From Apple's powerful MacBook refresh to high-quality headsets and a robot cleaner, here's the kit we got our hands on in July.
Caption by: Christian Harris
WhatsUp Gold v12 from Ipswitch is a powerful network monitoring solution that's designed to help IT managers take better control of their business infrastructure. Not only is it a useful network scanning tool for collecting SNMP data from devices, but it can also serve as a powerful compliance monitoring tool and desktop support client.
The software provides standards-based monitoring of any network device, service or application on TCP/IP and Windows networks; it will discover devices on the network, initiate monitoring of those devices and execute actions based on device state changes. This allows managers to identify network failures before they become catastrophic. Furthermore, the wizard-based discovery process searches for devices on the network and lets you decide which devices to monitor. Monitored devices can be viewed as a list of devices or as a graphical map.
Perhaps the most useful feature of WhatsUp Gold is the way it actively polls devices to determine their status. You can use preconfigured active monitors, or create your own, to poll a device's services and passively listen for messages sent across the network. Performance monitors check and report on device resources such as disk, CPU and interfaces. Depending on the responses received from polling, or the types of messages received, WhatsUp Gold will notify you of any change on your network via mechanisms such as email or SMS alerts, or by restarting a service.
WhatsUp Gold provides excellent reports that should satisfy business managers and provide IT staff with a view of the network's current status and performance, along with historical data for devices and monitors. Workspaces allow particular segments of the network to be scrutinised, with their own customised reports. WhatsUp Gold offers more than 100 summary reports, or workspace reports, that can be used to customise workspaces.
Workspaces can be configured to report on particular parts of a network that are of interest to particular IT staff.
There are two user interfaces — a Windows console interface and a web interface. The console interface is a Windows application through which you can configure and manage WhatsUp Gold and its database, while the AJAX-based web interface provides access to WhatsUp Gold functionality (via HTTP or HTTPS) from a web browser. You'll probably do the initial setup, discovery and mapping on the console, and then use the web interface for additional setup of monitors and workspaces, users and permissions, and for day-to-day monitoring.
The console is a Windows application for configuring and managing WhatsUp Gold; an AJAX-based web interface is also available.
WhatsUp Gold is available in four editions, targeting installations ranging from small single-site networks to infrastructure spanning multiple geographic locations. WhatsUp Gold Standard Edition (from £1,358 ex. VAT) provides core network management features, while WhatsUp Gold Premium Edition (from £1,766), reviewed here, adds advanced monitoring for Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server and SMTP email servers. Premium Edition also allows you to monitor performance data in real time, and supports application monitoring using Microsoft's WMI.
WhatsUp Gold MSP Edition (from £1,766) allows solution providers to use all of the Premium Edition features to monitor customers' remote networks from a central location. Finally, WhatsUp Gold Distributed Edition (from £2,106) extends the Premium Edition feature set to companies whose networks are segmented across multiple geographic locations. Distributed Edition can detect issues at any of a company's sites and then report the issue both to the relevant site and a central location.
Installing and configuring WhatsUp Gold v12 is straightforward. Once the software is running you need to discover the hosts on your network, using mechanisms including IP scan and SNMP SmartScan. Although the process is simple, it's manual. All SNMP strings have to be entered by hand, as well as Windows credentials. WhatsUp Gold can also track NNTP, TCP Echo, ping and time servers. It can also manage applications that communicate via HTTP, POP3, IMAP4, SMTP and Telnet. Once devices have been discovered, you then set the active performance monitors. Scanning is quick and once completed you can see what your network looks like and the devices and services you are running. From there you set up an action policy, assigning groups of actions to a certain device so that when an error occurs, the system can alert you.
If you're an existing WhatsUp Gold user, you should be interested in version 12's new features. Of particular note is that real-time data graphs, gauges or task manager formats can now be added into any workspace view. Up to 13 new real-time reports can be added to full reports, including graphs that are updated continuously with current information. Real-time data can be paired with historical data to give you a better perspective. Real-time device usage data is now available throughout workspace views and dashboards by simply hovering the cursor over device links (hard drive names or network interfaces, for example); and new web-based network tools extend the functionality of familiar Windows tools to every device user's monitor in real time — even for devices that do not run Windows.
With tons of new features and good usability, WhatsUp Gold v12 is sure to satisfy existing and new users alike. And it's not just for large enterprises: small and medium-sized businesses can also monitor all their web servers, email servers, SQL servers, file servers and even critical desktops without breaking the bank. It provides powerful capabilities that let you analyse network performance issues with detailed graphs and reports, updated second by second, providing an invaluable tool for diagnosing transient or intermittent faults.
Caption by: Christian Harris
Caption by: Christian Harris