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Let Panorama9 monitor your Windows machines and network

If you have a Windows-only environment and have the budget for it, Panorama9 can do a great job of monitoring your IT infrastructure.

When you're choosing a monitoring tool, there are various routes you could take -- perhaps the free and popular Spiceworks or the open source Nagios or the proprietary GFI Max. Another option is Panorama9, which focuses primarily on the enterprise level and offers a number of hard-hitting features:

  • Easy remote control of machines
  • Network monitoring/mapping
  • Text/email notifications
  • Reports
  • User management
  • License management
  • Patch management
  • Hardware inventory
  • Server monitoring

With this tool you can at a glance:

  • See security threats
  • See available devices and services
  • Track policies and get notification if a policy is broken
  • Get a complete asset management overview

Panorama9 is only available for Windows machines -- that means your Macs and Linux boxes will be ignored. (The company says it will have a Mac agent ready in Q2 of 2012.).

Pricing

Starter plan

  • Cost: $99.00 per month
  • Device Limit: 50
  • Max P9 Users: 1

SMB plan

  • Cost: $199.00 per month
  • Device Limit: 300
  • Max P9 Users: 3

Regular plan

  • Cost: $379.00 per month
  • Device Limit: 750
  • Max P9 Users: Unlimited

Enterprise plan

  • Cost: $749.00 per month
  • Device Limit: 1,500
  • Max P9 Users: Unlimited

In order to install Panorama9, you must purchase a plan or choose the free 30-day trial. I highly recommend the 30-day trial. When you sign up, you will receive an email with the download link, your login ID (that will be the email address you used), and a password.

Installing Panorama9

There are two things to consider for the installation: (1) Are you going to install on a server or workstation? (2) Will you want to deploy agents from this machine? If you plan to deploy agents (which is the easiest route for medium to large deployments), you will want to install on a server. If you just want to test the software without doing an agent deployment, you will want to install the software on a desktop (which is the safer route until you know for sure this is the tool for your company),

The installation is standard for any Windows install: download and double-click the .msi file. Once the software is installed, go to https://dashboard.panorama9.com and sign in with the username/password supplied to you in the email.

Using Panorama9

Once you are logged in, your dashboard will show all of the machines that are monitored by Panorama9 (Figure A). Figure A

You can download the client to any Windows machine on your network. You can also get quick access to your assets, reports, issues, and a network map. (Click the image to enlarge.)
If you click the Assets tab, you will get a list of all devices monitored by Panorama9. Click one of those devices to reveal the overview for that machine (Figure B). Figure B

Click a particular vulnerability, and Panorama9 will inform you how many machines (and which machines) on your network are affected by this vulnerability. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Let's say you find a machine on your network has a vulnerability that must be addressed immediately. You can resolve that issue like so:

  1. Go to Assets and click the machine in question.
  2. From that machine's dashboard, click either Remote Desktop or TeamViewer.
  3. Open the file downloaded with the correct tool to connect to the affected machine.

If you chose Remote Desktop, you will download an .rdp file, which will, in turn, open with the windows remote desktop client. If you chose TeamViewer, a .txt file will open to reveal a tag that can be copied into your TeamViewer client. Once remoted into the machine, you can resolve the issue at hand.

Live Feed

One of the more unique features of Panorama9 is the Live Feed. To get there, go to the dashboard of one of the machines and then click the Live Feed tab (Figure C); you will see a real-time feed of any issue that arises on that particular machine. This could be a great help in troubleshooting an issue on either a server or a desktop. Figure C

This will only update as needed (if an issue arises). (Click the image to enlarge.)

Issues tab

The most important view in Panorama9 is the Issues tab, which is where you can get a complete listing of the issues that affect the machines on your network (Figure D). Many of these issues will include handy links to Windows Knowledge Base articles to help you resolve the problem. Figure D

Here you see 97% of the issues are critical. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Summary

Panorama9 is a great tool if you have the budget for it. Not only will it do a fantastic job of keeping you apprised of what's happening on your network, it will do so in real time and even help you learn how to resolve the issues. Give this asset tracking tool a try, and see if it's right for your enterprise.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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