ManageEngine Takes Manageability to New Levels

By Nelson King (Send Email)
Posted Jan 13, 2006


ManageEngine's OpManager Professional is a network monitoring system that keeps an eye on a host of devices and software applications. This includes printers, database applications, and server hardware. The monitoring services are categorized in OpManager as: WAN, switch, server, CPU, memory, disk, Windows log events, Windows services, performance, fault, applications, URL, and printing — a long list.

ManageEngine's OpManager delivers affordable, out-of-the-box management for a wide variety of devices and software applications, ranging from printers to database applications to server hardware.

What makes OpManager most valuable, however, is its ability to make the majority of the features on its lengthy list ready to work right out of the box.

Although some of OpManager's capabilities are specifically for Microsoft Windows networks (e.g., Windows Log Events and Windows Services monitoring, which is new in this version), it also supports Red Hat and Debian Linux networks. OpManager is generally installed on a dedicated server, although the hardware requirements are not severe (a 700 MHz CPU, 512 MB of RAM, and 200 MB of disk). Since the software does not offer explicit cluster support, scalability to very large systems is limited.

Another of OpManager's unique strengths is that it can use a network to discover not only servers but also other attached equipment, such as routers and switches. It offers explicit support for Cisco routers, and it provides a Switch Port Mapper to discover hardware attached to switches. There is also support for both SNMP and non-SNMP devices. Clearly, ManageEngine has worked hard to make the configuration and operation of OpManager as simple as possible. Considering the huge number of monitored parameters and the potential complexity of responses, this was no small task.

As expected, OpManager's support for network monitoring is extensive. It includes: traffic rate; error and discard rate; buffer hits and misses; and router, CPU, and memory usage. It can perform some network analysis, and an optional product (Netflow Analyzer) is available to do more. OpManager provides a battery of reports and graphics for performance analysis, and its reporting capabilities are customizable. Many of OpManager's monitoring capabilities are oriented toward providing a coordinated view of the health of a network and its devices; this is the most tightly integrated capability of the product.

In addition to the network monitoring, OpManager can monitor a broad, albeit not always deep, range of software and hardware parameters. There is out-of-the-box support for watching some major database servers (Oracle, MySQL, and MS SQL Server) and communication servers (Lotus Notes and MS Exchange). A more complete monitoring system for MS Exchange is also available for $495.

Web servers are watched through a clever new URL monitoring system that checks to see if key URLs (site, page, password, and even internal application URLs) are available. OpManager also monitors most typical system services (i.e., DNS, IMAP, SMTP, Echo, LDAP, Telnet, FTP, NNTP, Finger, POP, WebLogic, and HTTPS), a raft of Windows services, and even printer services. Including printer monitoring is not unique to OpManager, but it's welcome, as printer faults are among the most common bug-bears of network administrators.

OpManager is a completely Web-based system. A browser client does most of the system monitoring and maintenance. This enables remote management from almost anywhere. The Web client opens with what is called a "Top Ten" view on the home page, which helps to quickly identify the devices that (currently) have the highest CPU, memory, and disk usage. In a sense, this is a dashboard view, although with fewer analytics than some similar products. It is relatively easy to find individual devices and drill down for a "snapshot" overview of its operation.

Immediate alarms and fault alerts are generated for display, in color codes, on the Web client. Fault levels and triggers can be set for most devices and services. Fault events can be correlated to make more meaningful warnings (not all faults are serious), and a history of fault events is available. Remote alerts are conveyed primarily through SMS and e-mail, although custom alert scripts can be run. An escalating alert system — increasing the number of people alerted if there is no response — can be set up. OpManager is not strongly oriented toward remote repair and fixing of detected problems, although scripts may be used.

The difference between OpManager and products like IBM Tivoli Monitoring is in the framework for rules and policies applied to the monitoring. Although OpManager has similar monitoring and trigger-level capabilities, it doesn't embed them in a comprehensive policy-setting and event-handling framework. This translates into less architecture and framework but more specific monitoring than products such as IBM Tivoli Monitoring or BMC Patrol.

User support is available through online forums, knowledge base, and e-mail.

Server Monitoring Tools Matrix
ManageEngine OpManager Professional
Full Product Name ManageEngine OpManager Professional
Version 6
Vendor ManageEngine
Description A system for monitoring a many hardware devices and software applications with strengths in WAN, router, and switch discovery; can also use a network monitoring system as the basis for a general monitoring and management system
Platforms Windows: 2000 SP4, 2000 Server, XP Pro, and Server 2003;>Linux: Red Hat 7x, Debian
Pricing Free Version: Monitoring for up to 20 devices
Professional Version: Prices range from single installation, one user at $795, $159 annual maintenance and support fee to single installation, unlimited users at $9,495, $1,899 annual support fee

Server Monitoring Tools Matrix
  OpManager
Product 2
Real-Time Monitoring Physical Status Temperature Router  
Chassis Integrity    
Power Supply Router  
Fan Speed    
Server Performance SNMP Monitoring Yes  
Hard Disk Utilization Yes  
   - Files Open/Owner    
   - File Existence Monitor    
  - File Size Monitor (e.g. Log files)    
Memory Utilization    
CPU Utilization Yes, also router  
Processes (Count)    
Services Monitoring DNS Yes  
HTTP/HTTPS Yes/Yes  
FTP Yes  
Telnet Yes  
NNTP Yes  
SMTP, POP3, or IMAP Yes/Yes/Yes  
Custom Port Monitoring Yes  
Server Types Supported Web Yes  
Database MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL  
File Yes  
Communications MS Exchange, Lotus Notes  
Other Print  
Network Monitoring Network Throughput Yes  
Current Logons    
Failover/Cluster Monitoring    
Other Network Monitoring Points Many more monitoring points -- Router, switch, and port monitoring  
Web Site Monitoring Hit Rate URL monitoring  
Page Content Verification    
Database Connection Verification    
Cache Rate(s)    
Security Intrusion Monitoring    
Login Error Monitoring    
Other Security Monitoring Points    
Administration Dashboard (or Other Overview Display)   Yes  
Remote or Internet Monitoring   Yes/Yes  
Monitor Views Domain Yes  
Workgroup Yes  
User-Defined Group Yes  
Alert Modes E-Mail Yes  
Phone (Land Line or Cell Phone)    
Pager    
Network Alert    
SMS Yes  
Escalating Alert Levels Support   Yes  
Alert Multiple People   Yes  
Designate by Type of Alert      
Polling/Monitoring Interval   Yes  
User Configurable Monitoring Intervals   Yes  
Corrective Action Support Machine Shutdown or Reboot    
Service Shutdown or Restart Yes/Yes  
Process Shutdown or Restart Yes/Yes  
Run Script, EXE, and Job Yes/Yes/No  
Testing Suite — Automatic Testing Support      
Historical Monitoring Logs   Yes  
Statistics   Yes  
Reporting Online Yes  
Printed Yes  
Charts or Graphs Yes/Yes  
Analysis   Yes  
Other        
Other        
Other        
Other        

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