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Reprint from Nätverk & Kommunikation Issue no. 1/2004
Published by IDG,the world's biggest publisher of computer-oriented trade periodicals.
 
Small but competent network monitor

 
INM gets top grade for usability

ASPECT Features and functions
GRADE 5. Very good functions, logical and easy to understand.
WEIGHTxGRADE 50 % × 5 = 2,5
ASPECT Usability
GRADE 5. Logical and simple user interface providing good overview. Good support - you get to talk directly to the programmers behind the product. Help files are pedagogically written.
WEIGHTxGRADE 20 % × 5 = 1,0
GRADE Platform support
BETYG 3. We would like to be able to install the program on the Unix/Linux platform.
WEIGHTxGRADE 30 % × 3 = 0,9
GRADE        4,4
Of course it's great when a product developed in Sweden holds its own against the competition. We have looked at the monitoring program from Härnösand-based Intellipool, and despite a few imperfections, it seems to be here to stay.

By: Sakib Sistek
Translation by: Anders Lotsson

In Härnösand is home to the company that develops INM, Intellipool Network Monitor - a monitoring application that should meet the requirements set by today's fast developments in the networking field. In a modern network, you want to be able to monitor your resources from one single point and to get an overview of all network units without installing software on the clients.

The application is very easy to install and it's configured in an attractive web interface. So all you need to check on INM is a web browser. The application has pretty modest system requirements: an 800-MHz processor and 128 megabytes of RAM.

New applications ought to be platform-independent, but INM is entirely Windows-based and we would like to see a version that support other platforms (Unix). Even though INM runs in a Windows environment, it can also monitor Unix systems.

No client installation required
Intellipool Network Monitor will analyze and monitor a large number of protocols, services and computers in the network, and it has special monitoring functions to make the application more secure, smooth and fun to work with. Considering that there are 37 different monitoring functions, it is obvious that the Intellipool programmers have put a lot of thought into all the parts.

The application is built around objects. Each object represents a physical network unit, either a router, a workstation or a server in the network.

The application is installed on one single machine (preferably a server) and the operating system perceives it as a system service called Intellipool Network Monitor. Using that machine, you can start monitoring the entire network. In other words, you don't have to install client programs on any other network unit.

Watch out, agents are coming!
That's possible because of the Autoscan function. It examines the network automatically using agents on all available units. Each agent is linked to a physical network unit. Green color indicates a normal-status agent in INM, and whenever a problem is detected, the color shifts to yellow. If the problem isn't handled, the color changes to red, which indicates an alert. In the alert status mode, the agent makes a list of actions, either for each object or for each agent.

 
WEBB:

• nok.idg.se/arkiv/listpdf.asp
(subscribers only)
• www.intellipool.com

Alert/report the way you want it
Using a large number of agents, INM will monitor and analyze different protocols and services. You can set various alert features to send you an e-mail or an SMS when a critical service or function is down, set levels for each alert and so on. The application will test defined services continuously and different agents can trigger a number of alert features.

The application will not only send the alert, it will also log almost everything that happens. The logging engine supports a number of different formats, such as Syslog, Windows Event Log, XML file or ODBC database. INM also has a quite flexible reporting system where you can view charts from several agents, a summary of downtime and your own images.

After our test drive of Intellipool Network Monitor, all tests showed reliable results for both Windows and Linux machines. Probing the network, that is, scanning it with the Autoscan feature,
 
 
FACTS:

Type of product: Software for network monitoring

Provider: Intellipool

Appr. price: The price is based on the number of monitored machines. For 5 objects (including one year of upgrade protection), it is 1,600 Swedish kronor; for 1,000 objects (including 2 years of upgrade protection), it is 30,000 Swedish kronor.

N&K's verdict: A products that's definitely on the market to stay.

turned out to be both smooth and fast enough. We activated a number of services such as HTTP, Ping, FTP, IMAP4, SNMP, SSH2 and Telnet on both Windows and Linux machines. Then we generated some "errors", for example by disabling some server services. The agents in charge of each individual service discovered the problems quickly and generated the alerts, which were sent by e-mail to the administrator. Activating the services CPU Load and Disksize requires authentication on the machines.

To sum up, Swedish Intellipool Network Monitor is an application we can recommend for your network. It isn't perfect yet, but it's getting there.

Sakib Sistek is a research engineer at Chalmers Lindholmen's Chanel Networking Laboratory. You can reach him at sistek@chl.chalmers.se

 

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