SolarWinds Review Tools

Review the SolarWinds Network Device Monitor

The free SolarWinds Review Tools is one of my favorites, especially when they also do cool things. So, when SolarWinds released their new Network Monitor Device, I was very excited to see what it could do. Apparently, it's a very useful tool. Network Device Monitor can monitor every device on the network using SNMP. This will monitor every SNMP variable on the device - so for example it can monitor bandwidth usage on the router, or disk space on the server. The threshold can be configured which will notify you of warnings or errors.

The installation is fast, and the settings screen helps configure the Monitor. First: configure the name of the device or IP to be monitored, as well as the SNMP version and community string. The Network Device Monitor supports SNMP versions 1, 2c, and 3, so security options can be configured at this point
Furthermore, you have the option to choose what information you want to monitor, using what SolarWinds calls "Universal Device Poller" or UDP. Three options here - use default UDP, use UDP from exchanging Thwack content, or create your own. Default UDP is quite minimal, so the best bet is to use Thwack or create your own poller. Fortunately, SolarWinds has done a great job to make this not painful with SolarWinds Review Tools. 

This tool is perfectly integrated with Thwack, and choosing that option presents a list of hundreds of UDPs created by users. Just search for what seems to be working for, select, and press next. Then you can test it to make sure it works with the system. Choosing to build UDP itself will launch the MIB browser. Browse through the tree to find the object you want to monitor, then use the "Test" button to confirm that the device supports the object. This tool also includes an MIB compiler, so it can load MIB provided by hardware or software manufacturers.

How to Use a Network Device Monitor

Here are some examples of what tools can do. Let's say you have an important router with a number of servers behind it. Monitor Network Devices can watch all interfaces on the router to show whether they are Up or Down. The bottom interface is marked with a red status light, and a text description of the status.

Or, can monitor the interface for bandwidth usage. In the example below, I set a threshold so that exceeding 250 KB causes an alarm. Seeing the status light for FastEthernet 0/1 turns red after the threshold exceeds. The Network Device Manager excels in ad-hoc monitoring scenarios like this. The only real problem with this tool is that you can only monitor one device. Because of this, Network Device Monitor can have limited real-world applications. But, despite these limitations I can still think of many uses. 

Download Solarwinds Network Monitoring Tool :

Network Monitoring Tool
Free Driver

This is also a good introduction to the advanced features found on SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor - the next logical step. (Recently reviewed here) It also helps to have basic knowledge about how SNMP works if planning to build a special UDP. Importing MIB files and finding Object IDs is not difficult, but understanding the results can be complicated. If SNMP skills are a little rusty, you might want to see our tutorial about the basics of SNMP to help get started.

Network Device Monitor is a great addition to the selection of free tools offered by SolarWinds. Although clearly designed to promote their full network monitoring system, it stands alone as a useful tool that can help manage the SolarWinds Review Tools.