For most companies, a new year means a clean slate to renew goals and focus on success. Here at Ipswitch, we started the year releasing major improvements to WhatsUp Gold with version 16.4.
Diving Deep into WhatsUp Gold 16.4
In a previous blog post, my colleague Kevin Conklin outlined the general highlights of these updates. In this post, I will take a deeper dive into each improvement and its implications for monitoring your networks.
For those of you who want a super deep dive, check out this video that provides an 11 minute technical overview of WhatsUp Gold 16.4.
SSL Certificate Monitor
If you are responsible for web servers that use HTTPS, this monitor can save you serious embarrassment and potential loss of customers and revenue. If a certificate expires on your web server, your customers will be shown a scary expiration message instead of your web page. While the message does allow your customers to get to your website via a special link, many customers will lose trust in your website and will simply abandon the page, and might never return.
To solve this nasty problem, the SSL Certificate Monitor will alert you a number of days before a certificate expires, based on a warning time frame that you select. A common setting for this monitor is 30 or 60 days. Thus, if an alert is triggered, you will have plenty of time to get a new certificate and load it before the current certificate expires. Your customers will never know.
In addition to checking for certificate expiration, the monitor also tests to see if the DNS name of the web server matches the canonical name in the certificate. This is also a frequently encountered configuration error which can cause angst for your customers. With this monitor, you can ensure that this configuration error never happens.
File Content Monitor
In WhatsUp Gold 16.4 we added a great new tool for the IT admin’s toolbox: the file content monitor. The monitor is deceptively simple. It scans a text file or files of your choosing looking for a string, and then alerts if it finds the string. This opens up WhatsUp Gold to monitoring lots of things that it couldn’t before, except through custom scripting.
A common use case is to monitor the logs of custom applications. Let’s say that a custom application puts the word ‘error’ into a log text file when some problem occurs. Using this monitor, you can be alerted when this happens. We’ve made sure that the monitor remembers where it was in the log file between polls, so it won’t alert again on the same error. Or, you can have the monitor read the log file from the start on each poll, which handles other logging use cases, such as when a log file is re-written on a regular interval. This is one of those monitors that can be used in all sorts of creative ways in diverse networks.
Flow Monitor is a great plugin for WhatsUp Gold. It gives IT admins a detailed view of their network like no other part of the WhatsUp Gold platform. We’ve made a couple of key changes to Flow Monitor in this release.
First, on the Flow Sources page, we have added better sorting and filtering. You are now able to filter sources based on DNS names and IP addresses, or any part thereof. If you want to see the sources that have interfaces in the 192.168.1.x network, no problem. Just type that in ‘192.168.1’. In addition, we’ve added better sorting on the sources page. Both these improvements have been asked for by our customers, especially for those dealing with a large number of flow sources.
In addition to these interface improvements, we’ve also added two new reports: Top Endpoints, and Top Endpoint Groups. A common use for Flow Monitor is to show which devices on your network are sending or receiving the most data. We have reports like Top Senders and Top Receivers for this. But we’ve never had a report that showed the devices on your network based on total traffic, both sending and receiving. That’s what the Top Endpoints report does. In addition, like many of our other reports, we have a version of it meant for groups of IP addresses that you define, giving you a way to make your environment more understandable. With these two reports, you can really get at your bandwidth hogs like never before.
These improvements will make using monitors in WhatsUp Gold easier and more user friendly. In 2015, we identified the places WhatsUp Gold could be stronger and more useful on a day-to-day basis. This work prepared us to launch these exciting upgrades in 2016 and start the year off right. Look for my next blog post for another deep dive into more new features.