For anyone with a lab network, installing software and building systems means many reboots and waiting for systems to be online for your testing to proceed. Previously, I would run a continual ping on a number of systems to see if they were online and finished with their reboot.I recently came across the Peer Monitor tool, which simplifies this for me. Peer Monitor has a floating visual bar of the status of nodes of interest on your network. Peer Monitor is simple, free, and not fancy. Installing Peer Monitor is straightforward, although there is a required registration. Once it is installed, you have a few options to set that specify which IP addresses you want to monitor on your network, as shown in Figure A. Figure A
In this example, I have a few systems on my lab network for which I can quickly monitor their up or down status. For systems that have a ping that takes longer than 10ms, I've configured Peer Monitor to indicate that as an orange status. The orange entry is the BBC Web site in the United Kingdom, with ping times averaging 110ms from my lab network.Simple tools go a long way in my book. I've mentioned how Nbtscan does name scanning quickly on a network. Peer Monitor does this for a quick view of host status on a network. There is even sound and e-mail alerting functionality that can be used with the tool. The configuration options for Peer Monitor are not super robust, but they are tight and to the point. Figure B shows the configuration screen for Peer Monitor. Figure B
Do you still do the perennial ping? Does a tool like this appeal to you for basic monitoring on your workstation and possibly a small network? Share your comments below.
Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.