How to Edit the Device Tree
PRTG Network Monitor has a hierarchical structure of probes, groups, devices and sensors, called the device tree. PRTG’s auto-discovery process will create a tree and group devices according to device type, such as network devices, servers, storage, etc. In this video you will learn how to rearrange this tree to fit your individual requirements. Once you have PRTG up-and-running, you’ll have a hierarchical structure of probes, groups, devices and sensors, which we call the device tree. Configuration settings are all inherited through the tree, so it’s worth taking the time to make sure the tree is structured in a way that makes sense for your company and the way your IT team operates. PRTG’s auto-discovery process will create a tree and group devices according to device type, such as network devices, servers, storage, etc. However, this automatically created tree might not be the best fit for you, so this video is going to show you how to rearrange the tree to fit your requirements. Adding Groups to the device tree The first thing we’re going to look at is the dark blue buttons at the bottom of the main page. These will let you add remote probes, groups, auto-discovery groups, devices, sensors and apps to your PRTG installation. The “add group” and “add auto-discovery group” are the most important ones for structuring your device tree. “Add group” adds a new group to your tree structure. When you click on this, you will then need to specify where this group should be added to your existing tree. Give your group a name. And if you want to, you can add tags or override the inherited settings here. Click Continue, and the new group will be added. Groups created using “add group” are initially empty. You can now use “add device” to manually add devices to this new group. Adding Auto-discovery groups The other button to add a new group is the “add auto-discovery group” button. This will create a new group in your device tree AND will automatically populate the new group by running an auto-discovery. So, that’s the difference between “add group” and “add auto-discovery group” – add group adds an empty group, and “add auto-discovery group” runs an auto-discovery to populate the group. When you add an auto-discovery group the first step is the same – you need to specify where in the tree this new group should be created. And, on the next page, you need to name the group. This page, however, has more options than the “add group” had, because we need to configure what kind of auto-discovery should run. The first option selects the level of detail for the auto-discovery. The standard device identification will add sensors that Paessler feels are appropriate for this device. It will add standard sensors based mainly on ping, SNMP and WMI. The second option, detailed device identification, will add an extended set of sensors and can create a large number of sensors. We recommend starting with the standard auto-discovery, and using the detailed auto-discovery later, if you’d like to try more detail. The third option, sensor creation using specific device templates, lets you limit the auto-discovery to only the templates you select. This option is particularly interesting when you create your own custom templates, before running the auto-discovery. Using custom templates lets you configure sensor limits, triggers and notifications ahead of time, and then you can use your templates to create sensors that already have your desired configuration. The discovery schedule indicates how often auto-discovery should run for this group. Just this once, hourly, daily or weekly. Re-running auto-discovery on a schedule lets PRTG detect and add new devices as they appear. The IP selection method lets you specify what IP range PRTG should scan for this group. You can scan subnets, a list of IPs or DNS names, or a list of computers from Active Directory. Depending on which option you choose, there are additional fields to fill out, to tell PRTG what to scan. You can then decide whether you want to use only IP addresses, or if PRTG should resolve those IPs to DNS names. And the final option here is to specify what PRTG should do when the same device is found again in a later scan. In most cases, you want to ignore it, because the device is already in PRTG, but you can also choose to re-discover the device if you’d like. Continue, and you’ll see the new auto-discovery group added. And we can see that the auto-discovery is starting. Editing the device tree using the Management Tab To re-order groups, devices or sensors in the tree, the easiest method is the management tab. This changes the view to all-grey, which indicates that you’re in an editing mode. You can now rearrange things by drag-and-drop, to change the order of probes, groups, devices or sensors. For example, I might want to move this group of servers higher up in the tree, and I can just drag it to where I want to go. Or I might want this one sensor to be the first one in the list for this device – I can just drag it forwards in the list. To rename something, click on it, and update the name on the right-hand side. You can select more than one object using the control key. When more than one object is selected, the area on the right will show the configuration options that all of these objects have in common, so you can edit multiple objects in one step. This management tab view also has the same dark blue buttons at the bottom, so you can add remote probes, groups, auto-discovery groups, devices and sensors directly from this view, as well. When you’re finished rearranging the tree, simply click on the Overview tab to go back to the normal tree view. Cloning Another method to add new groups, devices and sensors is to clone existing objects. You can do this in the management tab or in the regular view, by right-clicking on the object you’d like to clone, and then selecting clone. Give the clone a name, and then specify where the clone should appear in the tree hierarchy. When you clone a device, you’ll need to specify a new IP address or DNS name for the clone, since it will appear as a new device in the tree. Sensors on cloned devices are always paused when they’re first created, so that you have a chance to re-configure the sensors, if needed, before they start running. When you’re ready to start up the new sensors, click the “resume” triangle to start them. They will be grey initially, until they’ve run for the first time. To speed things up, you can do a “check now” to move these sensors to the front of the queue. In addition to the methods we’ve just seen in this video, you can reach the same features with a right-click on the device to bring up the context menu, where you can rename, clone and move objects. And, there are similar options under the Devices menu, to create new groups.