WhatsUp Gold: Daily Network Monitor Blog

Network Monitoring News

Posts Tagged ‘ Network Monitoring ’

By Sarah Meyer

A university network supports a broad population of students, faculty and others who all rely on a wireless network to do their work. Consider the user population. A big segment of it grew up with the Internet. And they have little patience for dead spots that don’t provide access to it.

A customer of ours works at a large university in Ohio. There are no less than 2,700 access points on his wireless network. Before he started using WhatsUp Gold from Ipswitch, his team had to physically check wireless network equipment around campus whenever there was a problem. It was wearing patience his patience thin. And the soles on his IT staffs’ sneakers. This meant long wait times to resolve issues, and way too many calls made and tickets opened by melodramatic students. student_hero20110208

The challenge was to support a group of vocal users who, in some respects, were causing the problems they complained about. There’s an average of three mobile devices per student attached to the network. Vimeo, torrents, and every other bandwidth hog you can imagine steams through the pipes. In other words, it was a BYOD free for all and the IT staff had to keep Internet wireless network connections going strong in light of the chaos.

When our customer decided enough was enough he looked for a product that provided the wireless network performance monitoring features he needed most, and it had to be affordable. He wanted a the ability to accurately map his wireless network, see individual bandwidth usage, check signal strength, and get real-time alerts whenever a problem flared up. After giving WhatsUp Gold a trial run along with a few other vendors’ software products, he chose Ipswitch because it met his criteria and his price point. Since using the product, the phone rings a lot less and sneakers last a lot longer.

If your work involves managing wireless access on a network in higher education, or anywhere else for that matter, please register and join our webinar this Thursday, February 6. During the 30 minute webinar you’ll learn how to best manage the high traffic tides, quickly and easily identify bandwidth hogs and the offending applications, and receive notifications when access points approach capacity.

Hope to see you there. If you can’t make it, we’ll be sharing the replay afterwards.

Title: How to Overcome Challenges of Campus Wireless Network Performance
Date:
February 6, 2014
Show Time: 2:00 pm EST
Duration: 30 Minutes
Register Here

 

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

By Daniel Okine

When the IT Administrator at an Italian manufacturing company started his job, the IT team was manually monitoring the network on a problem-by-problem basis. It was a understandable drain on resources. And was also affecting the quality of service provided to their business users.

His team set about looking for a proactive network monitoring tool. After looking at a few options they tried out WhatsUp Gold from Ipswitch.

WhatsUp Gold

It Takes Two

High up on the list of important things to monitor were two applications they needed to be sure were running optimally. Namely,  their document management system and SAP. If these two were not in synch the IT team would suffer the wrath of unhappy users. Manually monitoring for problems after they started affecting application performance was not going to cut it.

The company’s network uses a data exchange service that transfers digital documents from their SAP system to their document management system. If the service between the two applications stops or disk space runs out, the documents don’t move. If they don’t move, users won’t have access to the latest information.

Putting this worry to rest, WhatsUp Gold lets the IT team monitor both the service and the disk space. This ensures the documents are immediately and consistently available to business users.

“An increase in server availability and uptime reduces the cost of doing business because our users are always productive,” said the IT administrator.

Interested to see what WhatsUp Gold could do to keep your big applications humming along? Download a free trial and give it a whirl for 30 days.

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

By Sarah Meyer

A major southern US city school district with more than 40,000 students reached out to the Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold team for help after a failed attempt to implement another company’s network monitoring software. Increased security concerns were driving the school system to increase investment in building and campus safety precautions. But the monitoring software wasn’t cooperating.

In testing the other company’s software, they found it:

  • Didn’t have the Level 2/3 discovery granularity. This was required to identify and monitor everything from servers to applications, to component-level information in servers. As well as switches and other devices like security cameras.
  • Couldn’t create a complete map of a network of schools stretching across the city. That would make it hard to determine what was new new and what was old so they could upgrade efficiently.
  • Couldn’t identify or monitor many SNMP-addressable devices already in place. Devices like metal detectors and the security cameras. Because it didn’t have MIBs for them in its library of devices.

