Two other 'network' monitoring options

By Barry Nance, Network World |  Operating Systems

If you don't use Windows NT or you're really only interested in network monitoring rather than operating system monitoring, Dartware's InterMapper 3.0 or Ipswitch's WhatsUp Gold 5.0 might be just the ticket.

Dartware's InterMapper is a Macintosh-based tool that monitors a network for device status and availability. It's appropriate for AppleTalk-based networks consisting entirely or almost entirely of Macintosh computers.

Starting at a particular DNS name or IP address, InterMapper uses a combination of SNMP polls, IP pings, AppleTalk echo packets and Domain Name System (DNS) and Name Binding Protocol (NBP) queries to discover network devices. The SNMP requests InterMapper sends out include DNS server, User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Listener, Real Time Streaming Protocol, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, RADIUS, KeyServer, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, APC Uninterruptible Power Supply, Network Time Protocol (NTP), HTTP Proxy, HTTP Post, 4D Server and FileMaker Pro. Based on the hierarchical order in which the devices are discovered, InterMapper creates a map showing their connections. InterMapper can notify administrators of problems through e-mail, pager, AppleEvent or SNMP alert. For corrective action, it can cycle power through a PowerKey Pro unit (a remote-control type of power strip) to rather forcefully reboot a Macintosh server. InterMapper can't restart programs, launch repair utilities or update relational databases with SQL.

In addition to producing an SNMP-based map of the network, InterMapper can overlay the map with the history of one or more variables, such as switch or router availability. The overlaid image is termed a "strip chart," and it appears as a floating window linked to the map on which the network device exists. InterMapper can also log the data for later export into a database program (such as FileMaker Pro) for further analysis.

It presents a typical Macintosh interface that's easy to navigate, and it also offers a Web-based interface with customizable Web pages. By creating templates for the Web pages InterMapper displays, we were able to tailor its appearance to our liking. Each customizable Web page is essentially a server-side script containing HTML statements and variables whose values you can set.

InterMapper is a breeze to install. Unfortunately, the all-too-brief documentation is entirely online at Dartware's Web site. You'll need an Internet connection and browser whenever you want to refer to it.

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