Todays tale from the front lines of network management comes to us from the UK. When a new network manager joined a British toy retailer with a huge store in London and nearly a dozen more spread throughout the UK, he immediately came face-to-face with complaints that business users were being dropped off the network intermittently.

aliens-action-figures-toys-necaHe frustratingly tried to chase down the intermittent drop-offs that would later seemingly resolve themselves. He found the firm had purchased Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold network management and monitoring software some time before he came on board but it hadn’t yet been put into production.

Although he was new to the product, he and his team were able to set it up quickly. WhatsUp Gold attacked the intermittent performance problems, performing a trend analysis linking performance metrics to the dates and time when a user got dropped from the network. This helped uncover the root cause and prevent future occurrences.

The IT team leveraged a single dashboard view to see the status of every device and real-time alerts to catch problems early. Combined with reports to correlate network performance with network problems, the mostly generalist IT staff can optimize network performance without specialized trouble-shooting skills.

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WhatsUp Gold continues to make his team proactive in addressing and solving problems quickly. He reckons that his team’s quality of service has risen to the same or higher level than larger, more specialized teams he has managed. “WhatsUp Gold deserves credit,” he says. “It does everything it says it does on the box.”

If you want to play with network management software from Ipswitch, download WhatsUp Gold free for 30 days.

Today’s tale from the front lines of network monitoring comes from a sysadmin from a large CT-based financial services company. One day not long ago he was performing routinely scheduled website maintenance at his office in Tampa, FL. Everything seemed rather normal. The web servers were humming along.

Until the complaints started pouring in. About a problem they couldn’t see. And neither could he.

invisibleAs it turns out, users – including middle management – hadn’t been able to get access to the website for 45 minutes. And they were seriously unhappy.  

Naturally, I was blamed for the outage,” he reports.

He used WhatsUp Gold from the network management division of Ipswitch to see the problem he had only heard about. A few minutes later, after checking out the single dashboard and glancing at a few reports, he saw that HTTP/HTTPS/Ping had gone down on several sites. He traced the problem to an F5 load balancer issue.

In a flash, he restored access to the site.

donkey“[Without WhatsUp Gold] it would have never been solved and I would have been blamed for a production outage! CYA – cover your ass – because the blame was pushed off of me and my maintenance!”

“Also, people actually being able to work again was a nice bonus.”

If you’ve found yourself in this situation (or are looking not to be), you can try our software free for 30 days and see for yourself.

By Matt Cline, Senior Systems Administrator at Optim Healthcare, a network of hospitals and orthopedic medical practices based in Savannah, Georgia.

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The ultimate goal for our business – IT included – is to deliver the best care and experience for every patient and community we serve.  And this all depends on two key IT resources:

  1. The electronic health record (EHR) system that our 1,400 internal users access to track and update patient records. When this system is unavailable, the staff must revert back to paper records and update the EHR system later. If that happens, patient information could get lost in transition.
  2. Our website and patient portals are also a critical component of our success – much like any company’s websites. Current and prospective patients expect 24/7 access to our portals, whether they want to pay a bill or research our services, and it’s our job to ensure that need is met.

The quicker we can diagnose an application performance monitoring problem – before it impacts our staff or patients – the better.

I use WhatsUp Gold Application Performance Monitor from Ipswitch. In this post I will cover some highlights from the first phase of its implementation. At that time I created and then began using profiles for:

We first tested the Ipswitch IIS profile on a production server and immediately discovered the unknown: 3-4 major deficiencies were the root causes of slowdowns in our database. We found a similar problem in our Microsoft SQL server.  If we hadn’t run the test, we wouldn’t have found these deficiencies issues until a significant slowdown or, even worse, downtime.

The unified dashboard is the best interface I’ve used for these types of tasks. I get a single view at a highly granular level and am getting the data I need to proactively fix problems and eliminate downtime.

I’d be glad to hear about your experiences managing application performance. Feel free to post a comment.

Several months ago, Ipswitch engaged Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) to research and EMA White Paper Coverprovide an independent opinion on network management software licensing options, which base price on either devices or active elements being monitored. One outcome of this research is a white paper EMA authored, “What You Should Know about Licensing for Network Monitoring Solutions.”

I recently met with Daniel Okine, Senior Technical Product Manager here at Ipswitch and our resident guru on pricing strategies to ask him why we engaged EMA to research this subject. “IT professionals know that licensing options can be confusing and that clear information on the true costs of ownership is valuable,” commented Daniel. “We also wanted an independent point of view to challenge our pricing approach and be sure it is the best option for our customers.”

The EMA research paper explains the three most popular pricing strategies for network management systems, each of which is based on the number of:

(1)    Devices or

(2)    Active interfaces/ports or

(3)    Active measurements/test.

EMA discusses the pros and cons of each approach, and the reader can complete a questionnaire to help him/her determine the best pricing strategy based on their organization’s requirements.

“Ipswitch follows the device-based licensing approach,” Daniel explained. “With device-based licensing, IT can more easily calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO). We have learned that this type of licensing also delivers the best TCO.” EMA agrees that device-based licensing is the best alternative if your network changes frequently or if you are uncertain how many interfaces or ports you will need to monitor on-going.