CaptureddBut each area the IT director found fault with could be remedied with WhatsUp Gold, the director was promised by an Ipswitch sales engineer. “I was told it wouldn’t take more an hour,” she said. Skeptical, but intrigued, the director took the plunge and downloaded the software. Less than an hour later she was pleasantly surprised to have in hand a complete map and a detailed inventory of all the devices making up the city’s widely distributed network of schools.

Peace of Mind

Now the school district had the information they needed determine what they could keep and what they’d have to replace. This allowed them to enhance student and staff security and control vandalism of school properties. Unlike the other software, WhatsUp Gold allows administrators to add MIBs for devices not already in WhatsUp Gold’s library in just minutes.

Once the first wave of safety improvements was in place, the IT director used WhatsUp Gold to monitor the health of all the network devices. They were able to take action quickly if WhatsUp Gold detected a problem with any device. For instance, one of the high school’s metal detectors went off line late one afternoon. An automated alert and an intuitive trouble-shooting interface allowed the staff to identify the root cause in minutes and reset the system.  

“The major benefits of using WhatsUp Gold include increased peace of mind, a reduced administrative workload and higher device service levels,” the director reports.

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

By Sarah Meyer

Two regional auto parts companies merged to increase their competitiveness with national chains. But they almost immediately ran into an unexpected network monitoring problem. The IT manager tasked with consolidating the two companies’ network infrastructures found that neither company’s network monitoring products had Layer 2 and Layer 3 discovery capabilities. This would give them enough detail to determine what devices to keep and which to upgrade and force them to spend more than they had budgeted for the project. 

network monitoringThe only answer was to be a lot more selective about purchasing new gear. But his existing Layer 2 discovery software was no help. It didn’t gather enough detail on existing gear and utilization levels. This could help him decide what to keep and what to toss. He couldn’t afford to travel offsite to gather the additional information. Could Ipswitch help, he asked?

Based on what you told me, you won’t need to travel anywhere,” the Ipswitch sales engineer said. Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold network monitoring software, combined with a WhatsConnected network mapping and topology software plugin, would give him the additional information he needed without having to leave his office.

It offers:

  • Full integration of automated Layer 2 and Layer 3 topology discovery and visualization
  • Rich mapping
  • Automated discovery of full port-to-port connectivity on networks of all sizes, regardless of location

Skeptical, the manager downloaded a trial copy of WhatsUp Gold network monitoring software and the WhatsConnected plugin suggested by the Ipswitch sales engineer. A few days later, he conducted a successful test audit of his data center’s network. With complete with Layer 2 and Layer 3 details on every network device in hand, he bought the products. Ipswitch had also uncovered underused resources he could reconfigure for higher efficiency. Based on these results, he was sure he could find similar savings throughout the various sites slated for modernization.

Not long after, the manager reported to us that his staff completed the upgrade successfully and on budget. They had been able to recycle and repurpose a good amount of their network inventory. This helped them pay for new routers, switches and firewalls needed for the combined networks to operate under a single WhatsUp Gold user interface.

As a nice side benefit, they were able to reduce the cost of network monitoring over the combined network by 35%.

 

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

By Sarah Meyer

IPS WUG LOGOToday we are glad to announce the availability of WhatsUp Gold version 16.2, a new upgrade to our flagship product that provides network, server and application monitoring. It helps make our customers’ jobs a lot easier to do while they work hard to manage and tame networks at companies and government organizations around the world.

Before I continue to share how our customers’ use the product, here’s what’s new in Version 16.2:

  • Integration with wireless network technologies from Meru Networks and Ruckus, Cisco WAP321 wireless access points and Cisco Nexus data center switches
  • Added seed discovery for the IPv6 protocol
  • Other updated discovery and monitoring features (I’ll spare you from reading through the rather long list)

Now back to our customers. These folks can attest to how WhatsUp Gold has helped them save a lot of time and money. And quickly pinpoint problems that are otherwise really hard to find. Here are just a handful of stories from the front lines:

Sort out the root cause of slow application performance, and save money in the process.

