Web-Based Monitoring A La Carte
IPSentry has a bevy of features that you can buy as needed; what's lacking is a Web-based administration interface.
IPSentry from RGE Inc. provides plenty of functionality, although it
has an annoying way of wanting to kill previous instances of itself when
you launch the program to administer it. Furthermore, it doesn’t actually
have a Web-based interface for configuration, but outputs its reports
in HTML format. However, it does provide a fair bit of functionality and
allows you to purchase what you need a la carte. It’s also the only roundup
product with a freeware version for use in a home-based network, as it
can run on Windows 95 and higher.
To install the software, launch the product EXE. If you’re a licensed
user, you’ll need to select Register Now during installation to enter
your license keys. Next, the IPSentry status window is displayed, indicating
the monitoring task’s progress. Selecting Options from the Edit (yes,
I said Edit) menu allows you to bring up the configuration interface for
IPSentry. (Note to RGE: Edit should contain Cut, Copy, Paste and so on—not
the menu option to configure the software.)
The configuration of IPSentry is broken down into three sets of settings:
- System settings—For configuring frequency of monitoring; installing
IPSentry as a service; configuring logging options, telnet and remote
access; automatic report creation; and the ability to import and export
settings for backup.
- Modem settings—For enabling and configuring modem use for
paging operators when an alert is triggered.
- Server/machine monitoring—For configuring what you want monitored,
how to be alerted and what corrective action should take place.
You can monitor network nodes (computers and devices); network drives
and shares; Windows services; and a whole selection of available add-ins,
including SMTP/POP3 e-mail round-trip tests, ODBC databases, Performance
Monitor counter values and the ability to start and stop Windows services.
For each monitor, you can specify a different username and password for
authentication, allowing you to run IPSentry on a machine not in your
Active Directory forest or NT domain.
You can also create dependencies between monitors to ensure that you
don’t try monitoring a file if the machine on which it resides is down.
Another notable feature is the ability to create “reverse alerts” to notify
you when something is up rather than down. For example, you may want to
configure an alert when a file’s placed in a specific location and then
notify someone or execute a script. This can be handy for organizations
that need to know when a client places a file on an FTP site, for example.
The set of options available when an alert takes place is quite laudable.
IPSentry is the only product reviewed that has an interface for control
of X10 devices. This allows you to, for instance, turn lights on and off
when something goes wrong. You can send e-mail (obviously), sound an audible
alert (play a .wav file), notify one or more individuals by pages, launch
a program, configure an Add-in alert or insert a SYSLOG entry on a computer.
|RGE’s IPSentry provides easy-to-read reports in HTML.
(Click image to view larger version.)
IPSentry offers a lot of features, but its lack of a Web-based administration
interface makes it the odd man out in this
evaluation. Its capabilities are excellent (though not as comprehensive
as SiteScope), and it did produce the most-easily understood report of
any product in the roundup.
IPSentry 4.5, from $465 for a single license to $8,195 for enterprise
license; RGE, Inc., (317) 745-3398, www.ipsentry.com.
Damir Bersinic, MCSE, MCDBA, MCSA, MCT, is an independent consultant, trainer and author.