NetCrunch 9.2 Released: Over 800 changes and 33 new features

The main Atlas dashboard of NetCrunch 9.2

Nominally only a minor release, NetCrunch 9.2 is a major step forward. This article will briefly summarize the most important changes out of over 800 changes and 33 new or improved features. Existing customers will have NetCrunch 9.2 added to the customer portal in the coming days, whereas trial users can jump right in, even if they’ve run previous versions.

Major Changes

User accounts and access profiles have been redesigned and now both the console and as well as WebAccess use the same accounts for authentication. The new User & Access Rights Manager window is much easier to use than in previous versions. Additionally, various settings are synchronized with user profiles and between the desktop and web console. The new “NetCrunch Audit” Monitoring Pack allows you to monitor failed NetCrunch login attempts.

User & Access Rights Manager in NetCrunch 9.2

The Administration Console requires NetCrunch Administration access to be assigned to a user profile. We recommend that you create and use separate accounts for each NetCrunch administrator.

Administration Console login screen in NetCrunch 9.2

NetCrunch 9.2 includes new a SSH remote monitoring engine and Monitoring Pack for Solaris systems. Additionally, the monitoring of disks has been extended for all Unix family systems.

New Solaris monitoring packs in NetCrunch 9.2

NetCrunch 9.2 offers integration with several external service desk and messaging services. This means that when NetCrunch opens an external ticket, it can also automatically close this ticket when the alert is closed. Two way integration also allows for the alert to be automatically closed in NetCrunch after the ticket had been closed in the external system. NetCrunch 9.2 supports the most popular services, but more services be added in future versions.

The Integration Module consists of two parts:

  • Integration Profiles which allow you to set a communication channel with the external service
  • Integration Actions which are used to trigger messages and ticketing actions.
Currently supported service desk and messaging services in NetCrunch 9.2

NetCrunch 9.2 currently supports: freshdesk, HipChat, IFTTT, pagerduty, slack, trello, twitter and zendesk.

This new window offers better insight into event parameters and implements many useful features. It also allows you to change various alert parameters, analyze alert frequency and allows administrators to add comments.

The new Event Details windows in NetCrunch 9.2

Features and Improvements by Category

Monitoring

NetCrunch supports using an additional field (context) for SNMPv3 monitoring. It also supports monitoring layer 2 segments on Cisco switches using SNMPv3.

NetCrunch supports creating alerts based on string SNMP values:

  • Equals to
  • Not equals to
  • Contains
  • Not contains
  • Matches regular expression
  • Change (any to any)

NetCrunch 9.2 contains a new SSH engine and 4 new Monitoring Packs for Solaris monitoring.

NetCrunch 9.2 extends disk monitoring capabilities for each Unix family system. This is based on the iostats tool features available on particular systems:

  • 14 new disk metrics for BSD
  • 4 new disk metrics for Mac OS X
  • 28 new disk metrics for Linux
  • 32 disk metrics available for Solaris

After configuring a sensor, you can now test its configuration by using the new Test button. Here is an example test of HTTP request sensor:

Sensor testing in NetCrunch 9.2
  • HP ProCurve Switch
  • Sophos Antivirus Server
  • vCenter Server 6.0
  • Cisco ASA VPN Tunnels Statistics
  • Cisco Unified Communications Manager
  • Java Application Server (SNMP)
  • Veeam Backup and Replication Server
  • Barracuda Firewall
  • Generic Printer
  • ESXi datastore monitoring
  • Cisco SNMP

NetCrunch 9.2 adds another tab to the External Events window. Messages can be sent using REST API and using the HTTP protocol from any application. After receiving a message, you can create an alert for it. This feature works in a similar way to syslog messages and SNMP traps.

Alert Management

The new Event Details window offers you better insight into event parameters and implements many useful features which give you more flexibility to fine tune alert settings.

  • Change various alert parameters. You can easily disable an alert or change its parameters or alerting actions
  • Shows the Monitoring Packs where the event is defined and allows you to adjust it if necessary
  • Analyzing alert frequency
  • Comments can be added to alerts and the last comment will be visible in the event log
  • Display a performance chart calculated in the same way as the threshold is monitored
The Event Details window in NetCrunch 9.2

The Action window contains a new section with Integration actions. These actions also require an Integration Profile to be defined in order to set up communication with external service.

Available integrations in NetCrunch 9.2

Console and Data Presentation

The NetCrunch trend viewer has been improved in order to better present various metrics collected by the software.

