I've reviewed the AdRem NetCrunch systems monitoring tool before here at 4sysops. Learn what's new and what's changed in their brand-new NetCrunch v9.3.

If you're not familiar with AdRem NetCrunch, then I suggest you read my two recent 4sysops reviews:

Essentially, NetCrunch is a Windows Server-based monitoring solution that has three powerful advantages over its competition:

  • Speed. NetCrunch makes use of three database types (in-memory, embedded, and persistent NoSQL) for optimal performance.
  • Coverage breadth. NetCrunch can monitor just about any device in your infrastructure that has an IP address.
  • Single pane of glass. NetCrunch has talented developers and designers who understand how to make dashboards that we Windows administrators can understand at a glance.

Let's have a quick look at some of the new standout features in NetCrunch v9.3. Read the release notes to get a full list of the new features, bug fixes, and other changes.

New Nodes Overview dashboard ^

The Nodes Overview dashboard is a user interface (UI) improvement aimed at small businesses. This view displays a maximum of 50 devices in the dashboard view, which I show in the following screenshot.

The New Nodes overview dashboard

The New Nodes overview dashboard

13 new alert integrations ^

NetCrunch v9.3 added 13 new bi-directional alert integrations:

Configuring a NetCrunch alert integration

Configuring a NetCrunch alert integration

Most of these integrations allow you to create, update, or close tickets directly from NetCrunch. As you can see from the previous screenshot, the integrations typically rely on application programming interface (API) keys and webhook URLs.

Smart Pages ^

In previous NetCrunch versions, dashboard pages displayed static views regardless of the atlas content. In v9.3, NetCrunch selects the best page layout for display of each asset.

The following screenshot displays the new default view for DMZ firewall devices.

Smart Pages are dynamic context sensitive views

Smart Pages are dynamic context sensitive views

If you find a view that you'd rather use as a default, simply CTRL+click to set the page preference.

Layer 2 physical segment maps ^

NetCrunch has long been famous for its ability to display live network data. Version 9.3 not only displays both incoming and outbound traffic on your monitoring devices, but also provides you with a much more flexible design surface.

In some ways the improved graphical map editor feels like Microsoft Visio, my own "go to" network visualization tool.

Layer 2 network maps show bi directional network traffic

Layer 2 network maps show bi directional network traffic

Unified settings ^

A thoughtful improvement to NetCrunch is that we (finally) have all program settings consolidated into a single view, organized by program component.

All NetCrunch preferences are now in a single view

All NetCrunch preferences are now in a single view

Extended search ^

Depending on how large your infrastructure is, it might take a little time to navigate through your node atlas to find the right node or alert. As a result, AdRem modified the universal search tool. (Notice the circular icon in the top toolbar in the following screen capture.)

The search feature has been greatly expanded

The search feature has been greatly expanded

The search feature searches the following data repositories by default:

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  • AdRem blog posts
  • Atlas views
  • Documentation
  • Knowledge base
  • Nodes
  • Settings

Wrap-up ^

You can download a free, fully functional 30-day demo at the NetCrunch website. Alternatively, you can watch AdRem's 20-minute product demo. The main reasons I like this product so much are: (a) its simple deployment, (b) the breadth of what it can monitor, and (c) the intuitive way in which I can build status dashboards and configure alerts. And the fact that the administration console now uses 30 percent less RAM than in previous versions is a big plus, as far as I'm concerned. NetCrunch is quality software!

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