Monitoring servers and network infrastructure is important when it comes to keeping your business operations flowing, but what level of server monitoring is required if down time is simply not an option?
Things are further complicated by the varied ecosystems that exist in the computer world, with Microsoft Windows, Linux and many other players all sharing in the market.
Process Monitoring and Operating System monitors are a good way to keep tabs on key servers and workstations, ensuring that if anything that is business critical, such as an application, file share or website, is kept online at all times.
Processes are background applications in an Operating System that are required to be run at certain times, during certain operations, or in many cases, all the time.
Here is our list of the eight best process monitoring software and tools in 2021:
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor – FREE TRIAL A monitor that checks on physical properties of servers, monitors all running processes and traces the performance of applications active on the server. Installs on Windows Server.
- Atera – FREE TRIAL This cloud-based system monitoring platform includes server monitoring with process and capacity supervision.
- Paessler PRTG – FREE TRIAL An all-in-one system monitoring package that covers networks, servers, and applications. The server supervision sensors include process monitoring capabilities. Installs on Windows Server.
- Site24x7 Process Monitoring – FREE TRIAL A monitor for servers and services that can group together the supervision of servers on different sites. This is a cloud-based service.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager + OpManager – FREE TRIAL Monitor application and the processes they run with Applications Manager and link through to physical statuses on the supporting server with OpManager. Both install on Windows Server and Linux.
- Datadog Infrastructure A cloud-based monitoring tool that examines all of the services that support user-facing software, including server resources.
- Nagios A resource monitoring system that is available in a free version, called Nagios Core and a paid version, called Nagios XI. Both versions include process monitoring and run on Linux.
- OpsView A system monitor that covers server statuses and application execution. Installs on Linux.
- Process Monitor (Microsoft) A free utility integrated into Microsoft Windows. Easy to use with a process killing button.
Process Monitoring is the best way to keep tabs on everything, and if a service happens to fail, then corrective action can be taken quickly.
Monitoring Critical OS Processes locally on a server is easy to do in most Operating Systems, but what if your company has hundreds, or even thousands of servers that need to be monitored?
What if each of these units has hundreds of processes that need to be running?
How would you cope with that kind of volume?
That is where our monitoring tools come into play, and today, we will be looking at 6 of the best examples for your network.
Here's the Best Process Monitoring Software & Tools of 2021:
SolarWinds offers a 30 day free trial of its Server & Application Monitor, aka SAM. This is an easy to use system that is normally setup in just a few minutes, and allows for infrastructure monitoring for services such as Azure and AWS, as well as extensive network monitoring features.
As well as all of the normal functionality that SAM brings to the table, there is also included monitoring templates that ship with the application out of the box. With over 1200 to choose from, you are bound to find a monitoring template to do whatever you need it to.
SAM allows users to delve into their Windows and Linux servers by drilling down into details such as Active Directory stats, Java Environment details, XenApp Stats, IBM WebSphere, Lync, Office 365 email and more.
The Appstack dashboard allows users to quickly find an exact cause of an issue with an application on a physical or virtual server. By using this visual aid you can easily pinpoint problem issues. Virtualization monitoring is useful for Microsoft Hyper-V and VMWare ESX health stats, and performance monitoring can also be looked into if there are any issues.
The dashboard also integrates into SolarWinds Virtualization Monitor. If storage needs to be looked into, then the Server Volume Monitoring and Capacity Planning aspects of the page can also be used. This lets you monitor the server’s storage volumes, disk usage, and capacity details, all in
Other useful features include:
- Customizable Monitoring
- Centralized Asset Management
- Application Monitoring
- Linux and Microsoft Windows Compatible
- Application Dependencies
- PerfStack Dashboard
- Optional High Availability
- Enterprise Command Center
If you need individualized server monitoring statistics, then SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is a great option. There is a lot of information at your disposal if you value customizability and fine tuning your server’s monitoring.
Its ease of use, custom monitors and application models all come together to provide users with a comprehensive and easy to setup server monitor. Its multi-platform support for Microsoft Windows and Linux means that you can monitor all of your servers, from this single product.
30 Day Free Trial!
Atera is a cloud-based system management platform. This system is designed for use by managed service providers (MSPs). The package includes tools to run an MSP, which are called professional services automation (PSA), and tools to run the systems of clients, which are called remote monitoring and management (RMM) systems. The process monitoring function of Atera is part of its RMM module.
Each account on Atera is able to manage several systems at once. The service is not charged per managed system. So, there is no limit to the number of systems that each account can monitor. The subscription model for Atera levies charges per technician per month. So, a single technician gets all of the facilities that a large department of support technicians use.
The server monitoring screens of Atera show live performance data in a graphical format as well as panels of information and data. This live data is useful to know. However, in order to get the best value out of each technician, you don’t want your monitoring staff to sit watching the server performance screen for one server on one client account. Each member of staff needs to cover many clients if you are going to be able to offer your MSP’s services at a competitive rate.