A customer who works at a national fast-food franchise was about to spend a lot more money to make up for lagging wireless bandwidth. The checkbook was put away after discovering the culprit was a user streaming Pandora.

Avoid buying a bunch of expensive, incompatible products –and spending money on more staff to manage them.

A customer who works at a large logistics company realized he could solve his network management issues with one product that centralized monitoring across every office. As did another customer who works at a large bank in Europe.

Tame the BYOD chaos brought upon by folks who bring their own devices to work.

A customer who runs a large university’s network used WhatsUp Gold to fix his wireless bandwidth problems caused by BYOD. His team had been literally running around campus to troubleshoot their 2,500 wireless access points. Another customer of ours had a similar problem that was solved thanks to our unified dashboard. (Side benefit: our product can save both rubber soles and tires).

What people are saying about WhatsUp Gold version 16.2:

Matt Cline, senior systems administrator from Optim Healthcare:

The latest version of WhatsUp Gold will give me more visibility into my network and improve wireless network management through its unified dashboard. It will also help further address the challenges caused by employees who bring their own devices to work or chew bandwidth with streaming media.”

Ennio Carboni, president and general manager of the Ipswitch Network Management Division:

WhatsUp Gold provides capabilities to cost-effectively deliver diverse IT services based on their value to the business. In comparison, other so-called affordable network monitoring products don’t offer a unified view or fully encompass heterogeneous environments. Additionally, expensive, complex solutions from BMC, CA, HP and IBM  take months to implement and include features often not used.”

Care to try WhatsUp Gold in your own network environment? Download a free 30 day trial and see how it can make your job easier too.

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

By David Seuss

Halloween represents the time of year that we embrace ghouls and ghosts, celebrate the macabre, and eat too much candy. This coming Thursday I’ll be greeted at my front door by trick or treat’ers, lined up for their packaged sugar rushes. In between trips to the check out the little ghosts and ghouls, I’ll be watching one of my favorite horror movies. For me, being scared is part of the fun.

Click for full image.

Click for full image.

However, for sysadmins and network managers, Halloween plays itself out every day of the year. So what better time to visit the issues that turn your server rooms into your own personal house of horrors?

We know no two networks are exactly alike, so we focused on 13 network nightmares that represent the common hauntings of every server room. The number alone signifies something to be wary of. Some buildings don’t have a 13th floor. Any Friday that falls on the 13th day of the month can give even non-believers a moment of pause. These 13 network nightmares highlight the type of problems that keep many IT folks awake at night, while fearing the unspeakable network terrors that may face them at work the next day.

Even though Halloween may be a lot of fun, mention any of these 13 nightmares to a network manager and you are likely to see a look of true horror.

Here’s the fleshed-out list of network nightmares, and some tips on how they can get solved in the real world. Have an evil glance, if you like:

1.  The Zombies: Only Zombies should be slow, not your network.  Slowdowns can make it nearly impossible to keep systems and applications up and running at peak levels. With better insight, you can move fast to solve problems before they start to negatively impact business operations and users.

2.  The Vampires: Don’t let network vampires suck the life out of your wireless network. These creatures can take a bite out of network performance with the use of satellite radio and streaming video. Once you track them down, put your stake in the ground and kindly share IT policy so they can listen to Pandora back at the crypt, and not in the office.

3.  The Skeletons: Dealing with bare bones budgets is a constant problem for IT professionals, who are expected to provide higher levels of service to users, with fewer dollars. IT folks should be able to face the skeletons in their closets and monitor their networks, applications and systems affordably.

4.  The Frankensteins: A whole bunch of disjointed pieces and parts can yield monster network monitoring problems. Network administrators should not have to play the mad scientist. Trying to make the nuts and bolts and random wires of their network play nice together shouldn’t look like a scientific experiment gone wrong.

