Review: Know WhatsUp On The Network More Easily

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As networks become more complex, so does the troubleshooting. But Ipswitch aims to simplify the network administrator's life with WhatsUp Gold Version 11, the latest version of its network monitoring software, due to ship next week.

Pretty much every device nowadays plugs into the network, from intelligent refrigerators to handheld digital assistants. Seeing the impact those devices have on the network has become more critical than ever before. That's where WhatsUp Gold comes into the picture. The product's forte is network device monitoring, and previous WhatsUp versions have offered the muscle to effectively monitor the status of network-attached devices. WhatsUp Gold v11 brings new features to the mix that will surely make things easier for network administrators.

Significant enhancements to the interface and the inclusion of AJAX and Jscript technologies bring ease of use to a product that was once complex. Administrators using the product can create a "world view" of their network that employs passive and active monitoring. Individual network segments, or even specific pieces of hardware, can be accessed by drilling down from higher-level views. That makes it quite simple to navigate the network topology and then dive into a particular element to monitor and diagnose problems.

What's more, top-level administrators can create workspaces geared toward individual support personnel or individual network segments. Workspaces can be secured via user account controls to make sure administrators have access only to the portions of the network for which they're responsible.

Administrators will find the product easy to install and configure. Once installed, the product can perform a network discovery, which scans the network via a range of IP addresses, SNMP community strings or a combination of both. The product also features intelligent discovery, where an algorithm and a database are used to further identify attached systems, including the installed operating system and performance tags, along with traffic generated.

Network device detection works quite well in WhatsUp Gold v11 and is speedy on fast networks. The initial discovery process provides a list of attached hardware, and then administrators can organize the detected devices into groups and populate a visual map of the devices.

Alerts can be defined for any monitored device. Administrators can check for uptime, utilization, connectivity, SNMP events and so on. WhatsUp Gold v11 can notify administrators of problems via pop-up warnings, e-mail, audible alerts or any combination thereof.

Reporting is one of WhatsUp Gold v11's strongest features. More than 50 detailed device reports are included, and administrators can filter or customize the reports based on their needs.

From a visual perspective, WhatsUp Gold v11 is dazzling. Graphic representations of the network are concise, and related dashboards are informative. Drilldowns are easy to perform and quickly expose the details of a selected item.

WhatsUp Gold v11 is priced at $1,995 and $6,995, depending on the edition and the number of devices, according to Lexington, Mass.-based Ipswitch. An unlimited device monitoring version is priced at around $5,000.

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