Version 15 of the network and system management tool provides a cool console.
Ipswitch has updated the
WhatsUp Gold user interface and VMware integration capabilities, making version
15 of the venerable tool for network and system monitoring and reporting well worth
considering for use in small and midsize IT organizations. The new ribbon
interface should ease administrative access to WhatsUp Gold's myriad monitoring
tools while also neatly presenting VMware resources in the improved
Even with its gussied up interface, WhatsUp Gold version 15 retains a gritty
focus on quickly identifying performance problems in a no-nonsense
green-yellow-red console that can now be integrated with Microsoft Windows
Active Directory to ease the administration of WhatsUp Gold users.
WhatsUp Gold became available on June 9 and costs $1,595 for a 25-user license.
I also tested the WhatsVirtual plug-in that became available the same day and
costs $1,495 for 25-device license. Ipswitch also released an updated Flow
Monitor plug-in that was not tested for this review.
WhatsUp Gold is a Windows-based tool and I installed it in a virtual Windows 7
Ultimate system with four processors and 4GB of RAM. I used the default Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition that was
included in the product install as well as IIS version 7. WhatsUp Gold is
supported when installed as a virtual machine in either VMware vSphere or
Microsoft Hyper-V environments. It's worth noting that WhatsVirtual monitors
only VMware environments. Our vSphere test environment runs on an HP DL380 G6
and an HP DL360 G6 that are configured as a cluster.
Network and system managers who have used WhatsUp Gold in the past will have no
trouble getting up to speed on version 15. Those who are new to WhatsUp Gold
will find a plethora of support materials. Besides a gigantic, 1,000-plus page user
guide, there are short video clips on many topics available from the help
system. Users don't have to make many adjustments to get good results out of
the box with WhatsUp Gold.
After adding SNMP and IP range information to the WhatsUp Gold discovery
engine, it was just a matter of minutes before I had a nearly complete inventory
of my physical systems. I prefer to use WhatsUp Gold in list view, not map
view. For all the effort Ipswitch made to clean up the interface, the
auto-mapping feature still looks like something from the late '90s, with icons
and system lables running rampant over each other. Once my physical network and
system discovery was complete, I added credentials to discover my VMware virtual
Like nearly every other virtual system management tool, WhatsUp Gold gets data
from VMware's vCenter. After specifying the vCenter IP address and user
credentials, WhatsUp Gold conducted a survey and generated an accurate layout
of my running virtual machines. New in this version of WhatsVirtual, the list
views of my systems were updated on the fly. I could see when a virtual
machine was moved from one ESX physical host to another.
While I got plenty of information about my physical network, the virtual
network inside my VMware environment remained unknown in my tests. IT managers
will still need to use vCenter to monitor and manage that virtual network.
What isn't new in WhatsUp Gold are the in-depth monitoring tools and reports. I
was able to set up polling intervals to check if my monitored systems were
available. I got cursory up/down notifications so that I would quickly know
when systems were in trouble. Once I started working on a problem system, there
were plenty of reports that documented performance over time so that I could
look for anomalies.
WhatsUp Gold puts all this information into an updated Web console. The
console can be configured so that different groups of users will see only
information that pertains to their job function. Icons representing monitored
systems can be put into screen widgets so that relevant information is
immediately available to IT staff.