5.  The Spiked Maces: Spikes in network performance can make anyone nervous. Be prepared for high levels of traffic on days when Apple offers a download your users cannot resist. When you can be proactive, the spikes on the network won’t come swinging at you like a medieval mace.

6.  The Ghosts: What problems are haunting your network? Network administrators can be effective ghost hunters and find the spectres, including slowdowns and frightening downtime.

7.  The Chucky (Knife-Wielding Dolls): What may seem like a small threat can actually instigate big problems. What little monster is wiggling their way down into deep layers of the network to compromise security? Unchecked small problems can quickly turn into a network breach if it takes weeks before you find the culprit, especially if the problem is intermittent. Small problems are not “child’s play.”

8.  The Jasons (Scary Intruders): Don’t let software and applications lurk in the shadows. Network administrators need to know which users have downloaded unauthorized applications onto their networked laptops. Turn on the light so you don’t get lost in shadow IT.

9.  The Mummies: Are you continuously wrapped up in the same problems that keep returning? Finding the source of an issue shouldn’t be as hard as digging into an ancient Egyptian crypt.

10.  The Devils: No cost shortcuts like free open source products can tempt you with big promises, but can steal your soul if you depend on them to monitor your network. Listen to the haloed, winged creature on your other shoulder and invest in an affordable solution that gets the little devils out of the network.

11.  The Gravestones: Downtime? More like Rest-in-Panic. Finding the source of a problem on the network shouldn’t bury you  six feet deep.

12.  The Fog: When the fog sets in and bats come out to play, viewing the network can become eerie and impeded. If network administrators can’t get a complete view of their network, they won’t be able to clearly see through the fog and find the source of a slowdown or stoppage.

13.  The Werewolves: Don’t get bitten by the unexpected. Having the proper policies in place can be the silver bullet for dealing with bandwidth-hungry users.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

By Steven King

Students in 47 schools throughout Los Angeles were recently given iPads as a study tool as part of a $1B rollout to 650,000 students.  It didn’t take long at all for more than 300 students to alter basic security settings and use the iPad for anything they liked. Tweets, Facebook posts and Subway Surfers were soon competing against legit academic activities.

1527117_ME_0917_iPads_Distribution_IK

Photo source: LA Times

The security gaffe and resulting embarrassment it caused to the school’s administration could have been avoided with a network data flow monitor in place. The school system’s IT staff could have been able to determine when their configured settings were being changed — and get alerted when that happened. They’d also be able to see which students were using Facebook and other sites based on monitoring the iPad’s data flow.  

Tracking the Bandwidth Hoarders

Network monitoring of data flow would allow school IT administrators to identify “top talkers” and determine which iPads were consuming the most bandwidth as they tracked them to sites like YouTube.  Spikes in activity caused by torrent downloads are another telltale sign that wouldn’t ordinarily occur otherwise.  Network monitoring would also help track and resolve network traffic congestion by classifying the traffic by type and protocol in real time.

We Can See You

With wireless access monitoring, administrators can see who is connected to the network in real time and receive alerts when students connect to sites not approved for use in school. They can even tell from what area of the school students are accessing the network based on what wireless router they’re connecting to.  This would help ascertain whether students were consuming significant amounts of data during class time or not – and if they were surfing appropriate sites, or subways.sada

It’s not all big brother, though. Wireless network monitoring would also help the school locate an iPad if a student misplaced or lost the tablet, and it was still on school grounds.

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

By Sarah Meyer

Today’s tale from the front lines of network monitoring comes to us from Joe, a network administrator from an electronics company that was growing fast. When he started his new job he was surprised to find that the company  used what he called a “primitive” system for communication between the help desk and the IT operations network monitoring team.

LARGE.jpegAs Joe put it, “they may as well have been talking with tin cans tied to a string.” This makeshift communication  meant users often called IT or stopped by IT folks’ cubes to complain about a problem – leaving vague messages on sticky notes if they couldn’t find someone to talk to.

