Sharpewares NetWatch monitor provides adequate network oversight, gathering logs, trending data and sending alerts to IT staff if performance reaches a critical point. But users must be prepared to wait awhile if help is needed.
NetWatch, which shipped last month, runs on Windows NT or 2000 and NetWare. The Network Edition can track 20 devices and costs $149 per license. For unlimited device tracking, the Enterprise Edition costs $349 per license.
The Network Edition worked reasonably well in tests; the interface automatically logged basic network statistics, and the alert log recorded and color-coded warnings and problems.
However, when I couldnt get the Trend Analysis feature to work, I discovered NetWatchs biggest drawback—support from Sharpeware (www.sharpeware.com), which is based in Scotland, is difficult to get. The U.S. telephone number routes callers to the home base, and the 8-hour time difference will likely derail most attempts to get assistance.
When I requested support, I was directed to use e-mail to get a response from Scotland. A day later, I got a reply. Most IT workers wont tolerate a wait this long for resolution.