Atera has an alerting system that generates a notification if a performance threshold gets tripped. The system is available with standard thresholds on statuses such as processor capacity and process duration. However, it is also possible to set new thresholds. When a status condition trips a threshold, the Atera service will send a notification to key staff members by SMS or email. This means that tour staff can assume that all services are working satisfactorily unless they are notified otherwise.
Atera is available in three editions: Pro, Growth, and Power. All of these plans include process monitoring and other server status tracking services. All plans also include proficient network monitoring services.
Pro: $79 per technician per month, Growth: $119 per technician per month, Power: $149 per technician per month.
Atera is a cloud-based system, so there is no need to download any software in order to use it. You can access a 30-day free trial.
PRTG is another multi-platform monitoring solution that can easily check the stats of Microsoft Windows servers, Linux Servers, and macOS. PRTG is built on SNMP and WMI so it can seamlessly pull stats from these operating systems.
PRTG is agentless, which means that you don’t have to install any instances of the software on your target servers, making your monitoring completely remote, without any interference to your servers necessary at all.
PRTG comes with alerts to let you know if things are not going well for your servers, and these alerts will be able to let you know before they become a much bigger problem for you and your users.
Windows servers are monitored by PRTG and the main stats that are visible are CPU usage, traffic, memory, hard drives and other vital stats. Monitoring is accomplished via the WMI framework, which gives direct hardware access to the monitoring software, providing accurate and real-time stats.
It also uses SNMP and performance counters to give you a complete overview of your server’s overall health and performance. Linux monitoring is accomplished by using the SNMP and SSH protocols, and popular supported Linux Distributions are Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, RedHat and Suse.
There is support for other distros as well,.
MacOS is monitored in a very similar way: through SSH and SNMP. MacOS is found primarily on workstations, but some businesses utilize the server derivatives of this OS as well.
PRTG is quick to configure, and the setup is really easy to breeze through upon installation. It has a built in auto-discovery that allows all of your servers to be identified on the network with minimal effort.
There are pre-defined device templates that are used as well, making the setup quicker still. There are different licensing models available depending on your requirements, which makes this solution very scalable.
Free version which has 100 sensors!
Site24x7 is a cloud-based system monitoring platform with modules that specialize in different types of infrastructure. The Site24x7 Infrastructure module monitors servers and the applications that support front-end software. The system is able to centralize the monitoring of multiple servers from many different sites, including virtual servers in the cloud.
All of the processing for statistic display is resident on the Site24x7 servers and the console for the monitoring tool is hosted there, too. Technicians can access the dashboard from anywhere using any standard Web browser.
The dashboard is presented with standard screens for server monitoring. However, these can easily be adapted by the user, thanks to drag-and-drop widgets.
The Site 24×7 system requires agent programs to be installed on the servers that have been enrolled in the monitoring service. These agents are available for both Windows Server and Linux. The agent collects system data and then uploads it to the Site24x7 servers over secure connections for processing.
The agents look at system resource capacity and usage, including disk space, memory, and processors. Information on these factors is shown in tables of data and is also interpreted into graphs and charts.
The Site24x7 monitor places performance and capacity thresholds on all of the metrics that it covers. When performance dips below expectation or capacity approach exhaustion, the system generates an alert. These alerts can be forwarded to technicians by SMS or email as notifications.
Site24x7 Infrastructure is a subscription service and it can be expended by paid add-on services, such as network monitoring. The functions of the Infrastructure module, including server monitoring are also included in the Site24x7 All-in-one package. You can check out the services on Site24x7 Infrastructure on a 30-day free trial.
The base package for Site24x7 Infrastructure costs $9 per month when paid annually.
You can get more information and access to a 30-day free trial.
Applications are implemented as processes in the CPU of a server. So, when tracking the performance of processes, you need to look at them in the context of the applications that you need to run. Are you supplying enough services to your user community? Could you cope with more applications being requested? Is you server fit for purpose?
These are big questions and to get a full answer to all of them you need more than one monitoring tool. Your starting point is the ManageEngine Applications Manager. This monitors all of the applications and services that lie behind the delivery of user-facing software. The system is even able to monitor websites and the web application services that make them run. It can track through APIs to the behind-the-scenes components of a web page that might be running on a server somewhere else in the world.
So, thanks to the complexities of modern IT, the successful delivery of software and applications to your users might depend on the successful performance of many servers scattered across the globe. Applications Manager can cope with that scenario. It traces all application dependencies, producing an application dependency map and showing the underlying services that make software run successfully. This is important when things go wrong. You need to know what element is letting the side down and which server is running it.
Once Applications Manager has created your app stack, you switch over to OpManager – the two modules dovetail together seamlessly. OpManager shows you all of the processes that create those applications and indicates which are below par. The monitor will identify server issues that could be causing processes to hang or fall over and then you’ll quickly sort out what is going on with your poor software delivery.
