Monitoring BGP Sessions with Nectus

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Monitoring BGP Sessions with Nectus

Nectus 1.2.53 introduces ability to automatically discover and monitor iBGP and eBGP sessions across all router types and manufacturers.

Nectus scheduled network discovery automatically finds all the BGP sessions via SNMP polls and adds it to Nectus database where user can group them by type and enable active monitoring and alerting.

BGP Session Discovery

As part of regular scheduled network discovery Nectus detects all existing BGP Sessions and adds it to one of the existing BGP group which has “Default” flag set to ON.

You can see all the BGP sessions that were discovered in Inventory -> BGP Sessions or in left side panel called “BGP Sessions

 

If you right-click on BGP Session and select “Properties

 

.. you can assign a human friendly name or change a group membership for any of the BGP sessions.

 

You can create multiple BGP session groups and assign discovered BGP sessions to different groups according to its type or functional purpose.

To create a new Group, right-click on “BGP Sessions” line and select “Add New Group” on context menu.

 

Configure New Group name, set “Enable monitoring” to ON if you want all BGP Sessions in this group to be monitored for UP/DOWN Status.

 

If you set “Default” value to ON, this group will become a group where all newly discovered BGP sessions be added automatically. Only one group can have “Default” value set to ON

You can also assign BGP Session to a Group by right-clicking on BGP session and selecting “Move BGP Session to..” option

 

 

By clicking “View Session Info” on BGP Session context menu you can view detailed information about BGP Session

 

 

After you finished creating BGP session groups, assigning BGP sessions to corresponding groups and enabling BGP session groups for Monitoring the final step is to enable BGP Sessions monitoring in corresponding SNMP Device Monitoring Profiles that are applied to the routers that terminate all the BGP sessions.

Find required SNMP Monitoring Profile and enable “BGP Session Status” Monitoring Option

Now are you all set to start monitoring your BGP sessions line a pro.

 

Features coming up in next Nectus release

  1. BGP sessions monitoring with UP/DOWN Alerting
  2. Linux Servers Monitoring (CPU, RAM,  Storage, Up/Down)

UPS Health Status Monitoring with Nectus

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UPS Status Monitoring with Nectus

Health monitoring of UPS units is one of the most critical tasks of network infrastructure monitoring.

If UPS fails during power outage it results in immediate network downtime resulting in loss of revenue and degrading user experience.

Most of the modern UPS Units perform daily self-tests and results of those self-tests are available via SNMP protocol.

Our goal is to collect those self-test results on regular basis and generate an alert or incident when self-test indicates a UPS failure.

Step 1. Determine which SNMP OID to use

Very first step before you can start monitoring UPS health status is to determine which SNMP OID contains self-test information for your UPS units.

You can open a support case with your UPS vendor and request SNNP OID string for self-test information.

For example, SNMP OID for self-test information from UPS manufactured by APC is .1.3.6.1.4.1.318.1.1.1.7.2.3.0

This OID returns following values:

1 = Ok

2 = Failed

3 = Invalid Test

4 = Test In Progress

 

Step 2. Create Device View that contain all UPS units

Next step is to create a Device View that contain all UPS units that we want to monitor.

To create a Device View go to Inventory -> Views -> SNMP Device Views.

 

Create a new Device Vice called “UPS Units”

 

 

Step 3. Create Custom SNMP Tracker for UPS Self-Test Info

Now we are ready to create a custom SNMP tracker that will be polling our UPS units every 5 min for self-test information.

In Nectus GUI go to Monitoring → SNMP Monitoring Settings → Custom SNMP Trackers

 

Press “Create” button to bring up Custom SNMP Tracker creation interface.

Complete tracker General information tab with correct SNMP OID and select Device View that contains all UPS units that we want to monitor.

 

Select Email and SMS list for Alert Recipients.

In “Alerts” Tab we need to specify which status values will be considered Normal and which values should trigger Alerts.

You can specify multiple values separated by comma.

 

Define an Alert Severity level for Alarm Values as Informational, Warning or Critical.

Define number of consecutive readings for which UPS self-test status must report an Alarm condition before formal Alert is created.

Nectus performs one SNMP poll per 5 min.

