Improved Installation

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2011-12-08 Print this article Print


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.

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.

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.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). FrankÔÇÖs duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP TechnologyÔÇÖs Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test CenterÔÇÖs review content into both CRNÔÇÖs print and web properties. He also contributed to NetseminarÔÇÖs, hosted sessions at CMPÔÇÖs Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test CenterÔÇÖs contributions to CMPÔÇÖs Channel Web online presence and CMPÔÇÖs latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMPÔÇÖs Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel GroupÔÇÖs publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel GroupÔÇÖs specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis EnterpriseÔÇÖs tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a presidentÔÇÖs award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including NovellÔÇÖs CNE, MicrosoftÔÇÖs MCP.Frank can be reached at

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