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Microsoft Releases Network Performance Monitor for Operations Management Suite

Microsoft has commercially released Network Performance Monitor, a network monitoring solution for applications that's part of its Operations Management Suite (OMS) product.

Network Performance Monitor has reached "general availability" status, Microsoft announced earlier this month. It checks the health of network connections for applications across both cloud services and premises-based infrastructures in "near real time" using "synthetic transactions." It'll track link latency and packet-loss issues, and will pinpoint problem areas on the network. It adds a network health-checking capability for applications in OMS, which is Microsoft's dashboard-based public cloud management solution.

The preview version of Network Performance Monitor, released in July, had just supported TCP pings to generate synthetic transactions, but the commercial release now also supports Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) probes. The ICMP ping capability was mostly added to support organizations with firewalls that will "prevent routers, switches, and hosts from responding to TCP based probes," Microsoft's announcement explained. Applications tend to use TCP, so Microsoft favors going with that approach, if possible.

Microsoft also added a Network State Recorder feature to Network Performance Monitor. It provides network historical views "at any point in the past." This release also includes a Topology Map graphical-mapping feature that shows network paths between end points. Users can use a filter to show the health status of the paths.

Network Performance Monitor also can now send e-mail alerts to IT pros. Those alerts also can be tied to actions, which can be triggered either via runbook instructions or the use of Webhooks interfaces.

Microsoft also broadened its operating system platform support with the release of Network Performance Monitor. It'll run on Windows clients now, instead of just Windows Server. In addition, it'll run on supported Linux client and server distros.

Network Performance Monitor is based in Microsoft's cloud-based OMS solution, but it works by IT pros installing agents (known as Microsoft Monitoring Agents) on premises. Microsoft recommends the installation of "more than one agent for each subnet that you want to monitor," according to its documentation article. The product monitors the "links between hosts -- not the hosts themselves," the article explained. It discovers things automatically and will set a performance baseline in order to generate alerts, according a video explanation in Microsoft's announcement.

System Center Operations Manager can link with OMS. Consequently, System Center Operations Manager can be used as another way to access the Network Performance Monitor, Microsoft's video added.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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