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Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold v16 Premium review

Verdict

More network-monitoring features than ever before, including slick wireless tools

Review Date: 22 Feb 2013

Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell

Price when reviewed: £2,308 (£2,770 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Ipswitch’s WhatsUp Gold network-monitoring software has always targeted SMBs, but this latest version sees a shift in focus to larger businesses and enterprises. The new features aren’t as extensive as those delivered in the previous version, but a single WhatsUp Gold v16 server now supports a titanic 20,000 devices and 100,000 monitors.

Distributed networks are handled better this time around. Extra polling engines can be placed on separate Windows hosts, where they send encrypted data about their own network segment to a central server. WhatsUp Gold’s embedded database has been beefed up to SQL Server 2008 Express, which delivers 10GB of storage to accommodate all this extra information.

A key new feature is WhatsUp Gold’s wireless infrastructure management, included in the Premium edition. There’s a catch, however – it only supports Cisco and Aruba wireless APs, but this will cover many larger businesses.

Ipswitch WhatsUpGold v16 Premium

It presents an abundance of information, including dynamic wireless network mapping showing all APs, and their associated clients. It goes much further, as you can select APs and drill down to see lists and graphs of SSIDs, signal strength and signal-to-noise ratios.

Wireless bandwidth usage can be monitored and mapped, and you can see how much clients are using. It will also alert you to rogue APs and its maps can be configured to show different icons for employees, guests and mobile connections.

Ipswitch recommends running WhatsUp Gold on a Windows Server system, but despite the warning, we loaded it on Windows 7 easily. Network discovery comes first, and Ipswitch has built features from its WhatsConnected module into all versions to provide automated L2 and L3 mapping as standard.

WhatsUp Gold v16 retains the same web interface as v15, which introduced a complete refresh with a new ribbon menu. The in-context navigation also made it much easier to select a system and view its vital statistics.

Ipswitch WhatsUpGold v16 Premium

The Standard version provides device discovery, network mapping, monitoring, alerting and reporting for single-site networks. Along with the wireless features, WhatsUp Gold Premium adds WMI monitoring of SQL Server, Oracle and Exchange. It works with Linux and Unix servers, too.

It isn’t all good news. Despite being criticised for not including the WhatsVirtual plugin as standard in the previous version, it still isn’t present here. The role server and its VMs can be monitored as standard systems, but, unlike [a href="http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/380152/paessler-prtg-network-monitor-124"Paessler’s PRTG Network Monitor 12.4[/a], WhatsUp Gold isn’t Hyper-V-aware.

It has, however, tinkered with WhatsVirtual’s VMware support, which now offers dynamic web-based LiveMaps. Previously a passive display, dropdown menus for each VM now allow you to view their utilisation, power them on or off, and take snapshots.

Licensing is based on devices rather than software components and WhatsUp Gold is much better value than SolarWinds’ Network Performance Monitor. However, Paessler’s PRTG’s unlimited sensor version costs around £6,400 – only marginally more than a WhatsUp Gold 500-device licence.

Despite that, WhatsUp Gold remains an excellent choice for network monitoring, and the new features make it more appealing to larger businesses. It can present a lot of information on one screen and the new wireless-monitoring tools make it well suited to enterprises using Cisco and Aruba devices.

Author: Dave Mitchell

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