Product Review

WhatsUp Gold – Monitoring for Admins by Admins

Recently I have been trying to get back into the swing of things and not only learn about all the tools I need for my job but also what else is out there. I was asked to have a look at WhatsUp Gold and also I did have a customer mention this product and how it may compare to one of the ones I currently talk about in my current role so this instantly piqued my interest.

Admittedly my first reaction was ‘Wait, hang on wasn’t this that application that woke me up at unruly hours with the siren from the Blackberry’ In short yes but that was mainly down the way it was configured as we did not use any of the automation really at the time and as soon as I heard this in my mind I wanted to straight off the bat try and dissolve that negativity. Things move on and as such should be re-evaluated as the industry is always changing.

The core product does so so much more now and has a plethora of integrations built right in out of the box. One that did catch my eye which I must look into was the Rest API feature allowing you to write custom rules to monitor 3rd party or even in-house applications.

Of course, it still has the core functionality that I remember of the up-down graphs but you can also now report on latency and a few other metrics. It of course has integrations for VMware vCentre, Hyper-V and two of the larger hyper scalers AWS and Microsoft Azure.

There is also support for other 3rd party devices such as Meraki and it’s a shame my demo network is currently offline or that would have been great to see. There, of course, is the Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) module which I will show later but this could also be great for MSPs or larger organisations as you can have a failover cluster or even remote nodes from which you can pull data back in.

I am going to go sideways a bit at first as well some may see this as a negative but for me, the installation took a little longer than I wanted but their product did stop me twice to ensure I had a great user experience. Something these days not many things do as we are all guilty of the check minimum specifications and next, next and finish! We are then the first to complain when the user experience is sub-par.

It may be small but it was great to see when I wanted to incorporate ElasticSearch the install wizard checked the system and prompted me that it was not up to scratch. It is little things like this that I think add value to a product as the VM I had built was similar to the minimum specification below

I of course was foiled once again by drive space as below but let’s be fair trying to get that into one dialogue box probably would have not been the easiest thing to do

Personally, I really liked this as I mentioned briefly above yes it did mean a few tweaks but it did also ensure that I would have got a good platform for the tool to run effectively on.

Once I was past this the install itself was self-explanatory and also was great that the executable appeared to have everything it needed bundling with it including SQL express

Once the install was done it was a simple case of setting an Admin password along with confirming a few boxes. This is where we then go to set up the first discovery as shown below, unlike me here in my demo I would highly suggest setting up the credentials prior to this so it has its best way of discovering items

Once it’s done you do get quite a cool map, as above it is best to try and provide it with a few credentials so that it can interrogate the devices so that you get a data-rich view. I would also set up a regular scan by selecting discover and then New Scan, from here this dialogue box appears and this is where you can select what you want this to go out and pull back. I would maybe split some of the scans so they perform quickly and also you can be granular on what credentials you want to use which may also limit the traffic going off to the cloud providers. Remember many charge you for the data in and out!

In this next screen, you can specify the credentials as you may have different ones for systems used or even production and test.

There are a few good options here especially if you have SLAs you need to report to and need to ensure the scan has run

You can now define your schedule, I have set mine to once a day but if your environment does not change much you could set this to every few days. Please note that the device poll is different to the scan and this will be done more regularly on connected devices.

Finally set a new schedule and you are set!

Your WhatsUp Gold instance will now go off and discover your devices. If you wish to monitor devices that are discovered you select it from the device list and then Update Monitoring if this does not have an agent installed.

From here I would wait sometime before digging around as you want some useable data to flow into the product so the dashboards become useful. For one I really liked the Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) as I was able to even spot some of the VLANs on my switches with relatively little effort

As more data comes in you can start to enrich this as you can see below I can see how my VMs then interact with the logical and physical counterparts. Here you can see the VMware vCentre along with the DC and Cluster of where things sit.

A few other bits I want to point out is that fact the built-in dashboard can help you adopt this quickly showing you the relevant data such as below

The monitoring selections especially for the historic OS are also quite pleasant to see, you do also spot the REST API and PowerShell scripts you can do here too.

So that is it for now before any kind of deep dives! There, of course, are many features I have not explored yet such as web/application monitoring, and exploring the cloud plugins but initial impressions are that I am quite impressed with what you get out of the box quite quickly. I can highly recommend downloading a demo that has all the features unlocked from here

Still want to learn more do check out the on-demand webinar over here

Note: I have been compensated for this post and commentary. All the thoughts and opinions in the post are mine and not linked to the company or the current company I am working for

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