New features:

  • More chart display types: trend, trend + range, stacked, and area. Range charts automatically display min, max and average data.
  • Custom series scaling and adjustable units
  • The ability to compare counters across multiple nodes by choosing the counter first, then selecting the nodes for which it’s been collected
  • Various performance improvements
The updated Trend Viewer in NetCrunch 9.2

The Bar chart has been improved and uses the same color schemes as the other chart types. Additionally, a small triangle next to the value shows the latest change direction. Charts support SNMP tick unit conversion to standard time units (seconds, milliseconds). All charts perform animations for better change indication.

Improved Performance Views in NetCrunch 9.2

When you hold the shift key while hovering over performance line charts, the hint window is synchronized and displayed on all charts as below.

Improved Performance Line Charts in NetCrunch 9.2

Reports charts also use range charts to show min and max values in a given time range.

Improved reports charts with min and max values in NetCrunch 9.2

This new window allows for easier reviewing and fixing of all issue categories. You can select all nodes affected by an issue and fix it with one click. The window is now also available in the Web Console.

The redesigned Monitoring Issues window in NetCrunch 9.2

This new window delivers better note management. Each note can be easily commented on by NetCrunch users and can have labels and due dates attached. Notes can’t be deleted, but you can archive them with single click.

The new Node Notes window in NetCrunch 9.2

Ability to disable task auto popup: You can now switch off the auto pop-up feature and only limit the view to blue dots with the number of tasks that require your attention.

Disable task notifications in NetCrunch 9.2

New Filtering conditions: You can now create a view for nodes having an IP address assigned or not assigned.

(WebAccess) Node Properties Tab: Node properties are now accessible in WebAccess in read-only mode.

(WebAccess) Auto collapsing Atlas Tree: When no maps are available for the user (due to access rights settings), the Atlas Tree is automatically collapsed.

SNMP MIB search improvement: You can use multiple words when searching MIB objects (i.e. cisco status)

Manage Monitoring Packs folders: You can now manage the folders of your Monitoring Packs:

Managing Monitoring Pack folders in NetCrunch 9.2

Atlas Configuration Wizard: This new wizard helps you better manage automatic Monitoring Packs. You can disable rules and packs according to your monitoring preferences. Additionally, creating a default notification scheme has been improved. You can to set actions on alert close and decide to get notifications only for critical alerts.

Atlas Configuration Wizard with notification settings in NetCrunch 9.2

API Key Manager: Allows you to manage API keys for applications that need to send data to NetCrunch using REST API. Currently, it can be used for two-way PagerDuty integration.

New Credentials Manager: Managing monitoring credentials has been moved to a separate window and is much easier to use now.

The Monitoring Credentials manager window in NetCrunch 9.2

New Remote Sessions window: This window can be used to see all connected users and to terminate any connection.

Integration Profiles: Define parameters required for each integration channel. This includes parameters required by external service providers such as keys, passwords etc.

GrafCrunch 2.6

The new GrafCrunch version is based on the current stable release of Grafana 2.6. The most important feature for NetCrunch users is that you can now connect to multiple NetCrunch servers and create summary dashboards on a single screen.

  • Ability to connect to multiple NetCrunch Servers
  • Putting series from multiple datasources into a single chart
  • New and improved time picker
  • New powerful and flexible table panel
  • More axis units for graphs (Length, Volume, Temperature, Pressure, etc)
  • Graph option to hide series with all zeroes from legend and tooltips
  • Resize the panel by dragging the lower right corner

Breaking changes

  • User access rights can’t be upgraded
  • The object access rights tab has been removed from Node, Map and Atlas properties windows. You can manage access rights by using the User & Access Rights Manager window
  • The Global notes window is not available. Notes can be accessed from the Node Properties window
The User & Access Rights Manager in NetCrunch 9.2

Other Changes

  • NCCLI — command line utility allows you to reset the admin password on the NetCrunch Server: nccli reset-admin-password
  • Stability and Performance Improvements — we constantly improve the stability and scalability of NetCrunch by performing multiple stress tests.

Conclusion

Version 9.2 of our NetCrunch network monitoring suite is a major update, despite only being a small version number change. We have completed over 800 changes and added or improved 33 features.

Existing clients with active maintenance agreements will be able to download NetCrunch 9.2 via the customer portal in the coming days.

Trial users can download NetCrunch 9.2 directly and get a 30-day unlimited node trial license, even if they’ve demoed previous versions. On top of that, our trial license includes access to tech support, as well as free installation assistance via live webinar if you’d like a tech to assist you in setting up a proof-of-concept.

AdRem Software makes award-winning commercial and freeware network monitoring & management software trusted by thousands of admins worldwide www.adremsoft.com

AdRem Software makes award-winning commercial and freeware network monitoring & management software trusted by thousands of admins worldwide www.adremsoft.com