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Organizations today use multiple types of infrastructure that span on-premises and cloud technologies. In addition, businesses work with highly distributed and heterogeneous types of infrastructure that require the right tools for effective and efficient monitoring. AdRem Software recently released the version 12 of its flagship offering, NetCrunch 12, adding many new capabilities and features in all product areas. In this review, we will consider the new features and capabilities released in this latest version of NetCrunch.
Overview of NetCrunch ^
NetCrunch monitoring software by AdRem Software is a comprehensive monitoring solution designed to monitor hundreds of devices with thousands of parameters and metrics collected. In addition, it can scale to efficiently monitor thousands of devices and hundreds of thousands of metrics and statuses with a single server instance. When you compare the monitoring scale with the resources required, NetCrunch can easily outpace many of its competitors on the market.
The NetCrunch monitoring solution can monitor nearly anything businesses have in their enterprise landscape, both on-premises and in the cloud. This includes devices, applications, systems, databases, and files. Data from various sources can be sent to NetCrunch or polled from files, databases, logs or websites. In general, NetCrunch retrieves and processes three types of data: events, performance counters (metrics), and status.
- Events—In NetCrunch, events are information about external sources s. External sources can include Windows, Event Logs, SYSLOG, or other event sources, including SNMP traps.
- Performance counters (metrics)—These are numeric values pulled from various sources related to performance.
- Status—This data type indicates the status of objects in NetCrunch, including nodes, services, monitoring engines, etc.
With these data types, organizations can use NetCrunch to effectively monitor the health of devices, virtual resources, cloud resources, websites, and many other types of business-critical infrastructure.
Among the great NetCrunch features that I like are the highly automated way it configures default monitoring settings and how it guides you through the process of discovering business-critical assets. Below is a shot of the setup wizard after NetCrunch 12 is installed.
After completing the wizardized configuration, NetCrunch takes care of the heavy lifting with its basic configuration.
New features in NetCrunch 12 ^
It is an understatement for me to say that NetCrunch 12 is a massive release that includes updates and new features for just about every aspect of the program. AdRem Software has added new monitoring packs, sensors, cloud monitoring, config management, and visualization capabilities. In addition, NetCrunch 12 is a more nimble, smaller, and more efficient release from a software perspective.
There are simply too many new features to cover in detail in a single blog post. However, let's take a closer look at the following new features of NetCrunch 12:
- New cloud monitoring sensors
- New device config management module
- New hardware monitoring packs
- New graphical views and widgets
- New general sensors
- New monitoring probe that can be installed in the same address space as NetCrunch or in a different network
- Platform updates and other improvements
New monitoring packs for various applications ^
Device config monitoring ^
The new config management module allows monitoring and storing configuration changes for a variety of network devices such as switches, routers, and firewalls.
The device profiles have been ported to NetCrunch from the the open-source project Oxidized and contain over 130 device profiles.
Additionally, NetCrunch allows adding custom profiles with the buit-in editor in YAML for any device that supports ssh or telnet.
Cloud monitoring nodes and sensors ^
The ability to monitor cloud workloads, services, and solutions is crucial for ensuring that business-critical resources are online, performant, and available. With NetCrunch 12, the new Cloud Service Node enables monitoring a single cloud service. NetCrunch 12 introduces about 30 cloud monitors for monitoring Azure, Amazon AWS, Google, and other services. Note the following new monitoring sensors:
- Azure API Management Services
- Azure Cosmos DB
- Azure Cost
- Azure Insights Components Resource
- Azure Kubernetes Cluster
- Azure Load Balancer
- Azure Logic Apps
- Azure Server Farm
- Azure Service Bus
- Azure SQL DB
- Azure Storage Account
- Azure Website
- AWS Alarm
- AWS Auto Scaling
- AWS Cost
- AWS EBS
- AWS EC2
- AWS ElastiCache
- AWS ELB
- AWS SQS
- GA Metrics
- GA Users and Sessions
- Google Drive
Microsoft Cloud application sensors
- Microsoft 365 service status
Other cloud sensors
- Zoom Sensors
- Zoom account
- Zoom operation logs
- Zoom plans usage
- Zoom status
These new cloud-related sensors will allow organizations to monitor the business-critical cloud resources they are using today. NetCrunch will undoubtedly continue to increase the available sensors for a wide range of new cloud monitoring capabilities with each new minor release.
New hardware monitoring packs for SNMP ^
NetCrunch 12 offers the expanded ability to monitor hardware from 21 vendors supporting the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). This allows you to observe every thinkable data in your network. For instance, you can monitor the battery status of UPS devices, the temperature of disks, fan statues and many more. You can find the complete list on the What's New Page under New Monitoring Packs for Hardware.
New graphical views and widgets ^
One of the things that struck me about NetCrunch 12 is the updated look and feel of the software. AdRem Software has put in a tremendous amount of development work on the interface's look, including a new dark mode.
Additionally, graph widgets are now interactive and update automatically. You can open these from the trend viewer or a specific node menu. All widgets are interactive, and you can drill into them to help determine a root cause analysis (RCA).
Below is the new dark mode configuration available in NetCrunch 12.
New dark mode display in NetCrunch 12
New general sensors ^
This release offers several new general sensors. These include great new additions, such as the following:
- NetApp ONTAP Sensor
- NetApp SANtricity Sensor
- Veeam Backup & Replication Sensor
- HPE 3PAR StoreServ Sensor
- Palo Alto Firewall Sensor
- Device Config Sensor
New monitoring probe ^
Another new feature that caught my attention is the new monitoring probe. With the new monitoring probe, you can remotely monitor isolated networks. What's more, the probe can be used as an additional monitoring engine for load balancing. This new feature will undoubtedly help the solution scale for even larger environments.
- Probes can be installed in the server address space
- The probe supports SNMP and interface monitoring
- The probe supports scanning (including AD) and auto-scanning features
- The probe contains a relay for a built-in SSH terminal
- The probe supports the routing map
Platform updates and other improvements
There are many new features and improvements to this release across the board. Many of these relate to the platform itself. NetCrunch 12 has upgraded GrafCrunch to Grafana based on 7.x, the latest version. In addition, NetCrunch 12 separates database handling into a separate process to limit the effect of optimization processes. Event data has been partitioned, helping in data retention, and significantly speeding up data queries.
Other improvements include:
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- Mail notification supports the latest TLS protocols
- Over 3000 new device definitions
- Monitoring Windows 11 and Server 2022
- Improved SNMPv3 monitoring performance and scalability
- Extendend network discovery filters for adding new devices
Wrapping up ^
NetCrunch 12 is a beautiful new release of the robust NetCrunch monitoring platform that adds capabilities to monitor many of the modern technologies that businesses leverage today, including cloud environments. When you include the many new features, such as new hardware sensors, general sensors, new graphical views, remote monitoring probe, UI enhancements, and others, NetCrunch 12 is a great new release that is a worthy upgrade.