Paessler AG's latest version of its network monitoring suite—PRTG Network Monitor version 8—is now available for general release, adding new features including fail-over clustering and native Linux monitoring. Paessler has also simplified its licensing model so that all additional features and add-ons are included for free.

The package includes more than 80 different sensor types preconfigured for monitoring operations from VoIP applications to Web sites, e-mail servers, databases, applications, virtual environments and more.

"PRTG 8 takes our solution to a new level in a variety of ways," said Dirk Paessler, chief executive officer and founder of Paessler AG. "In addition to dozens of technological enhancements, our all-in-one licensing model is more cost-effective and makes your job easier. This gives our users a major advantage over users of other network monitoring solutions, yet we still offer the most cost-effective option amongst our direct competition."

Ken Sanofsky, Paessler general manager, North America, told eSecurityPlanet.com that one of PRTG 8's key new features is higher security through the PRTG cluster function, which allows users to build a fail-safe distributed monitoring system.

"The top of our list of new features in version 8 is that we've now introduced fail-over clustering for our servers," Sanofsky said. "We can now introduce a higher level of security for the IT department. We offer anywhere from one clustered server to up to four clustered servers."

He added, "With our clustering technology, all servers in the cluster are monitoring the data and are all live and active. If the master goes down, there's no hiccup. The next server in the chain will just pick up and start monitoring. Once the master server is back up, it will take over once again."

Paessler also completely redesigned its Web interface to make it simpler to use. In addition, the company has added support for a mini-HTML interface for mobile devices, including iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices. Sanofsky noted that with the iPhone app, available through the iTunes App Store, IT managers can not only receive alerts about network status, they can take action.

"Every once in a while, even an IT manager has to leave his office," Sanofsky said with a laugh.

PRTG was designed from the ground up to be a distributed network monitoring solution. Its core server runs on a Windows platform, though Sanofsky noted it also runs in a virtual machine environment. The platform has a local probe that is co-resident with it, and IT managers can then distribute any number of remote probes. Sanofsky said the probes are a very small piece of software, and they do all the data collection for remote sites, but don't do any processing remotely. Instead, all data is forwarded to the core server using SSL.

"It's a totally secure environment and can be done over any standard Internet connection," Sanofsky said.

The platform includes user management software that allows IT managers to give users at remote locations login IDs and passwords that give them access only to the data the IT manager wants them to see.

Other new features in PRTG 8 include:

  • Google Maps support integrated with the Web interface, allowing the monitoring software to display geographical maps
  • Advanced maps functions for creating custom network views
  • Real-time availability of up to a year of actual historic data, not aggregated data
  • Integrated native Linux monitoring functions
  • Monitoring of virtual environments, including VMware, HyperV, Xen and Amazon Cloud Watch
  • A reliable alarm system that offers alerts via e-mail, SMS, instant messenger, pager message, HTTP request, syslog, etc.
  • A variety of new sensors and remote probes to monitor distributed systems, including xFlow sensors for monitoring via NetFlow or sFlow.

Pricing for PRTG 8 starts at $400 for a 100-sensor package.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to eSecurityPlanet.com and a former senior editor at InternetNews.com. He covers operating systems, standards, telecom and security, among other technologies.

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