Dartware enhances network monitoring platform

Dartware LLC’s recently launched InterMapper 4.1 network monitoring software includes support for custom programs, as well as plug-ins for the Nagios and Big Brother network monitoring systems.

InterMapper is designed to be a relatively simple monitoring platform that shows the real-time health of devices and traffic flows on a network without requiring software to be installed on multiple servers.

In addition to the plug-ins, version 4.1 includes support for the Host Resources Management Information Base, letting network managers see CPU, disk and memory utilization of computers on the network.

Jeff Mercer, a systems administrator with BTI Telecom, an outfit serving customers in the Southeastern U.S., said the latest version of InterMapper improves his company’s network monitoring capabilities.

“We can now not only monitor standard services, but we can monitor the resources on remote systems,” he explained. “We can look at the disk space availability, CPU load and swap utilization. So we can be aware of trends, like a system getting too busy for example.”

Mercer was also happy with the support for Nagios, an open-source monitoring tool.

“It’s a lot easier to use now,” he said.

InterMapper has traditionally been used by small and medium businesses who don’t need complex network monitoring systems, said Jean-Pierre Garbani, an analyst with consultancy Giga.

“But it’s also something that could be of interest for large companies with remote locations that don’t want to deploy something complex,” he noted.

Many of the larger network monitoring vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard and Computer Associates, are taking their management offerings to a higher level by trying to interpret and organize data that can be matched against business needs.

But Garbani believes there will still be room in the market for simpler tools that are more focused on collecting data like InterMapper does.

InterMapper was originally built as a monitoring and alert tool for the network of New Hampshire-based Dartmouth College.

In 1996, Dartmouth began selling InterMapper commercially and in 2000, the school spun off Dartware as a separate business.

Since Dartmouth’s network was largely based on Macintosh computers, the original InterMapper versions supported only Mac networks. But this January, Dartware released a version that also runs on Windows, Unix and Linux.

InterMapper is currently used by about 1,350 organizations, said Richard Brown, Dartware’s president.

Although there are a number of monitoring packages that compete with InterMapper, Brown said the two he comes across the most are What’s Up Gold and HP OpenView.

“If you need everything OpenView does, you likely wouldn’t be happy with InterMapper,” he said. “But InterMapper is easy to use and pretty deep. Most of our customers say they were able to get maps up within an hour of installing it.”

Pricing on InterMapper varies depending on the number of devices being monitored.

At the high end, an unlimited licence costs US$2,395. On the low end, a 25-devices licence costs US$495.

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