Intermapper: Your network at a glance

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If you like the idea of a monitoring tool that displays a meaningful, easy-to-understand-at-a-single-glance map of your network and watches for connectivity problems like a hawk, then Dartware's Intermapper is the tool for you.

The Java-based Intermapper runs just about everywhere and costs $1,400 to monitor 100 devices.

Intermapper uses SNMP to monitor device connectivity and uses synthetic transactions to monitor e-mail, Web and directory server availability. It ensures particular Windows Services (such as RPC, WinLogon, Indexer and others) are running, can promptly alert you via e-mail or pager when problems occur, is easy to use and produces highly useful reports.

In our tests, Intermapper probed the network and accurately discovered devices (routers, switches and hubs), servers and clients. It also used SNMP to poll these devices to collect traffic and error statistics. It displayed an active, real-time map of the network's elements, and with different colors to depict distinct traffic flows through the network.

When it detects an outage or a performance problem, Intermapper will e-mail or page you. Its useful reports, which contain a wealth of detail about traffic, errors, use and outages, include what Dartware has termed Status Windows, Strip Charts and Device Lists. For example, the Status Window report for an interface shows transmit/receive statistics, use rates, device name, link type, link description, link status, IP address and media access control address.

For spotting trends, Intermapper graphs network daily, weekly, monthly and yearly intervals to show the performance history of a device or connection. These graphs display percent utilization, error counts, packet counts and byte counts.

Unfortunately, Intermapper doesn't take corrective actions for the problems it notes. Its user interface is thoughtfully designed and intuitive, but it's not as responsive as a native (non-Java) interface would be. Intermapper doesn't need to use distributed agents to collect data.

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