One of the biggest problems with element-based pricing is that it’s hard to calculate accurate license count requirements. Some vendors, for example, will undersell the license count and then exercise their audit rights at the end of the year. If they find that the customer is using more licenses than what they paid for – which often happens – they will charge the customer with “True up” costs. Nothing disturbs the CFO more than True up costs.

The white paper is a quick read, and for those of you have yet to buy network monitoring software or are reviewing your current costs, you may want to keep this research and the short questionnaire handy.

For those of you who have purchased a system, please share your experience on what pricing strategy works best for you and why.

Network Monitoring tools are a must-have for organizations of all sizes. When evaluating solutions focus is often placed on comparing features and ease of use, but understanding the total cost of ownership is very important. The core licensing structure, whether it is device-based, port- or interface-based, or measurement-based, can have a big impact on license costs up front and the administrative workload for maintaining the solution in production over the lifetime of the product.

Join Jim Frey, VP of Research, at Enterprise Management Associates and Brian M. Jacobs, Senior Product Manager, at Ipswitch – Network Management Division, as they discuss what you should know about licensing for network monitoring solutions.

This webinar will cover:

  • Understanding the Cost of Enterprise Network Monitoring Tools
  • Licensing Models – Similarities and Differences
  • Choosing a Licensing Strategy That is Best for You
  • An Example:  WhatsUp Gold Licensing Approach
  • Case Studies:  Device-based Licensing Experiences
  • Key Takeaways  and Q&A

Date and time:
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
10am US EST


Ipswitch Network Management Division is proud to announce that our award winning IT management solution WhatsUp Gold v16 is now offering its web interface in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese, at no additional cost. Instructions to help you transition WhatsUp Gold from English to the language of your choice is available in Japanese, Chinese and Russian.

For more information and to download WhatsUp Gold v16 in your preferred language click here!

We are pleased to announce that WhatsUp Gold won Silver in the 2013 Redmond Reader’s Choice Awards Best of the Best for General Network Monitoring Tool.

“We are honored to receive this award from the Redmond community,” said Ennio Carboni, President and General Manager of Ipswitch’s Network Management Division. “We take pride in the fact that our network management tool, WhatsUp Gold, is an easy to use and cost-effective solution for organizations of all sizes and is viewed in the same class with enterprise solution providers.”

The winners of the General Network Monitoring Tool category are:

  • GOLD: Cisco Syslog Analyzer
  • SILVER: Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold
  • BRONZE: IBM Tivoli NetView

The awards appear in the February issue and online.

Click here to see all of our awards.

Five years ago today the United States and Canada began Data Privacy Day as an extension of Europe’s Data Protection Day.  The goal of this day is to educate and empower people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.

This effort is run by the National Cyber Security Alliance, a non-profit, public private partnership focused on cyber security education for all online citizens.  To learn more about Data Privacy Day and how you can stay protected or get involved, visit

Ipswitch offers many products, resources, and tools to help protect your infrastructure against security threats and loss of key information. Learn more about solutions available and get a free 30-day trial of the WhatsUp Gold Suite.

We are honored to be nominated as a finalist in four categories for the 2013 Network Computing Awards!

According to the Network Computing site, “The Network Computing Awards were set up to recognize the solutions and the companies that have been most impressive in helping organizations function better through getting the most out of their networks.”

Ipswitch has been considered for four categories this year:

– Network Management Product of the Year
– Software Product of the Year
– Product of the Year
– Contribution to IT 

We need your help and your vote to win!

Vote Today!

Amazon and Google were in the headlines in 2012 for their highly visible outages, proving just how susceptible companies are to IT disruptions, and the negative impact on sales and productivity they can have.

Before jumping into your 2013 projects, IT Managers must establish baselines to understand exactly where they stand.

As networks become more complex (virtual vs. physical, wired vs. wireless, etc.), the pressure is on to improve performance and availability of business-critical and customer-facing applications.

To get better control of your network, here are four important baselines to create:

  • Inventory baseline: You can’t control what you don’t know exists.
  • Performance baseline: Start with the ‘big five’ – CPU, memory, disk and interface utilization, as well as ping latency – gauge key application consumption and optimal thresholds.
  • Configuration baseline: Understand how current configurations impact security, compliance and overall control of the network.
  • Bandwidth and data flow baseline: Measure what’s happening on the network, when and how much bandwidth is consumed.

Are you interested in learning more? Download our complete how-to guide on establishing effective IT baselines.

Last week the Ipswitch Network Management team trekked up to Toronto for the Softchoice Partner Launch 2013, a three day sales kickoff for Softchoice, a North American  IT solutions and services  provider.  On the third day partners had complete access to representatives from the North American Telesales Organization in a “speed dating” setting.  The Network Management team’s presentation encircled the theme of BYOD and how the WhatsUp Gold suite can help manage an increase in network density.  The event was a great success and was topped off with a special appearance from the WhatsUp Gold Ninja!