If you define value for consecutive readings as 3 it should result in Alert created after 15 minutes of True Alarm conditions.

Press “Save” to complete Custom SNMP tracker creation for UPS Status Monitoring

This completes creation of custom tracker that will be monitoring UPS self-test information on all APC UPS units in your network.

 

Suppression of Frequent Identical Alerts In Nectus

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Suppression of Frequent Identical Alerts In Nectus

Often when a network device or interface changes its state between Up and Down multiple times in a short time interval, numerous identical alerts will be sent to all the configured alert recipients.

Nectus offers the ability to suppress frequent identical alerts to reduce informational noise level by specifying a suppression timer for up to three hours.

Nectus calculates a CRC hash value from each of the email alert bodies and if hash values of two alerts are matching they are considered to be identical and can be suppressed.

Nectus excludes event timer values and specific metric values from hash calculation logic. You can configure the suppression timer from 0 to 180 minutes where 0 means no suppression.

To configure the suppression timer, go to    Monitoring -> Global Monitoring Settings

 

 

Under Monitoring Settings, select the Alerts tab.

To enable suppression specify a time interval from 1 to 180 minutes.

At the end of the time interval, alert logic will resume as normal.

Setting timer to 0 will disable the suppression.

 

 

Importing WMI Servers from CSV file to Nectus

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Importing WMI Servers from CSV file to Nectus

To import a list of Windows Servers from CSV file to Nectus prepare a CSV file with only single column containing list of IP addresses of Windows Servers.

No other information is required.

File format example in Excel.

To start import, right-click on WMI Server Group that you want to import servers into and select “Import  WMI Servers from CSV file” option

 

 

Select CSV File that you prepared.

 

 

Press “Start” button

 

Nectus will import each server individually and collect basic Server information via WMI Interface.

 

Configuring WMI Integration in Nectus

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Configuring WMI Integration in Nectus

Nectus uses WMI Interface in several of its modules.

List of modules that depends on WMI Integration:

  1. Windows Server Monitoring Module
  2. IPAM Module

In Windows Server Monitoring module Nectus uses WMI interface to poll Windows Servers for critical health metrics such as CPU and RAM Utilization etc.

In IPAM Module Nectus uses WMI interface to interact with Microsoft DNS and DHCP servers while Importing and creating reservations.

WMI Integration settings must be complete before Nectus can communicate with Windows Servers in those modules.

To complete WMI Integration go to Settings -> General Settings -> WMI Integration

Click on “WMI Integration” link and complete all the required fields for WMI Service account

that will be used by Nectus connect to Windows Servers via WMI Interface.

WMI Service account should not have password expiration policy to prevent Integration from breaking every time password has to be changed.

Use “Test” button to test Service account credential against any of Windows Servers of your choice.

After connection “Test” is passed WMI Integration is complete.

 

Adjusting min. detectable ICMP outage duration in Nectus

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Adjusting Min. detectable ICMP outage duration in Nectus

When Nectus is configured to monitor UP/DOWN Status for network devices with ICMP it sends Echo packets at preset interval called Inter-Packet Delay.

By default, this Interval is set to 10 seconds.

Network Device is considered down if Echo-Reply is not received for “N” consecutive Echo packets.

By default “N” is set to 10.

So, by combining Inter-Packet Delay and “N” Value we can see that minimum duration of the outage that can be detected by Nectus with default settings is 100 seconds.

Sometimes when network a prone to fast transient outages or burstable traffic patterns that can impact ICMP it may be beneficial to increase minimum detectable ICMP outage duration to higher value. This can helps to eliminate alerts about short lived outages and only alert on outages that have more lasting impact.

To adjust Inter-Packet Delay or “N” Value go to “Monitoring -> Global Monitoring Settings

 

And adjust values on “ICMP Monitoring” Tab according to your business needs.

 

Monitoring HTTP URLs with Nectus NMS

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Monitoring HTTP URLs with Nectus NMS

Have you ever been surprised to find out your website hadn’t been running or online?

Realtime status updates of your website can relieve you of the frustration of downtime and provide with instant alerts to your team.

Nectus HTTP Monitoring module can take the burden of URL monitoring away and provide real-time status of thousands of URLs, all using one quick view.

