One of the first things I noticed was the improved installation procedure. Installation, which wasn't that complex with PRTG V8, has been further simplified, allowing administrators to spend more time on the more important aspects of the product, as opposed to spending the day with installation issues. The installation questions have been reduced, as have the number of installation screens, and the language in the installation questions is now much clearer. As with V8, V9 includes its own Web server application and data storage capabilities, eliminating the need to set up those elements on other systems. Other noticeable changes include an updated interface, which, thanks to a redesigned GUI, sports a cleaner, easier to understand look. However, users of previous versions will still feel right at home, as much of the terminology remains the same, making the transition from PRTG V8 to V9 that much easier, while ensuring that the product remains easy to use for the newly minted network administrator.The Enterprise Console should prove to be a useful tool for those offering infrastructure hoteling, as well as those looking to offer MSP-like services, where multiple entities need to be kept separate, but monitored as a whole. That leads us to another major enhancement of the product-the ability to monitor more devices than ever and more things about those devices. For example, PRTG now includes a much larger subset of WMI sensors, including WMI Physical Disk, WMI Security Center and a WMI-based Windows Scheduled Task reporting element. Also worth noting is the inclusion of additional sensors for Linux and Unix servers, as well as the ability to monitor services such as DHCP, DNS, Websites and so on. The enhanced sensors go hand in hand with improved monitoring capabilities-administrators can now monitor IPv6 elements, such as HTTP, SNMP, ICMP and WMI. In addition, the product now supports the ability to run a packet sniffer on IPv6 traffic, which will surely be a handy tool for those troubleshooting the transition to IPv6 in their data centers. PRTG also offers the ability to create custom sensors that allow administrators to include devices that are not natively supported. However, most devices on the market are well-covered, and having to create a custom sensor may be a rarity for typical network monitoring chores. Speaking of customization, V9 now includes the ability to create customized device tree libraries. In other words, administrators can now design a treelike structure that groups monitored elements together in a fashion that best suits the needs of the administrator. That library approach lends itself well to task division, as well as defining monitored groups, which in turn becomes a valuable capability for those pursuing roles-based administration. Roles-based administration is further enhanced with integration to Active Directory, where a single sign-on approach can be used to define what an administrator can and can't do with PRTG. That's a good idea for those MSPs looking to grant administrative controls to particular customers while isolating their virtual infrastructure management from other customers.
One of the most notable enhancements is the product's new Enterprise Console, which does a good job of rolling up multiple servers, network segments and so on into a manageable single pane of glass view of the overall network. The console provides the ability to drill down into a particular device with just a few mouse clicks or quickly perform operations that can be inclusive across multiple servers.