by January 30, 2004 0 comments

Network management software has always been considered something that only large organizations could afford to implement. However, that’s not the case with the new network management software from AdventNet. For it’s meant for medium sized organizations that need network management software at reasonable price. OpManager is an unintrusive software that quietly gathers data about devices on your network and displays them in an easy to read interface. It tracks servers, desktops, routers, switches, and network printers on the network. Though one limitation with this version is that, it’s meant for networks that use only static IP addresses for all devices, including desktops. So, if your network uses a DHCP server to assign IP addresses to clients, then this software won’t give you accurate results. However, from company’s excellent online support, we found that the software’s next upgrade will work on networks with a DHCP server as well. This is likely to be out by March this year. 

You can
quickly monitor your network from anywhere through a web browser

The best thing about the software is that it’s extremely easy to use and doesn’t require much time to get used to. It provides a quick overview of your entire network in one simple interface. Not only that, but the interface is also accessible through a Web browser, so the network administrator isn’t tied to a single machine when viewing the network. 

The software gives basic information about the devices on your network such as their IP addresses, whether they’re up or not, common services they’re running, etc. Plus, it gives device specific info. For instance, it informs you how many ports are down on which switches on your network, in case of network printers, it informs you their ink status, paper tray status or whether there’s a paper jam. If the device supports SNMP, then it can display even more information. In case of a server for instance, you can view information such as the CPU utilization, memory usage and services running on them. 

At one glance, you can tell whether each network device is up (checkmark), supports SNMP (star mark), which services are running
(IMAP, FTP, etc)

OpManager’s interface has been made very easy for viewing and finding different devices. It has broken up the interface into three window panes. The top left pane lists the views you can have, such as networks, individual categories – servers, desktops, alarms, and finally inventory. The time to discover all the devices, of course depends up on the size of your network, subnets, etc. Plus, it depends on the device polling intervals you’ve configured in OpManager itself. Clicking on a view, say servers, will display all servers it has discovered on your network in the right pane. Also, in one glance, you can tell whether the server is up, SNMP enabled, applications running on it (web, ftp, SQL, etc), IP address, and the OS on it.

While this is easy to use, a couple of things need improvement. For instance, under networks view, when you open a particular subnet, the right window-pane shows all the devices in icon view. You may however, would like to change this view to list small icons, etc, so that it becomes quick and easy to browse. Also, this option is there for viewing servers, but not for desktops, routers, switches, and printers. Another issue is that, you can’t operate the interface using a keyboard, instead, a mouse is required for it. For instance, you can’t navigate through the various views list using the arrow keys, nor can you switch between different window-panes of the interface using the tab. 

Price : Rs. 35,775 for single user license
Key Specs : Very easy to use interface, monitors desktops, servers, switches, routers, and printers, availability and response time monitoring 
Contact : AdventNet Development Center India,
Tel : 22431115. 
E-mail : 

The third window-pane displays an updated graph of your network status by severity and category. You can change this view to a pie chart that will give a break up of all active alarms by severity (critical, trouble, attention, service down). You can also change it to a bar chart or a table. Not only that, but you can click on various portions of the graph to get more information in the right window-pane. So if a major chunk of the pie chart has critical alarms, then you can click this portion and all devices that have raised critical alarms will be displayed in the right window-pane.

OpManager also has good reporting capabilities, wherein it can generate reports of your device inventory, and various statistics, such as top 10 servers by CPU utilization, disk utilization and more. This can be on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. And the reports can be saved in pdf, csv, or HTML formats. 

Overall, the current version is very good for organizations using static IP addresses for monitoring and managing all their devices on the network. 

Anil Chopra

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