Feds can strike network 'gold'

Identifying and eliminating network bottlenecks is critical to federal network administrators, and a network mapping and monitoring tool has been updated to help.

Next week, Ipswitch Inc. will release WhatsUp Gold 6.0, a tool that offers monitoring, notification and performance-reporting features.

The product also provides network administrators with more tools for diagramming and viewing network maps, as well as greater capacity to isolate and resolve network problems, said John Ward, product and marketing manager for WhatsUp Gold 6.0.

The product's new features include:

Diagramming tools and vector-based graphics to make network maps more legible and customizable. An autodiscovery wizard that enables users to choose which devices appear on their maps. A new interface that uses familiar Microsoft Corp. Windows icons, toolbars and menus. A log manager tool that enables users to log data for any type of network event by searching for text — such as an Internet Protocol address or device name. Data can be filtered by date range and then saved, printed and copied. Installation that can be completed in a time frame ranging from hours to about three days. A new feature that should be especially useful to government users is the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) viewer tool, Ward said. The viewer enables administrators to track variables associated with any port on a network device. With a few clicks, an administrator can select device ports, navigate trees and graph variables in real time. The viewer delivers real-time trouble-shooting, as well as a history of performance data.

"The SNMP viewer looks at the applications on the network, not only what devices and resources are maxed out," Ward said. "You can see what's going on with the application. You can modify the applications and be notified if they go down."

Government users make up about 20 percent of the 16,000 installed units of WhatsUp Gold, said Dennis Mulryan, vice president of marketing for the Lexington, Mass.-based Ipswitch.

The Army National Guard replaced Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView with WhatsUp Gold and is using it in each of its major state locations. The Agriculture Department is another federal customer.

The product has a list price of $795, but Ipswitch offers discounts to government customers and those who buy multiple copies, Mulryan said. WhatsUp Gold 6.0 is available on the General Services Administration schedule.

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