Paessler IPCheck Server Monitor

Knowing what's happening on your network is always a challenge. Paessler wants to make your life easier with its IPCheck Server Monitor.

One configuration option that you will want to think about is where to locate the probes to see if the sensors (services) are still working. By default, all the tests are run from the machine that you initially install IPCheck on. However, you can install remote probes on other machines around the network to reduce traffic and latency.

You might, for example, want to install a remote probe close to key users. If you have a service level agreement (SLA) this would enable you to keep an accurate watch on the service that they receive. Trying to run it across the network or even across multiple sites using the WAN can give misleading or pointless information. Paessler have clearly thought about this and remote probes are a must.

Once you get past the initial configuration and get to grips with which tool you need to manage this is a pleasing product to use for the IT manager.

I particularly liked the initial probe on the network, especially as it looks for SMTP and FTP services that are available. It is not unknown for malware to install its own SMTP or FTP service on a compromised machine. If you get nothing else out of IPCheck, you will be able to ensure that there are no unexpected surprises installed on your network.

The list of other sensors that IPCheck can use is good but if you want to use it to manage a wide range of application servers, there needs to be more standard services available by default. At present, Paessler expects you to add more sensors to track what is happening. This puts of lot of expectation of knowledge onto administrators.

What was disappointing is that when I wanted to add users, I couldn't do so by using any directory service catalogue. Tools that expect me to create their own lists of users and then maintain them separately from my primary directory service are a real pain. Most vendors are moving their products across to support the main directory services and Paessler needs to follow suite.

Another real benefit was allowing alerts to be sent to email, SMS or ICQ. However, unnecessarily, the setup for this was in the Windows Control Panel rather than the main program itself. Having to go to different places to turn them on and then configure them doesn't make sense. This was a general problem with the tool, as it creates extra work and unless you are fully familiar with what each tool allows you to configure, you waste time going to the wrong place.

Conclusion

One gets the impression that Paessler is in the processes of merging two products and hasn't quite finished, a situation it needs to sort out. If Paessler can do this, and remove the confusion over sensor, server and service this would be a really help hone what is a good product.

Verdict

Despite issues with the multiple locations for management there is no doubt that there is a place for IPCheck in most datacentres. The main interface is simple and uncluttered and gives you the information you need in a screen that can be easily visually scanned.

Supported OS: Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista or NT with SP6 (Workstation and Server supported), RAM: 256MB more Processor: Pentium III or higher Disk space: 40MB Recommended software: Internet Explorer 6 on Windows or Firefox 1.x or higher on Windows or any operating system For the Windows GUI: Windows 98, ME, NT4, XP, 2000, 2003, Vista with Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher

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