NetSupport DNA 3 review

Price when reviewed

NetSupport has always focused strongly on network and asset management, and the latest version of its DNA (dynamic network administration) offers plenty of new features, with energy monitoring and remote office management at the top of the list.

NetSupport DNA 3 review

At its foundation, DNA provides hardware and software inventory, user management, alerting and the new energy monitoring component. Six software packs are offered, so you can select functions such as remote control or internet and application usage metering, and add the full NetSupport Manager component. A further advantage is the DNA Server component can run on Windows XP and the console supports Vista, so you don’t need to factor in the cost of a Windows Server licence.

Each monitored client requires a small utility loaded, which is handled by a deployment routine that displays all discovered network systems and allows you to push the client to those selected. The newly designed DNA console is intuitive and displays all monitored systems in the left pane. Dynamic grouping makes it simple to keep your systems organised as you view systems by their OS, memory, applications, CPUs, free hard disk space and so on.

The new energy monitor provides power-related information based on the estimated consumption entered for server, PC and portable system classes. Add energy costs per kilowatt for working and non-working hours, plus estimated CO2 emissions per kWh, and DNA will provide data on power consumption determined by system uptime.

The new Gateway feature comprises server and client gateway components that are installed on each side of the remote office link. The client acts as a proxy for remote systems and talks to the gateway server, which passes inventory information onto the main DNA server. We found these easy to deploy and were able to pull the client from the main DNA server onto our remote systems.

DNA’s inventory is accurate, identifying all key hardware components in our test systems. It was equally efficient in the software department, finding virtually all apps on the test network. From the left pane you can select systems or groups and see what’s installed on them, run custom queries on the inventory database and use predefined Crystal reports to produce printouts.

Internet monitoring allows you to see what every client is browsing and for how long. AUPs can be implemented by creating allowed and denied lists of websites, and applying them to selected departments. The same process is applied to application metering, to passively monitor what’s being used and then apply restrictions.

NetSupport DNA shows that asset management needn’t be costly nor complex. It’s easy to deploy, offers an extensive range of features and the various option packs mean you can save cash by purchasing only what you need.

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