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Monitoring Technology Pick: Week of May 12th 2014 – AdRem NetCrunch

By Jonah Kowall | May 09, 2014 | 16 Comments

Pick of The WeekNPMMonitoringIT Operations

Getting this one done for next week, as I will be at Microsoft’s TechEd conference Monday-Wednesday in Houston. If anyone wants to meet up just hit me up on Twitter, I’ll be in meetings and sessions.

There is no question that the most popular vendors which come up regularly for basic availability monitoring are those  which offer low cost, easy to use, and effective products that monitor components health for availability. This has been the main reason folks like Microsoft, Solarwinds, and ManageEngine come up very often in monitoring inquiry. Building a product which focuses on ease of use is difficult, this includes the entire experience from from download, POC, implementation, purchasing, day to day use, and maintenance. As engineers we tend to over-engineer, software vendors are guilty as well, the bloated products are designed by listening to each customer request and implementing solutions without stepping back to reconsider the design and usability. The vendor highlighted this week has done a good job rebuilding their product in this manner.

AdRem (Netcrunch)

Krakow, Poland

AdRem Software is based in Poland, but has an office in New York, NY. They focus on building a unified monitoring offering, Netcrunch, which handles multiple use cases in the monitoring space. With the recent release of version 8, there has been renewed focus on creating a larger market relevance, and growing the client base. Founded in 1998 they have been selling monitoring products, but we have seen less adoption across our client base, probably due to a lack of sales and marketing investment. The customer base tends to be focused in Japan and Europe, with renewed focus and investment in marketing penetration may improve.

The product features include network monitoring (with topology), flow analysis, server monitoring (including virtualization technologies). Some unique features are agentless monitoring, but the use of ssh to get deeper server monitoring of linux variants (*BSD, MacOS) systems without software agents, which typically cause support pain.  The product supports dozens of standard packaged applications found on servers, as most unified monitoring tools do. On the network side of things the product builds topologies of interconnected devices, and presents rich maps. These maps also present the flow data such as bandwidth and data usage of the end points including the servers.

I implemented the product in my lab, the download and install process was very easy and the wizard which includes configuration and auto discovery was very well done. The backend includes standard SQL, proprietary noSQL (for metrics), and a XML schema where state data is kept. This is a easy to implement solution with care paid to the design elements. The unified views include seeing multiple data sets in a single place:



Some of the issues with the product include that the tool is not web based (EDIT: They have a web UI, but it’s more of a second class citizen. It does look nice and shares the same look and feel) , there is still a windows application, making the data less available to other people within the organization who do not have the client. The product is also focused more on the network use cases than server use cases, but it handled server monitoring quite nicely in my testing (see screenshot from my lab above). The company has been around for quite a while, but has remained small in terms of staff and investment. The product is priced quite attractively, in a similar manner so what you see for other low cost tools, such as those mentioned above.

Thanks for reading, please leave comments here or on twitter @jkowall

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  • Thank you for reviewing NetCrunch!

    NetCrunch actually has both Windows based administration console AND web console – NetCrunch can be accessed from any modern web browser.

    Windows based console is mostly necessary for configuration of the monitoring, compiling MIBs, etc.

    For daily monitoring and diagnostic tasks, NetCrunch web console is used (HTTP/S connection). Access rights can be easily restricted to particular views and operations, and console user accounts can be integrated with Active Directory.

    NetCrunch mobile client is designed for convenient access from modern phones and tablets (iOS, Android, Blackberry) that support HTML5 technologies.

  • Jan Reinders says:

    As a consultant for this product I am not very objective of course! Almost every week I do an implementation of the product in mostly one day for customers all around Europe (100 – 600 Server Nodes). That you can do this in such a short time is also that what makes the software unique. Almost no programming needed, makes the software very portable to other collegues in de company. Of course there is a lot of software that can do more, but it will cost you a lot of consultancy and programming.

  • Bruno Meyer says:

    Nice review.

    Ease of use and low cost are indeed strong arguments for NetCrunch. It’s hard to find a tool that have a better TCO.

    Multi edit, automatic discovery with AD scan, notification incl. execution of scripts&programs and custom dynamic views based on filters (f.e all Windows DC, all Linux running apache or all switches within one location) on which you can apply rules for monitoring policies and reports make NetCrunch very efficient for network admin.

    Web interface is there. It does even have a pretty extended authorization model so you are able to publish information (for helpdesk or management) and keep it secure.

  • Priti Sharma says:

    Hey Jonah,
    Thanks for your review. I too implemented it and loved this tool.

  • Antonio says:

    I implemented NetCrunch in Qatar (New Doha International Airport) and it was an amazing experience. In the main tower a Meinberg NTP Server is responsible of distributing accurate time while the time server is constantly monitored by NetCrunch.

    A short description of the implementation is available on slideshare:

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