Software developer Ipswitch hopes to win large enterprise users over to its network monitoring tool WhatsUp Gold, the company said this week, as it launched version 12 of the software and announced a drive into the network analysis and troubleshooting market.

The company said that with WhatsUp Gold v12, it has increased the former Techworld award-winning software's scalability and added the ability to do truly distributed network monitoring, not merely remotely-accessed network monitoring.

"We've traditionally aimed at SMBs, with our ease of installation and ease of use," said Mike Silva, Ipswitch's Euro sales manager. "Now we're moving the products towards companies with international presence - companies who want centralised monitoring of multiple sites, for example."

He added that despite increasing its capabilities and reach, including adding SSL for secure distributed monitoring, Ipswitch still offers WhatsUp Gold licences that are sized and priced for smaller organisations. The standard edition starts at £473 for 25 devices, and the cost falls as low as £15 per device - not per port - for larger installations of the distributed edition, he said.

In the past, WhatsUp Gold has been notable not only for its missing apostrophe, but for its extensive SNMP-based monitoring capabilities. These have been made simpler to use in v12, and complemented with tools for MIB (management information base) exploration and management, claimed Ipswitch product marketing manager Peter Christensen.

He added that v12 also has split-second graphing features, giving the administrator a pop-up view of real-time device usage data when they 'hover' their mouse over a device link.

"It's much more granular," he said. "It's the first phase of a thrust towards more analytical tools. I don't think we have articulated our broad product vision in the past. As well as visibility, it's control - the key is the intelligence has to be actionable."

Christensen noted that the need for monitoring tools of this kind is growing as a result of industry trends. He predicted that looking forward, the popularity of SaaS (software as a service) and WAN optimisation will put pressure on network admin teams to gain a view of network performance beyond the LAN.

"Businesses rely on a strong web presence now, for instance, so the ability to monitor the network becomes even more important," he said. "Our main vision now is how you pull that WAN traffic engineering capability into the enterprise - it really isn't there yet."