Nectus can poll websites on with preset frequency and alert you via Email or SMS if any of the websites are down.

Creating URL Groups in Nectus

HTTP URL Monitoring starts with creating URL Groups.

To create a URL group, right click on the Web Servers group on the left side panel. When the context menu appears, click on Add New Group.

After clicking Add New Group, a pop-up window appears.

Window allows you to set a Poll Frequency, which defined how often Nectus will poll your website.

Enable Monitoring can be checked to begin monitoring for all URLs that are members of this group.

Send Alerts to Email Group and Send Alerts to SMS Group can be checked to specify URL Down Alert recepients for Email or SMS notifications.

To modify members’ list of any of the existing E-mail or SMS groups click on the group name.

Once you click on the Alert group name a popup window appears where changes can be made to the existing alert groups.

Adding URLs to Groups in Nectus

After creating URL groups, you now may add URLs that you want to monitor to the group you have just created.

Right Click on any of the group name and select: Add New URL

After clicking Add New URL, you can add the URL and give the URL a specific name. You may also specify which group the URL goes into.

Once you have added the URL, monitoring start automatically.

Repeat this process for every URL you’d like to enable for monitoring.

After you have finished adding all of your URLs you will be able to quickly see the status of all the URLs in the left side panel.

 

Multiple Alert Email Aggregation in Nectus

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Multiple Alert Email Aggregation in Nectus

Very often during site level power or network outages or during network maintenance multiple devices become offline at the same time causing multiple individual DOWN Email alerts to be sent at the same time.

Depending in the size of the site it can be well over hundreds or even thousands alert emails to be sent out to corresponding e-mail recipients configured for given site.

Starting from version 1.2.52 Nectus offers an option to aggregate multiple DOWN or UP email alerts into a single multi-device alert notification containing a list of all devices that became DOWN or UP within last monitoring interval.

To enable Alert Aggregation, go to Monitoring -> Global Monitoring Settings: “Alert” Tab

And Select “Aggregate multiple UP/DOWN Alerts” Option.

 

Monitoring Cisco Power Supplies with SNMP

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Monitoring Cisco Power Supplies with SNMP

Cisco Power Supply

Cisco Power Supply

Step 1. Determine which SNMP OID to use

Very first step before you can start monitoring power supply status is to determine which SNMP OID is supported by specific router or switch type you want to monitor.

The main challenge here is that there is no consensus among manufacturers on specific SNMP OID and even within Cisco products OID can be different on different product lines.

Let’s take Cisco Catalyst 3750 series switches as an example.

For all Cisco 3700 series switches SNMP OID that contain power supply status is .1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.5.1.3 (ciscoEnvMonSupplyState) from CISCO-ENVMON-MIB

Cisco TAC is usually a good resource to confirm which OID can be used for different Cisco product lines.

 

Step 2. Obtain Power Supply Index Values

Next step is to perform SNMP GET BULK or SNMP Walk query for selected OID (.1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.5.1.3) against one of the switches that you planning to monitor to determine how many power supplies this specific switch model has and what are the index values for each power supply.

Sample GET Bulk Response from Cisco Catalyst 3750:

‘1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.5.1.3.[1034]’ => “1”

‘1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.5.1.3.[2034]’ => “1”

In this SNMP GET-BULK response we see that switch has two power supplies with indexes: 1034 and 2034.

 

Step 3. Obtain list of Status Values for SNMP OID

Last step before we can start monitoring power supply is to consult MIB for possible values that this specific OID can report for power supply status.

For SNMP OID 1.3.6.1.4.1.9.9.13.1.5.1.3 there are 6 possible status codes:

Normal (1), Warning (2), Critical (3), Shutdown (4), Not Present (5), Not Functioning (6)

 

Step 4. Create Custom SNMP Tracker for Each Power Supply

Now we are ready to create custom SNMP trackers for each of the power supplies.

In Nectus GUI go to Monitoring → SNMP Monitoring Settings → Custom SNMP Trackers

Press “Create” button to bring up Custom SNMP Tracer creation interface.

We will have to create two separate trackers, one for each power supply.

Complete tracker “General” settings Tab according to this

Note that for this tracker we created a device view called “Cisco Catalyst 3700 Switches” that contain all Cisco Catalyst 3700 Series switches that we want to monitor with this tracker.

