Product Reviews

Web-Based Monitoring A La Carte

IPSentry has a bevy of features that you can buy as needed; what's lacking is a Web-based administration interface.

IPSentry from RGE Inc. provides plenty of functionality, although it has an annoying way of wanting to kill previous instances of itself when you launch the program to administer it. Furthermore, it doesn’t actually have a Web-based interface for configuration, but outputs its reports in HTML format. However, it does provide a fair bit of functionality and allows you to purchase what you need a la carte. It’s also the only roundup product with a freeware version for use in a home-based network, as it can run on Windows 95 and higher.

To install the software, launch the product EXE. If you’re a licensed user, you’ll need to select Register Now during installation to enter your license keys. Next, the IPSentry status window is displayed, indicating the monitoring task’s progress. Selecting Options from the Edit (yes, I said Edit) menu allows you to bring up the configuration interface for IPSentry. (Note to RGE: Edit should contain Cut, Copy, Paste and so on—not the menu option to configure the software.)

The configuration of IPSentry is broken down into three sets of settings:

  • System settings—For configuring frequency of monitoring; installing IPSentry as a service; configuring logging options, telnet and remote access; automatic report creation; and the ability to import and export settings for backup.
  • Modem settings—For enabling and configuring modem use for paging operators when an alert is triggered.
  • Server/machine monitoring—For configuring what you want monitored, how to be alerted and what corrective action should take place.

You can monitor network nodes (computers and devices); network drives and shares; Windows services; and a whole selection of available add-ins, including SMTP/POP3 e-mail round-trip tests, ODBC databases, Performance Monitor counter values and the ability to start and stop Windows services. For each monitor, you can specify a different username and password for authentication, allowing you to run IPSentry on a machine not in your Active Directory forest or NT domain.

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You can also create dependencies between monitors to ensure that you don’t try monitoring a file if the machine on which it resides is down. Another notable feature is the ability to create “reverse alerts” to notify you when something is up rather than down. For example, you may want to configure an alert when a file’s placed in a specific location and then notify someone or execute a script. This can be handy for organizations that need to know when a client places a file on an FTP site, for example.

The set of options available when an alert takes place is quite laudable. IPSentry is the only product reviewed that has an interface for control of X10 devices. This allows you to, for instance, turn lights on and off when something goes wrong. You can send e-mail (obviously), sound an audible alert (play a .wav file), notify one or more individuals by pages, launch a program, configure an Add-in alert or insert a SYSLOG entry on a computer.

IPSentry 4.5
RGE’s IPSentry provides easy-to-read reports in HTML. (Click image to view larger version.)

IPSentry offers a lot of features, but its lack of a Web-based administration interface makes it the odd man out in this evaluation. Its capabilities are excellent (though not as comprehensive as SiteScope), and it did produce the most-easily understood report of any product in the roundup.

IPSentry 4.5, from $465 for a single license to $8,195 for enterprise license; RGE, Inc., (317) 745-3398, www.ipsentry.com.

About the Author

Damir Bersinic, MCSE, MCDBA, MCSA, MCT, is an independent consultant, trainer and author.

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Reader Comments:

Sat, Jan 5, 2008 Rex Walker Indiana

There are a great deal more enhancements and features in the latest release of IPSentry Network Monitoring Suite version 5.

More than enough to re-visit - and it is still A La Carte ...

Fri, Dec 16, 2005 Feroz Mumbai

Very good product for monitoring

Thu, Jun 2, 2005 Anonymous Anonymous

An alternative to this product is WebWatchBot www.webwatchbot.com - Windows based with numerous features and a lower price-point overall

Thu, Aug 7, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

It is best to check the website for prices as both the reviewer and previous commenter are correct, depending on which option you purchase - $99 for a single license, $465 for a single license including all add-ins (personally I would expect at least some add-ins to be required).
I have been testing this product recently and the review is very true to what I have found. IPSentry is let down by it's lack of web interface which really puts it out of contention for me.

Thu, Jan 30, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Nice little write up but the price appears to be wrong. I went to the web site and IP Sentry is $99 for a single license. The price in the article is hundreds of dollars higher and may discourage soeme people from considering the product.

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