• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry


Feb 17, 20042 mins

* The Reviewmeister takes a look at a top-notch WAN management service from WebMetrics

If you’re looking for a top-notch WAN management service, be sure to check out VitalStats from WebMetrics.

VitalStats was a no-brainer to use in the lab. VitalStats consists of WebMetrics monitoring one or more of your Internet-accessible servers for problems with network connectivity, CPU usage, memory and hard disks. In our tests, we used the service to keep an eye on a Microsoft Internet Information Service machine.

A VitalStats software agent that you install on a Web server communicates at 5-minute or 1-minute intervals with one of WebMetrics’ points of presence. We tested the 5-minute monitoring service. The software agent sends server utilization statistics to WebMetrics, which collects the utilization figures and presents them as graphical charts and log files that you can view when you log on to WebMetrics’ Web site.

If the central WebMetrics monitoring software detects a problem, such as server resource overutilization or communications failure, it sends e-mails or it can page you.

An e-mailed alert might contain the message, “Page download time exceeded timeout of 30 sec” or “Can’t get page http://(your IP address)/Scripts/vital2000.v2.0.exe,” followed by a traceroute display of the network links between WebMetrics’ site and yours. At its Web site, WebMetrics can show you performance graphs for specific time periods.

We encountered a minor stumbling block during installation. WebMetrics sends a software agent to each new customer, and a network administrator installs the agent by placing it in the Web server’s Scripts directory and making that directory Internet-accessible. Unfortunately, we had “hardened” the Web server by installing Microsoft’s URLScan, applying all current security patches and deleting unnecessary directories.

We had to put the software agent in a new directory, publish the new directory on the Internet via Windows Server’s Internet Services Manager and, after logging on to WebMetrics’ main site, configure WebMetrics’ central monitoring software to “see” the new directory.

WebMetrics offers specific services for Web servers, database servers and application servers. Customers don’t install a software agent for application servers. Instead, WebMetrics tests for server availability by sending “keep alive” network messages to the server and noting the server’s response. WebMetrics says its GlobalWatch network is in more than 17 cities worldwide, with POPs throughout North America, Asia and Europe.

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