If you want to enable Power supply monitoring for more switches later, you just need to add new switches to this Device View.

Select which email lists will be used as email Alert recipients.

In “Alerts” Tab we need to specify which status values will be considered Normal and which values should trigger Alerts. You can specify multiple values separated by comma.

Define an Alert Severity level for Alarm Values as Informational, Warning or Critical.

Define number of consecutive readings for which power supply status has to report an Alarm condition before formal Alert is created. Nectus performs one SNMP poll per 5 min.

So if you define value for consecutive readings as 3 it should result in Alert created after 15 minutes of True Alarm conditions.

Press “Save” to complete Custom SNMP tracker creation for Power Supply 1.

Repeat the same process for Power Supply 2.

Now you have created custom trackers that will be monitoring both power supplies on all Cisco Catalyst 3700 Switches in your network.

 

Using Subnet Profiles in Nectus IPAM

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Using Subnet Profiles in Nectus IPAM

One of the unique features offered by Nectus is the ability to logically split each subnet into predefined ranges reserved for specific categories such as users, servers, infrastructure devices, etc. This is done with the help of subnet profiles. In Nectus, subnet profile is a set of IP ranges with a unique color code and a distinct name. Color coding makes it easier to locate an IP range reserved for a specific device type. This article explains how to create subnet profiles in Nectus.

  1. Creating a Subnet Profile

To create a new subnet profile, go to Main Menu and select Settings → General Settings → IPAM Integration.

In the “IPAM Integration” window that appears, select Subnet Profile tab and click Add button.

Begin defining a new subnet profile in the “Add Subnet Profile” GUI window that appears. Assign a name to your new profile. Define the first device category. Determine how many IP address you would like to reserve for the first device category and assign an order number for the first (Start) and the last (End) IP address in the group. Chose a color code for the device category.

Use + button to add additional device categories. Press Save to save your new profile.

 

2. Assigning Profile to a Subnet

 

To assign a profile to a subnet, right click on the selected subnet and select Properties.

On the “Properties” page that appears, select the desired profile and press Save button.

 

3. Benefits of Subnet Profiles

Once you have assigned a profile to a subnet, your subnet map will display color-coded IP ranges reserved for the device categories.

This visual guide will help you better manage IP addresses in the subnet.

 

Importing subnets to IPAM from IGP routing protocols explained.

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When importing Subnets into IPAM from routing protocols Nectus apply following rules:

  1. Only subnets from IGRP routing protocols (EIGRP, OSPF, ISIS, RIP) are being considered for import.
  2. Nectus will not import subnets from iBGP  or eBGP.
  3. Nectus start importing subnets in the order from smallest to largest:  /32 ,   /31, then /30, then /29…etc.  This is done to give individual subnets priority over  summaries.
  4. Every imported subnet is validated against overlapping with existing subnets.
  5. Nectus will not import subnets that overlap with any of the existing subnets.
  6. Nectus will only import subnets that fall into defined IPAM address space.

Using Custom Subnet Tags in Nectus IPAM

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Using Custom Subnet Tags in Nectus IPAM

One of the unique features of Nectus IPAM is ability to define unlimited number of properties aka “custom tags” and assign it to any of the subnets.

For example: “Building Floor”, “Datacenter” or “Application Name” can be defined for each subnet as a custom Tag.

To create a new custom tag go to Settings → General Setting → IPAM Integration

On “Subnet Tags” tab you will see current list of Tags that already exist in database.

To add a new tag press “+” button next to drop-down menu with all the tags.

Specify Tag name and press “Save” button

After you defined Tag’s name you can start adding specific Tag values for this Tag by pressing on “+ Add” button at the right upper corner of the page.

You can define as many Tag Value as required.

After you finished defining Tag values you can open Properties for any subnet in IPAM and you will see all the defined Tags as a drop-down menus where you can select specific Tag value for given subnet.

 

Creating DHCP Split Scopes in Nectus IPAM

Creating DHCP Split Scopes in Nectus IPAM

Nectus IPAM offers extensive DHCP integration features with one of the most important is ability to create and manage DHCP Scopes split across multiple DHCP Servers.

