What’s Up with WhatsUp Gold®

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Many management suites are dedicated to monitoring only single aspects of your infrastructure. There are a handful of tools out there that can monitor different aspects of your infrastructure, and one of those tools is WhatsUp Gold. This tool is capable of monitoring your network, applications, servers (both physical and virtual), perform netflow traffic analysis, and more. Now that I have your attention, let’s jump on in and look at various different aspects of WhatsUp Gold.

Installation

The installation of WhatsUp Gold could not be any easier. As with typical installation bundles, the wizard will guide you through the entire process. For smaller environments the wizard will also grab Microsoft SQL Express edition as the backend database. Larger installations can be linked to a full blown SQL database server. The installation comes in both an offline and online version. The online installation is a smaller package, however during the installation, it will reach out to the Internet and  grab any required files live during the process. The offline installation is a larger file but contains all the files needed to fully install WhatsUp Gold. This flexibility is certainly useful depending on the environment; whether it is a closed network or a network with limited bandwidth/latency connections, your installation options are covered.

Pricing

WhatsUp Gold is licensed in a tier model, and that tier model is based on a points system. So this is unlike many other network management software providers. Let’s take a quick look at the Tiers:

 

What's Up Gold Tier's from IP Switch

WhatsUp Gold Tier’s from IP Switch.

 

WUG Point structure.

WhatsUp Gold Point structure.

 

Tier breakdown by points

Tier breakdown by points.

 

The above breakdowns can be found on Ipswitch’s website, and I do recommend verifying the current Tier & Point model from their FAQ page which is where the above images came from.

The point break breakdown will define the tier we fall into. The key element for scoping out your WhatsUp Gold licensing model will depend on what type of services you plan on monitoring. This is where your instance can grow exponentially depending on the size on your environment and what you want to get out your monitoring platform. From the screenshots above, you can see monitoring simple devices are a mere one point, but once we get into more advanced monitoring features such of NetFlow analysis, we start seeing single NetFlow sources cost up to ten points; the same goes for application monitors.  Now, while this type of licensing model is not unheard of from other network management suites, I always feel like the amplification of the ‘license points’ add some unnecessary complexity to the equation. Licensing is not usually the easiest thing to grasp, especially since many vendors and services all account for them differently so the simpler the model, the better.

You can also request a personal quote of your own from the Ipswitch website from the request page. This page allows you to describe the environment you are looking to monitor and what services you are looking to monitor. A piece of foreshadowing I always like to say, scope your monitoring environment with additional room for growth. Try not to scope out your monitoring infrastructure for the network you have today but for the network you will have tomorrow. This can drastically assist with scaling the management from a capacity layer as well as a budgetary layer.

Monitoring your infrastructure with WhatsUp Gold 

The key piece to pick up on in my previous statement is that I called out your ‘infrastructure’ not just your network. WhatsUp Gold is more than a very capable network monitoring system. The tool is capable of monitoring various aspects of the network Up/Down status, interface utilization, Netflow data, WLAN infrastructure, and it is also able to monitor virtual infrastructure (Both VMWare & Hyper-V) and application level monitors.

The first step in monitoring your infrastructure will be getting your infrastructure inside WhatsUp Gold’ this actually is going to be just as easy as installing WhatsUp Gold itself. The first time you login to the web interface, you will be greeted by the ‘discover’ page which allows you create your first discovery job. The discovery job itself is quite dynamic providing a whole host of different options allowing you to do the following:

  • Scan individual IP’s or subnets
  • Specify a ‘seed’ device and then scan other devices connected to that ‘seed’ device
  • Include or exclude wireless, storage, & virtualized devices
  • Specify various types of credentials ranging from SNMP, telnet/SSH, VMWare, Azure/AWS, SMIS, & even JMX
  • You can even go as far as to set a schedule for your discovery job to make a re-occuring discovery to automatically pick on any new services you want to monitor that have been added to your environemnt.
WUG Scan Credentials

WhatsUp Gold Scan Credentials

 

WUG Scan Schedule

WhatsUp Gold Scan Schedule

 

When it comes to viewing the performance data within WUG that is all contained within one spot, under analysis:

WUG Analysis Tab

WUG Analysis Tab

From this tab we can drill down to the area we need to view in more detail. A few of the more detailed dashboards out of the gate is the inventory section. Without any additional configuration, WhatsUp Gold will poll the serial numbers of various devices and also provide a port count surrounding the number ports that are available versus the number of ports that are currently in use, broken by the individual switch and also with a holistic total count:

WUG Switchport count

WhatsUp Gold Switchport count

There is also an entire section dedicated to logs. That section is then broken down based on the type of log you want to review. This is not limited to just syslog and SNMP trap logs. WhatsUp Gold is also capable of receiving Windows logs, again this is just another testament to the fact that WhatsUp Gold has advanced beyond basic network management and is more of an infrastructure monitor.

WUG log section

WhatsUp Gold log section

You also have a fair amount for control within the settings of WhatsUp Gold, from there you can configure the specific log settings, which types of logs you want to listen for and from whom.

WUG log configuration (Part 1)

WhatsUp Gold log configuration (Part 1)

WUG log configuration (Part 2)

WhatsUp Gold log configuration (Part 2)

Steve’s Verdict

WhatsUp Gold is definitely not a new player to the game of infrastructure monitoring and it shows. Every new version released by Ipswitch adds many useful features that are relevant to today’s growing IT trends. This is especially true with Azure and AWS monitoring, as we are seeing these services gaining more and more popularity in today’s market. It’s evident that as quickly as the technology field evolves, our monitoring tools must also develop themselves just as quickly. I do also recommend reading through another one of our posts about WhatsUp Gold, where we discuss other features such as configuration management, dashboard and UI customization, network mapping capabilities, and other features. I look forward to what Ipswitch has in store for us in its upcoming releases.

 

A new version of WhatsUp Gold will be available late summer 2017 – you can sign up now for a free trial of WhatsUp Gold 2017 and receive a free t-shirt.