Joe came from a big company, so he was used to a formal workflow that moved trouble tickets to and from the network monitoring system. While Joe was trying to find out if his existing network monitoring software would let him set up a similar gateway, he kept running into other product shortcomings. He asked his boss if he was willing to consider alternatives if he could find something that fit the budget and could solve the problems Joe had identified, with the help-desk connection at the top of his list. “Sure,” he was told. “Make your case.”

Joe did some research, watched some demos, and then narrowed his list down to two products to evaluate. After a quick conversation with an Ipswitch sales engineer, he chose WhatsUp Gold because it:

  • Offered all the features the company would need for network monitoring
  • Fit the budget
  • Made it easy to set up an interface between the trouble-ticket system and the monitoring software

Joe could make that connection to the help desk through the WhatsUp Gold email template. This template supports variables that the ticketing system can use to automatically open a ticket that identifies the device and the exact problem for routing to the correct IT team. That’s all it takes to automatically send trouble tickets to the network monitoring team for resolution and turn alerts into tickets for tracking.

The tin cans have been retired and there are far fewer post-it notes doubling as help desk trouble tickets.

 

 

 

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

By Sarah Meyer

Today’s tale from the front lines of network monitoring comes to us from a network administrator at a large electronic invoicing company in Mexico. His company serves large multinational corporations as well as thousands of medium and small clients. His task is to keep Microsoft Exchange up and running at peak performance levels to ensure quick invoice delivery.

However, slowdowns started to become a real problem. And he often didn’t hear about it until 10-15 users got affected by them and started to complain. Then it would take a while to determine the cause, eating up more time than he or the company’s employees could afford.

4In his case, it took, on average, a good 4 hours to solve each slowdown.

Some users were receiving large emails of 10 megabytes or so which caused slowness when downloading,” the manager explains. “Or, if a user’s mailbox was full we had to be able to proactively monitor it and fix it before the employee could send anything to a customer.”

After looking at a few network monitoring products, he selected WhatsUp Gold. He chose it because of its proactive alerts and the ability to monitor different Exchange Server queues with WMI.

As a result, there has been a major reduction of incidents. An alert arrives on his smart phone as soon as a predefined Exchange monitoring threshold is crossed. This buys him time to fix the problem long before it starts to affect many users. Just as important, WhatsUp gold gives him back four hours of his work day so he can work on more important tasks. 

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit

Take Your Turn

September 5, 2013 Network Monitoring Comments

By Sarah Meyer

Servers, networks and applications aren’t the only remote devices that some companies need to manage. Did you know WhatsUp Gold can also monitor point-of-sale devices such as vending machines, in-store video games and ticket turnstiles? In fact, any device that supports ping, SNMP or WMI management protocols.

fictional-amusementparks-cartmanlandThis is my lead-in for today’s tale from the front lines of network monitoring that comes to us from a network administrator who works at a big theme park company based in France.

He was tired of managing crises related to malfunctioning turnstiles. Any time a turnstile didn’t work, lines backed up, customers grew unhappy, and confusion rippled through the crowds waiting to get in. The last straw for our customer was when a frustrated park manager emailed him a video of children crying because they couldn’t get in right away.

The turnstiles were supposed to be “self-managing” but their built-in reporting required a separate dashboard and alerts that were hard to adjust and investigate. There just wasn’t enough IT staff to dedicate someone to monitor the turnstiles and learn all the intricacies of the alerts. When turnstiles don’t work, customers either turn on you, or turn away. 

After using WhatsUp Gold for two weeks, the network admin convinced his boss that he’d found the solution that would not only monitor their network and servers, but also remotely monitor the IP-connected entry turnstiles using SNMP. 

Now both the centralized IT team and onsite engineers get an alert immediately when a turnstile’s performance has dropped below a threshold, and the network administrator can trace the root cause from the same dashboard he uses for any other network issue. Theme-Park-kids-coaster

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what our customer had to say: “WhatsUp is extremely simple to use, very reliable and has become essential to our day-to-day infrastructure management. I would highly recommend it.”

Now it’s your turn.

 

Share:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Reddit