Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold 2018 review: Entry-level network monitoring

A tad pricey but delivers plenty of monitoring features wrapped up in a user-friendly console

Price
£2,030
  • Better virtualisation monitoring
  • Somewhat expensive

Ipswitch's WhatsUp Gold (WUG) 2018 takes all the guesswork out of licensing, employing a simple points-based system. Each device, no matter how many network ports, CPUs and so on is considered one element and costs one point, while monitored applications or NetFlow data sources each cost ten points.

WUG 2018 introduces plenty of new features with a sharp focus on the cloud. You can now monitor performance of Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure cloud services, and Meraki cloud-managed wireless APs.

Licensing has been simplified with new Premium yearly subscriptions or licensed versions providing core features such as discovery, alerting, reporting and wireless, cloud and storage monitoring. The Total Plus version adds monitoring for flows, virtualized environments plus applications, and you can purchase these separately as add-on packs for the Premium versions.

Installation took an hour; the routine downloads the requisite .NET version and SQL Server 2014 Express, installs IIS if it isn't already present and then loads all the WUG services. It gets a lot quicker from here on - the freshly designed web interface loads a discovery wizard which only took eight minutes to scan the lab's IP subnet.

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For more network insight, we created custom scans with additional device and cloud service credentials and scheduled them to run every day. The My Network tab neatly displayed all our discovered devices accompanied by colour-coded icons showing their status.

Devices are automatically placed in dynamic groups where, for example, all our Synology NAS appliances were dropped into the default Storage group for quick access. You can create custom dynamic groups with the builder tool and apply WUG rules to fine-tune membership, with criteria such as device status, properties and configurations.

The My Network workspace provides an interactive map and its overlay feature adds display options such as connection links and their status along with device dependencies. New overlays are now provided for wireless networks, virtualization hosts and devices hosting apps being monitored by the application performance monitor (APM) add-on.

APM can keep a watchful eye on many business apps including Exchange, SQL Server, Oracle and Active Directory. It's easy to configure: we selected app categories and left APM to scan monitored devices and find them for us, after which we used profiles to monitor critical functions and assign alerts and actions.

You can now choose from no less than 23 actions, with the standard options of email, SMS, sounds and scripts enhanced with support for the Slack, IFTTT (If This Then That), ServiceNow and OpsGenie services. Policies link alerts with actions and WUG provides a policy builder tool to link them with state changes of selected monitored devices.

Ipswitch has remedied its tardiness in developing mobile apps for WUG. It has finally released an iOS 11 app which remotely accesses the WUG server with a version for Android expected soon.

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The Virtualization Monitoring pack has been improved as along with VMware, WUG 2018 discovers Hyper-V hosts and can now list all their VMs. From the Analyze Virtual Monitoring tab, we could view plenty of information about running VMs and their host resource utilization.

The console's Analyze tab puts all monitoring features at your fingertips with the home page providing a graphical overview of all devices in alert states. From its drop-down menu, we could swiftly pull up views of the Top 10 busiest devices, alert summaries and dashboards for the APM and virtual host add-ons.

WhatsUpGold 2018 adds some valuable new features including improved cloud monitoring and Hyper-V support. It can't match ManageEngine's OpManager for value but it does offer an excellent range of monitoring features while its ease of use will appeal to SMBs.

Verdict

WhatsUpGold 2018 adds some valuable new features including improved cloud monitoring and Hyper-V support. It can’t match ManageEngine’s OpManager for value but it does offer an excellent range of monitoring features while its ease of use will appeal to SMBs.

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