In the software development world, a point release is typically a minor release that introduces no new features but instead focuses on bug fixes. AdRem broke this convention this month by releasing version 9.2.0 of their NetCrunch network monitoring and management software.
The 9.2.0 release includes 33 new features and over 800 changes.
The upgrade is free for existing NetCrunch customers; their customer portals will be "automagically" upgraded to v9.2. As of this writing, the free evaluation edition has already moved to version 9.2, as well.
If you're unfamiliar with NetCrunch, then I strongly advise that you read my product review from December 2015:
Today I'd like to focus on the highest-impact new features.
User and access management ^
NetCrunch now is much better equipped for use in shops that must pass compliance audits with governmental, military, or regional regulations. AdRem delivered a new NetCrunch audit monitoring pack that can track failed NetCrunch login attempts. NetCrunch administrators can now (finally) use the same account for both the local console and WebAccess console.
AdRem also made administration console permissions more granular. In keeping with IT security best practices, administrators should always use their own accounts instead of a single, shared account. To that point, NetCrunch 9.2 requires that the NetCrunch Administration permission be added to all administrators' user profiles.
Solaris monitoring ^
Despite the popularity of Linux, some businesses rely instead upon commercial UNIX distributions like Oracle's Solaris. NetCrunch v9.2 now includes a Secure Shell (SSH)-based monitoring engine and monitoring pack for Solaris nodes. This means we can now track Solaris-based network traffic, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) traps, processes, and disk activity. Good stuff!
Integration module ^
A pain point with previous NetCrunch versions was the product's weak integration with external service desk and messaging services. In v9.2, we now have two-way integration with the following third-party solutions:
This means that NetCrunch can both open and close external service tickets from other line-of-business service management solutions, and vice-versa.
Enhanced event details ^
The NetCrunch development team did a good job making the Event Details dialog box more understandable and configurable. As you can see in the following screenshot, NetCrunch administrators now have much greater control over alert management, all from a single "pane of glass."
New monitoring packs ^
More monitoring packs mean you can add more of your infrastructure to NetCrunch. NetCrunch v9.2 introduces support for the following solutions:
- Barracuda Firewall
- Cisco ASA
- Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM)
- HP ProCurve switch
- Java Application Server
- Sophos Antivirus Server
- Veeam Backup and Replication Server
- VMware vSphere Server 6.0
Redesigned credentials manager ^
Any Windows administrator with some experience with monitoring software understands that wrangling different network credentials can sometimes be awkward at best. Check out the new, separate Credential Manager NetCrunch added to v9.2:
We now can easily manage service account credentials for all supported operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, ESXi, and BSD UNIX.
Latest GrafCrunch version ^
NetCrunch's GrafCrunch enterprise dashboard software is now based on Grafana 2.6, the latest stable version. The biggest benefit is that we can create summary dashboards that aggregate metrics from multiple NetCrunch servers in your environment.
Updated trend viewer ^
What is monitoring software without the capability of displaying detailed graphs that reveal trends? NetCrunch v9.2 now supports new chart types as well as scaling and customizing data units. NetCrunch users can also compare counters across multiple nodes.
Node notes ^
The redesigned Event Details window (previously discussed) enables administrators to add comments to alerts, and the most recent comment is visible in the event log. A new Notes pane in the Node Details window allows NetCrunch admins to add documentation directly to the node properties.
It's important to note (pun certainly intended) that nodes can be archived but not deleted.
- NetCrunch 50: Up to 50 nodes: $1,755
- NetCrunch 125: Up to 125 nodes: $2,855
- NetCrunch 300: Up to 300 nodes: $4,395
- NetCrunch 600: Up to 600 nodes: $6,700
- NetCrunch 1000: Up to 1,000 nodes: $8,245
- NetCrunch 2000: Up to 2,000 nodes: $13,190
- NetCrunch Unlimited: No limit on node numbers (licensed per NetCrunch server): $17,590
- NetCrunch Corporate: Unlimited number of NetCrunch servers: on request