To create a new DHCP Split-Scope go to “Inventory → IPAM Subnets and Reservations”

Select “IPv4 DHCP Subnets” Tab and press “Add Subnets” button.

Specify basic Subnet info and select the DHCP Servers that will be serving IP addresses for this subnet. Define “Start” and “End” IP address for each selected DHCP Server.

In this example subnet 10.20.20.0/24 is split across two DHCP servers: PLUTO and NEON.

Server PLUTO is serving IP addresses from range: 10.20.20.1-10.20.20.200

Server NEON is serving IP addresses from range: 10.20.20.201-10.20.20.254

Always make sure that split-scope ranges don’t overlap to prevent duplicate IPs being leased.

Suppressing excessive E-mail alerts during site level network outages

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When whole site power outage or network maintenance is in progress it is default behavior for Nectus to send individual DOWN alerts for each device in that site possibly resulting in hundreds of DOWN e-mail alerts followed by the same amount of UP e-mail alerts sent out to all configured alert recipients.

In version 1.2.53 Nectus introduced a feature that allows user to reduce number of alert e-mails during site level network outages to only specifically designated devices called “Gateways”

For each site user can designate some of the devices as “Gateways” and following alert rules will be applied:

  1. If all the Gateways in given site are DOWN, Nectus will not send DOWN alerts for regular devices located in the same site.
  2. If at least one Gateway in given site is still UP then Nectus will send individual DOWN alerts for all of the devices detected as DOWN.
  3. If all the Gateways in given site recovered from DOWN to UP, Nectus will not send UP alerts for regular devices located in the same site.
  4. If at least one Gateway in given site is still DOWN then Nectus will send individual UP alerts for all of the devices detected as UP.

To configure Site Gateways right click on Site and select Properties

Press “Site Gateways” Button

Select devices that you want to be gateways for given site and press Save button

 

Using Graphs in Custom Dashboards

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Using Graphs in Custom Dashboards

Nectus offers extensive capabilities of visualizing different aspects of network performance and presenting it in custom dashboards.

This article guides you through the basic step of process of adding graphs to custom dashboards.

Step 1. Prepare Graphs for the Dashboard.

Generate the graph you’d like to include in a dashboard. Make sure to adjust the required time range using the drop-down menu in the left upper corner.

Click URL button to obtain the URL address for the graph.

In the URL window, click Copy and save the URL address into Notepad.

If creating a dashboard with multiple different graphs, repeat building graphs and save URLs for every graph that will be included in dashboard.

Step 2. Create Custom Dashboard.

Once you have built the graphs and saved all the URLs, you are now ready to create a custom dashboard.

Go to Monitor → Custom Dashboards → Manage Custom Dashboards.

Click Add Dashboard button.

In the “Dashboard Widgets” menu select “Custom Graphs” Tab, select the number of graphs you’d like to display in Dashboard by checking the boxes on the left, and paste the URL addresses that you previously saved.

Give Dashboard a Name and press “Ok”

Your new dashboard is now listed in the Custom Dashboards list. Click on the name to open it.

If desired, use paper clip icon in the right upper corner to make this dashboard appear every time you login.

 

Using Custom SNMP Trackers in Nectus

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Using Custom SNMP Trackers in Nectus

Nectus offers extensive SNMP based network monitoring capabilities that allow users to track any metrics accessible via SNMP.

In addition to standard metrics, such as CPU, RAM or TCAM utilization, Nectus offers a new feature called “Custom SNMP Tracker” that allows you to monitor virtually any metrics accessible via SNMP.

This article will guide you through the basic steps required for setting up custom SNMP trackers in Nectus.

In the Main Menu, go to Monitoring → SNMP Monitoring Settings → Custom SNMP Trackers.

This opens a “Custom SNMP Trackers” window. To create a new custom SNMP Tracker, click the Add Tracker button.

