Lab Testing Summary Report

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1 Key Findings and Conclusions: Lab Testing Summary Report January 2008 Report Product Category: Network Uptime Management Tools Vendors Tested: SolarWinds and Ipswitch Products Tested: ipmonitor version 9.0 release 1214 and WhatsUp Gold version SolarWinds ipmonitor is an outstanding, affordable, and easy-to-use web-based network monitoring solution for Small to Medium Businesses(SMBs) ipmonitor has significant feature advantages over WhatsUp Gold including mapping, user experience monitoring, NOC views, and a 100% web-based platform ipmonitor provides extensive alert remediation for devices with an effective view-by-group feature and drilldown capability All-in-one web interface with a setup wizard allows quick and effective configuration for new users Quick search feature allows for round up of devices with drill-down from group to individual devices S olarwinds engaged Miercom to independently test SolarWinds ipmonitor network monitoring software against Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold. Testing focused on ease-of-use and feature-specific criteria, during a hands-on, side-by-side comparison with WhatsUp Gold. Ease-of-use analysis included evaluating the installation and Web interface, from a new user perspective, both utilizing wizards versus the efficiency of non-wizard tools for experienced users, and the flexibility and effectiveness of various interface views and groupings. The laboratory test bed included multiple servers running services as Exchange 2007, SQL, a Web server, Cisco 7200 routers and Extreme Summit switches. Some of the key competitive features verified in the competitive testing are summarized in the table below: Feature Description ipmonitor WhatsUp Gold Web-based platform Monitor Recommended Settings User Experience Monitoring All product functionality is provided from a web-based interface Monitoring policies are automatically configured for specific application- or servertypes, such as MS Exchange or web servers End-to-end synthetic transaction testing, trending and reporting for applications including Exchange, SQL Server and others Mapping Network Operations Center (NOC) Views Service Level Views Dynamic mapping of monitors, devices, and groups of devices, including full web-based map editing and configuration changes Built-in NOC views for instant visual updates of up/down status, response time, and critical system details Groups may be defined for any combination of monitors regardless of physical device - fully supported - limited - not supported

2 Installation Installation of SolarWinds ipmonitor software was very straightforward. The installer is guided by an onscreen wizard that allows ipmonitor to be configured to effectively manage network uptime in less then 20 minutes. Installation and un-installation runs clean with only necessary files moved to or from the host server. ipmonitor starts automatically at the conclusion of the installation. SolarWinds offers a trial version of ipmonitor which allows the same full functionality as the licensed software, but for a limited time use. ipmonitor can then be easily upgraded online, or offline via the SolarWinds Web Support Portal using any web browser. For maximum benefit, licenses which have been previously installed may be parked in order to move the license of ipmonitor to a new host machine. After installation, ipmonitor steps the user through ipmonitor quickly discovers devices and is ready to effectively manage network uptime in less then 20 minutes. Device Discovery (shown above) and quickly identifies devices that are ready to have monitors assigned. ipmonitor assists by recommending SmartMonitors based on the detected services provided by each device. The installation of WhatsUp Gold was not as simple and could not be configured as quickly. WhatsUp Gold requires Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine and associated services whereas all of the components required for ipmonitor were included. Web Interface The web-based interface of ipmonitor is effective and SQL (Structure Query Language) database expertise is not required to install or operate the product. Physical access to the server is not required for administration. SmartGroups allows users to quickly create management groups of devices. Network devices must be manageable via SNMP, WMI, or RPC in order to be recognized by ipmonitor. The Web interface allows multiple views of user interfaces, CPU storage and services on a monitored resource. The application allows the operator to customize and organize views so the devices are displayed in logical groupings. The default hierarchy of the ipmonitor Dashboard displays a summary of all monitored network statistics. The organization of this interface is completely customizable by the user, and includes groups by Top Ten Devices, ICMP response time, disk utilization and CPU utilization. The display can be rearranged by simple drag and drop. The interface updates automatically every 60 seconds. Device discovery scans can run in the background, with a status results tab available on the Dashboard. There are 55 out-of-the-box user monitors available, including SNMP, SQL and Exchange . We tested the three major server monitors using both the wizard and direct configuration options. The wizard allowed for efficient configuration by completing common configuration options for quick setup. Another product strength observed is the Search functionality, which allows the user to easily round up multiple User Experience (UE) monitors into a single group. Overall, it is very easy to configure, group and run UE monitors. Alert remediation can be added to a monitor with a global action applied for the desired action. Alert remediation can be applied to a single monitor or a group of monitors and devices. During testing, we verified an alert for server drive space, with an action to the administrator and reboot the server. The Server Name field was automatically populated using the Browse button. The Credential for Recovery was also selected from a list of prior entries, or a new credential could have been created. A global action was created, and assigned to a group of devices, and also to a group of User Experience monitors. A member server from the group was then rendered offline and then Copyright 2008 Miercom Network Uptime Management Tools Page 2

