Find out how Keith and Steve utilize WhatsUp Gold within Ipswitch's Lexington, MA office!
Tell us a little about yourself
Steve: We work in the IT department within Ipswitch. We've actually just finished moving offices, which was a big project from an IT standpoint. WUG was monumentally helpful, though, since we already had our devices discovered and mapped.
How are you using WUG?
Keith: We use WUG almost every day, usually monitoring any server applications that are in question. We can easily check in on performance monitors while troubleshooting, send out reports, and fix any problems we find. We had one such incident, when we used WUG to trend database servers that were over-taxed, which helped us figure out that the Disk IO input/output was very high and causing performance problems. These performance problems had constantly been blamed on the network, but WUG was able to show that the problem was actually that the server had too little RAM. We were quickly able to remedy the problem by migrating to a 64 bit OS.
Do you have any unique configurations?
Steve: We have a few different unique configurations, and we repurpose WUG within the company to do many different things. For example, we use displays showing not only network infrastructure data, but also customized sales-related items to help the sales team gauge their success that quarter, including month-to-date sales and target vs. actual results.
Keith: It was really just a custom graph. We designed it to be a meter, and the arrow would point to green when they reached their numbers.
Steve: We were able to do this by writing some SQL queries. . In addition we also monitor things like printer toner levels, server performance, our VMware infrastructure, power disruptions in our server room, bandwidth utilization for all of our offices, our wireless network, and server room temperature and humidity. We also monitor remotely hosted applications-the File Transfer division has a couple of hosted sites-so that tech support can be alerted if there's an application fault or problem.
Keith: I think a lot of people don't understand how powerful a tool it can be. It does a lot more than simply ping devices. One of the important things we monitor is website content and e-mail. It can directly validatewhether the Web site or e-mail is working-can it send a message, or not? You're finding out more than just, "Can I ping a Web site." You're able to see whether or not it's able to render content.
Which reports do you use the most?
Keith: I've been using more reports lately, since you can easily e-mail them to multiple people-especially the log of which actions fired and when. This way, I can prove to someone that they got an alert. I also use the state change timeline, which is a really helpful troubleshooting tool.
Which workspace view do you prefer?
Keith: I actually created my own workspace view that shows "top ten" graphs of the network. I don't usually think the information shown on the map is the most interesting.
What's your favorite thing about WUG?
Steve: I like the bandwidth monitoring through NetFlow, because it finds a lot of hidden things and helps you get a grasp of what's going on. You wouldn't necessarily be aware of particular processes, because they're not always as obvious as applications. It also helps disprove that the network is causing application performance problems.
Keith: One of the best things about WUG is that it helps network administration justify their need for more bandwidth.
Do you have any interesting applications of WUG?
Steve: Well, one of the nice things about WUG is that it lets you do a lot of different things, and I don't think everyone really takes advantage of the functionality. For example, it allows you to create a database list of all of the configuration for networking equipment, and then you can compare the before and after, which was really helpful when we moved offices. Once the systems were brought online, we could compare configurations to ensure they were identical to the configurations prior to the move. This is especially important if you use Cisco products.
How frequently do you use discovery?
Keith: We don't really run discoveries often anymore. WUG's helped us get the situation under control. Instead, we'll just add new devices and update it as needed.
How long have you been using WUG?
Keith: I'd actually never heard of WhatsUp Gold until I started here. It was pretty easy to learn, though. Before switching to WUG, "monitoring" was whatever the device could do; if the e-mail system is down, we aren't going to get the alerts until we check our e-mail. Now, we can get cell phone pages via SMS alerts.