network by planning future infrastructure.
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By adding groups, this helps you see which servers are in which particular place. In this example, it's my university network spread out across 4 different campuses.

Of course, if a server in Brussels needs some work, it's better to see it there than get to the Canterbury server room and realise it's still about 2,000 miles east of you.
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From the Devices menu, you can apply different tools to your servers and devices to see how well they are doing, but also check basic diagnostics. It also boasts some pretty impressive statistics and information about that server.

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This screen will show you the essentials of your server or device's health; includes a response and availability chart, roles of that device, operating system, vendor, any alerts it may have encountered and plenty of other stuff.

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Each server will have a software inventory - essentially an "Add/Remove" programs except in remote viewing. Makes life easier when diagnosing software related issues.

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Considering that Windows services can sometimes stop for no reason, if a server isn't responding to a DNS call, by checking to see if the DNS service is running on that machine is made easy now. No more do you need to remote desktop in and check - it's all there with a few clicks of a button.

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And finally...

In the Reports pane, you have access to a whole load of logs. You can see which servers are doing well, and which aren't, by a whole load of different customisable options.
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With the 3D effects and simple view graphs, make it so much easier for the administrator to interpret data. So often they're faced with pages of data, numbers, IP addresses, MAC's and all kinds of other things. This reduces unnecessary suffering on part of the administrator.

(c) PacketTrap 2008; used with permission.
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NetFlow allows you to take a look at the flow of traffic to and from servers and devices. With the graph, it enables the administrators to see when peak and low points of network flow are, thus allowing preparations for updates when it will least affect people.

(c) PacketTrap 2008; used with permission.
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Not only that, you can see the "conversations" two computers have; where traffic goes and where it comes from, how much is used and maybe if someone in the office is downloading tonnes of on-demand television...

(c) PacketTrap 2008; used with permission.

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