3 reconnected to trigger an alert. As expected, messages were sent successfully reporting the loss and recovery of that server. Wizards assist in adding alerts as described previously by stepping though tasks with common options defaulted. The interface also provides manual entry capability for more elaborate configuration requirements. ipmonitor provides the capability to monitor and display uptime availability and response time per managed device (shown below). The interface provides detailed trend analysis information using an intuitive interface. ipmonitor s Network Operations Center View provides immediate fault detection as well as information to help mediate network issues. The Dashboard tab (see below) shows an overall summary view of the monitored network, including top ten views of devices for several performance factors, such as ping time, CPU and disk utilization. Column views can easily be modified to suit the user s preference. ipmonitor shows device uptime and response time using an intuitive drill down user interface We found the web interface for WhatsUp Gold rather limited in comparison, and useful really for first time configuration rather than regular use. For example, device discovery could not be completed using the web interface. Also, there was no ability to assign mass actions to groups using the interface; instead a tedious wizard must be used to configure each device. Network Views As another competitive advantage, ipmonitor provides a full screen NOC view for all devices, and has the ability to focus on a particular customizable display on any device or group of devices. The overall NOC view is clear and shows the status of all devices at a glance. This interface also allows interface configuration for monitoring to be reviewed and changed with ease (shown above on right). ipmonitor s Dashboard view shows uptime statistics for devices in user defined groups Using the interface above, we located a Cisco 7200 Series router and drilled down to the device level which displayed the Monitor contents of the device, as well as its status. A My Reports column remains, while the Map column features all the device monitors, showing variables such as availability, response time and available memory, both used and free. The data is displayed in three formats: as Copyright 2008 Miercom Network Uptime Management Tools Page 3

4 ipmonitor s drill-down capabilities into node details provides advanced node details enabling quick problem diagnosis and troubleshooting simple text, graphically, and a newer racing style performance gauges. XML Import/Export allows a monitor s configuration to be saved as a.txt file that can be imported into another installation of ipmonitor. The Popup XML button is an easy one-click solution which exports the configuration settings into a separate browser window interface. Viewing monitors in a group using ipmonitor was much easier and more effective than when doing the same with WhatsUp Gold. When using WhatsUp Gold s Dynamic Group feature, we had to use advance options, including modifying SQL expressions, to achieve the same effect as using SolarWinds ipmonitor. In addition, WhatsUp Gold also provides numerous standard reports, however they were not dynamic and did not support drill down to device capability. Device List Management There are multiple ways to add devices to ipmonitor, including alerts and remediation actions: 1. Enter the IP address or Hostname 2. Browse servers by domain 3. Select Unmanaged Device ; pick from list 4. Use existing scan results, or rescan ipmonitor makes recommendations based on SmartMonitor settings that aid in creating monitors for each device based on services discovered during the scan. If a service is detected, it is automatically included for monitoring. An alert range and availability schedule are customizable. Alerts can be easily set to run in 15-minute timeslots. Smart Groups Smart Groups enable grouping of similar monitors or devices. The Regular Expression Wizard assists in creation of Regular Expressions used in filtering. A Preview button in the main window allows testing the regular expression that has been created. This is a powerful feature that allows users to test monitor actions before deployment. On a group of http monitors, an informational tag can contain customized text to be inserted into the alert notification field using the Token button to simplify formatting. When the alert was tested, the customized tag was included in the notification to the address specified in the alert. ipmonitor s Reports interface offers the user standard or customized dynamic reports Reports Multiple standard reports are available out of the box to report by group or device. The report utility walks through example device and group reports. The clickto-previous and next-data windows modification feature, rolls the data window, exercises the detail custom zooming capability using the zoom widget. Using ipmonitor s My Reports utility under Dashboard, dynamic reports can be created which allow drill down capability for each device. We created a custom report for seven-day history of CPU temperature for example. WhatsUp Gold does not have the same robust reporting capability including dynamic drill down that ipmonitor currently supports. Copyright 2008 Miercom Network Uptime Management Tools Page 4

5 Miercom Performance Verified SolarWinds ipmonitor version 9.0 release 1214 was subjected to a battery of extensive testing including analysis of installation and configuration, ease of use, advanced features, functionality, and application scalability. SolarWinds ipmonitor has proven its effectiveness in a hands-on lab test environment and has earned the Miercom Performance Verified TM Certification. ipmonitor offers unique competitive advantages over other uptime management applications. Based on our experience with ipmonitor this product will exceed customer expectations for uptime management, especially in SMB networking environments. SolarWinds 1301 S. Mopac Expressway Suite 360 Austin, TX USA Tel: Fax: About Miercom s Product Testing Services With hundreds of its product-comparison analyses published over the years in such leading network trade periodicals as Business Communications Review and Network World, Miercom s reputation as the leading, independent product test center is unquestioned. Founded in 1988, the company has pioneered the comparative assessment of networking hardware and software, having developed methodologies for testing products from SAN switches to VoIP gateways and IP PBX s. Miercom s private test services include competitive product analyses, as well as individual product evaluations. Products submitted for review are typically evaluated under the NetWORKS As Advertised program, in which networking-related products must endure a comprehensive, independent assessment of the products usability and performance. Products that meet the appropriate criteria and performance levels receive the NetWORKS As Advertised award and Miercom Labs testimonial endorsement fax Report Copyright 2008 Miercom Network Uptime Management Tools Page 5

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