Address network problems efficiently

Does your network traffic slow down and your packet loss increase as you add users to your network? Adding users to your network can increase the strain on your servers. LANWARE's NTManage 2.0 is a network-monitoring program that can help you and your staff deal with network problems efficiently.

NTManage is a Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) monitor that runs on Windows NT. The product uses SNMP to monitor traps and retrieve information about SNMP-compliant devices on your network.

The software has helpful features for monitoring your network, including realtime fault detection, proactive performance management, and automated local and remote notification. An autodiscovery feature automatically finds devices on your network and creates a map of your network topology. NTManage monitors system uptime, bandwidth consumption, packet counts, network errors, and other object values in SNMP-manageable devices. You can view these values and get a representation of your network's health in graphical formats.

The heart of NTManage is its graphical representation of your network environment. This feature, the NTManage map pane, uses icons to represent devices on your network. Lines connect the icons to illustrate the connections between devices. The map pane can present the topology of your entire network or a portion of your network, depending on how you configure the display. Screen 1 shows an example of NTManage's representation of a network's topology.

NTManage includes a scripting language based on Visual Basic (VB). You use this scripting language to manage error conditions and objects with a collection of objects, methods, and properties. When the software detects an event, a script file automatically launches to process the condition. In addition to monitoring SNMP traps, the product can monitor TCP/IP ports. For example, you can configure the product to monitor port 80 (the HTTP port) for traffic and alert you if it detects a problem on that port.

You can configure NTManage to perform one of several functions when it deletes a problematic event. The software can record the event, play a .wav file, or send an email message or a numeric or alphanumeric page to a systems administrator.

Installing NTManage is simple but requires several steps. To install the product, you must have TCP/IP and the SNMP service installed on your host. I used my Micronics-based dual-Pentium II server running NT 4.0 to test NTManage. I had to install the SNMP service, reboot my server, apply Service Pack 3 (SP3), and reboot my server again before I could install the software.

To configure the product, I ran the NTManage executable and performed an autodiscovery operation on my network. This process prompts you for a range of IP addresses, then attempts to ping each device within the address range. In my test environment, the process was quick because I use only a 255-IP address block in the 10.1.1.x range.

After the autodiscovery completed, I had a functional network map. From this map, I could observe machines on my network and determine their operational characteristics. For example, I could see the amount of free disk space on my servers, the number of network connections to my Web server, and the percentage of network utilization on my hubs. You can configure the software's display of these parameters according to your needs.

NTManage's price per console is reasonable. Each console costs $2500; for this price, a console can manage an unlimited number of servers, workstations, and network devices. Although the pricing structure is attractive for a company with a large number of machines, smaller environments might find the price excessive, and competing products can offer similar features at substantially reduced prices. You can download a 30-day trial version of NTManage from LANWARE's Web site.

NTManage 2.0
Contact: LANWARE * 713-975-8050
Web: http://www.lanware.net
Price: $2500 per console
System Requirements: Windows NT Server or Workstation 3.51 or 4.0, TCP/IP network protocol and Simple Network Management Protocol