There’s no shortage of software for monitoring networks, but what happens if the monitors fails?

To remedy that possibility, Paessler AG has added failover clustering to the version 8 of its Windows-based PRTG Network Monitor, one of a number of added features/

“This is one of the most important releases in the company’s history,” said Ken Sanofsky, general manager of German-based Paessler’s North American division.

Up to four complete versions of Network Monitor can now be linked to the master server. If the master goes down, the next node in the chain becomes active, along with the database store.

“It takes us into a much better area for making sure the IT department is secure,” Sanofsky said by making what the company calls a fail-safe monitor.

Other new features include 25 new sensor monitor types, including sensors for Linux, Citrix Systems Inc.’s Xen hypervisor, for parallel virtual machines, for TFTP servers, LDAP directories. Five of the new sensors alone are for Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) extensions.

Other changes include added functions for creating custom network maps. For those with more than location, there’s now Google Maps support. Those who need remote access to their networks from handhelds may appreciate the mini-HTML interface for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices.

Arguably one of the biggest changes is not in the software but in its pricing. Paessler has dropped the pay by add-ons model which Network Monitor and many competitors use to four levels based on the number of sensors. A sensor can be a port on a switch or a specific piece of data the monitor pulls. Network Monitor now includes 80 sensor types.

The lowest price of US$400 includes 100 sensors. There is pricing for 500 and 1,000 sensors, plus a separate price for large enterprises wanting an unlimited number of sensors. No matter which version picked, it comes with all features enabled.
Sanofsky acknowledged that there is a “small price increase” in the new pricing strategy.