Belkin wins points in the ease-of-use category with its Pulse Network Monitor, a new device and hosted service duo thats geared toward IT technicians or network managers charged with overseeing the networks of small and midsize businesses.
In eWEEK Labs tests of Pulse, which shipped April 18, we found that the product offers the advantages of a hosted software solution along with the simplicity of an appliance and merits consideration by companies seeking a monitoring and remote access solution that they can get up and running with minimal hassle.
Belkins Pulse can monitor any device with an IP address, such as servers, routers or switches, and offered us a solid means of ensuring that particular network services, such as FTP shares or Web sites, were up and running.
In addition, Pulse ships with agent software for Windows hosts, which allowed us to dive deeper while keeping tabs on particular processes, services, events and storage statistics on the Windows Server 2003 machines we tested.
When Pulse detected outages in services wed asked it to monitor, the device sent out a series of e-mails to us with "panic" or "warning" alerts, depending on the notification thresholds wed set.
We were also impressed with Pulses capacity for enabling remote access to the nodes on our network. Working through Belkins nifty Flash-based Pulse Dashboard, we were able to single out particular systems on our network, specify the port through which we wanted to access these machines and then connect to our remote systems through an IP address/port combination provided by the Dashboard.
These remote tunnels were accessible only from the host through which wed accessed the Dashboard, and the tunnels were set to time out automatically after 60 minutes.
The connection between the Pulse device and Belkins service is secured via SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) with 168-bit encryption, which is essential considering the sensitivity of the communications that travel across that link.
Subscriptions to Pulse vary in price depending on the subscription term and number of nodes monitored. Prices range from $1,499 for one year and as many as 10 devices to $5,999 for three years and up to 50 devices.
Technical Analyst Tiffany Maleshefski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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