In the “Add New Custom SNMP Tracker” interface box that appears, specify the following parameters:

  1. Tracker name (Example: “Power Supply Temperature Sensor”)
  2. SNMP OID to be used with “SNMP GET” request for Data
  3. Unit Name (Example: C for Temperature)
  4. Data Type (Integer or Floating)
  5. The Device View that contains list of devices to be used for collecting data from
  6. Select “Log to DB” if you would like to save metrics values to a database every 5 minutes
  7. Select “Email Alerts” if you would like to be alerted when metrics exceeds pre-defined thresholds
  8. Min and Max Threshold Values
  9. Select the number of “Consecutive Readings” exceeding threshold that would trigger an alert
  10. Select one of the existing email lists/groups to receive the alerts (Example: “Network Admins”).
  11. Click Edit Alert Templates to fully customize the alert email for the metric

Customize the E-mail template for Alert and for Recovery event when Metric value returns to normal range.

You have now created your first custom SNMP tracker. To create additional trackers, use “Clone” feature to create and edit a copy of an existing tracker available from the “Custom SNMP Trackers” page.

 

Monitoring Cisco IPSec VPN Tunnels with Nectus

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Monitoring Cisco IPSec VPN Tunnels with Nectus

One of the key features introduced in Nectus 1.2.51 is ability to automatically discover and monitor Cisco IPSec VPN Tunnels terminated on ASA Firewalls and regular IOS routers.

  1. Tunnel Discovery

As part of regular scheduled network discovery Nectus attempts to detect existing VPN tunnels on all routers and firewalls by polling standard SNMP MIB: CISCO-IPSEC-FLOW-MONITOR-MIB

reserved for VPN Tunnels.

All discovered VPN tunnels can be seen in Main menu: Inventory → VPN Tunnels

 

 

All discovered tunnels displayed as a table with Terminating Device, Group, Local and Remote IP Address visible in individual columns.

You can assign a human friendly name to each tunnel by pressing Tunnel Edit button on the right.

 

  1. Creating Groups and Assigning Tunnels to Groups

Each Tunnel must be assigned to an individual group with newly discovered Tunnels being automatically assigned to a group with “Default” parameter set to On.

User can create multiple different groups and group tunnels in any way that is appropriate.

User can change Tunnel-to-Group assignment by using context menu or by using “Edit VPN Tunnel” button.

 

  1. Enabling Tunnel Monitoring

Once all Tunnels are discovered and added to a correct group you can enable monitoring on group level by setting “Enable Monitoring” check-button to “ON”

 

After “Enable Monitoring” flag is set to ON, Nectus starts checking Tunnel’s status every 5 min and creating records in Alert log along with sending Alert emails in case if Tunnel is down.

 

Real Time status for all tunnels can be seen in left side panel “VPN Tunnel”

By using right-click on Tunnel’s name you can access rich context menu where you can move tunnels to a different group, delete Tunnel, change Tunnel’s name or

View Tunnel’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 Information.

 

 

“View Tunnel Info” provides low level Phase 1

 

And Phase 2 Information along with encryption domain parameters and traffic counters

 

 

Nectus Installation Procedure

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Nectus Installation Procedure

Server Requirements:   Windows Server 2012 or newer.  8GB of RAM.

1. File Preparation

You start with downloading Nectus Distribution File from www.nectus5.com

Download the ZIP file called Nectus 1.2.51.zip and extract it to a temporary folder.

In the folder you will find two files:

 

Keep the htdocs.zip file compressed. Start installation by launching file Nectus Setup 1.2.51.exe

2. Nectus Installation

Accept the license agreement on the first page.

 

Choose an application installation folder.

 

Choose whether you want Nectus to discover Network devices or not.

 

If you selected “Yes” for the Network Device Discovery, Specify the version of the SNMP Protocol.

 

Then specify SNMP credentials.

 

Specify up to 10 IP Subnets where Nectus will be performing Network Discovery.

 

 

Setup an Administrator account.

 

Then click install, which will automatically complete installation.

 

When the installation Is complete, you will see the following page.

 

After you click Finish, the Nectus login page will come up, where you need to provide the credentials of the admin account you created during Installation.

 

when you log into Nectus you will see a Network Discovery Progress page.

 

Click “OK” to close it.

3. License Generation

Next, the license page will come up.

If you do not have a permanent license ready, Click “Generate Temporary License” button.

 

Complete the “Temporary License” Form and press the “Generate Temporary License” button.

Nectus server must have an Internet access to successfully generate the temporary license.

After temporary license is generated, Nectus is fully operational and ready to be used.