Both OpManager and Applications Manager have a system of alerts. These identify problems and send out notifications by email or SMS. That means that your tram can get on with other tasks, knowing that no news is good news.
6. Datadog Infrastructure
Datadog Infrastructure is one layer lower than an application performance monitor. While it does monitor applications, it focuses on those services that support other applications rather than the software that users actually access.
The functionality of Datadog Infrastructure reaches from just beneath the front end down to the system resources of the server that runs all of that software. This includes the processes that run on the server and provide those services.
The Infrastructure monitor is a cloud-based service and so it does not have to be limited to monitoring servers and services resident on one site or one network. It can group together the monitoring of servers located anywhere, even in the cloud. The service instantly shows all of the servers in common ownership, their capacity and their utilization. By this, the system administrator can see which servers are overstretched and which have spare capacity.
The monitoring system supports virtualizations and containers. The mix of hardware and software monitoring offered by Datadog Infrastructure is particularly useful for the monitoring of hypervisors and the allocation of VMs to servers.
In the monitoring of virtualizations, as with all of the other metrics that the service monitors, Datadog Infrastructure sets performance thresholds. These are set at levels that give technicians enough time to prevent developing problems from becoming disasters. The Datadog system uses AI-based machine learning to set these thresholds. By this method, the service avoids over-alerting.
The cloud-based Datadog service can be accessed from anywhere through any standard Web browser. The platform includes other modules that slot together. So, while Datadog Infrastructure can be used as a standalone monitoring system, administrators also benefit from combining it with other services, such as network monitoring or the Datadog APM.
Pricing: Datadog Infrastructure is available in three editions: Free, Pro, and Enterprise. The Free version is only able to monitor five hosts. That service only has a one-day data retention limit. The Pro edition has a 15-month data retention period and costs $15 per host per month. Those machine learning thresholds are included in the Enterprise edition, which costs $23 per host per month.
Download: You can access a 14-day free trial of Datadog Infrastructure at https://www.datadoghq.com/dg/enterprise/server-monitoring-benefits/
Nagios offers Operating System (OS) Monitoring via its application, and it is aimed at both server and workstation units that might need to be checked up on. System metrics such as service states, processes that are running, performance counters, event log monitoring and application monitoring for software such as IIS, Exchange, Apache, MySQL can all be catered for.
These applications would be found on critical servers such as application, mail and database servers. Active Directory, DHCP and Sendmail is also supported, as are many other Operating Systems. These include: Windows, Linux, Unix, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and macOS/X.
This is one of the most comprehensive monitors in terms of operating system compatibility, so if your environment has a mix of Windows, Linux, Unix and macOS/X then this would be a good option to consider.
All of these features mean that Nagios offers a comprehensive IT infrastructure monitoring solution that is both multi-platform compatible and customizable. As a process and OS monitoring tool it offers excellent vision via its monitoring dashboard, and from here things such as running applications, running processes, network activity and more can all be viewed from a single interface.
There are hundreds of third party add-ons that can be added via the Nagios plugin function, meaning that if you have specific monitoring requirements, chances are that somebody has already written a plugin that does exactly what you need.
The Nagios Core 4 Monitoring engine gives users a massive advantage on the network, allowing them to analyse and investigate process and application level performance issues on the network, and will allow for advanced remote troubleshooting and increased up-time.
The application scales incredibly well, so whether you have a massive operation to contend with, or a small IT setup to contend with, you’ll always have the right monitoring applications for the job.
Pricing: Nagios Standard Edition pricing starts at $1,995
OpsView seeks to consolidate all of the informational metrics that are gathered from your servers on the network, and then have it all collated into a single, legible source of data. This is especially useful if you need to standardize your reports so that all data is presented in the same way, measuring the same metrics.
OpsView understands that not all operating systems were designed with high level monitoring of system metrics, which has traditionally meant that uses needed to dig for data when they needed it. OpsView offers support for Windwos, Linux, AIX, and other Linux distributions as well.
OpsView has its own API, so if your organization wishes to integrate some of its features into your network or intranet, then you are able to.
There are several different interface to choose from, depending on what needs to be checked on the target system that you are monitoring. Guest OSes can be checked remotely, and services such as process management and viewing, application management are all available to be viewed from within the application’s options.
OpsView seeks to simplify your reporting requirements by consolidating all information into a single view of all of your operating systems in one place. This means that you can use this single solution to monitor across all of your different servers and keep tabs in system processes, user activity, CPU load and memory usage, current applications that are running, software updates to your applications, and a lot more. The views are customizable and are designed to integrate into your existing solutions via their well-documented API.
Pricing: Pricing starts at $2 per host, with a maximum of 300 hosts
9. Microsoft Process Monitor (FREE)
Process monitor is a free tool that is made available to Microsoft Windows users, and is a basic process management application. Users are able to monitor and filter information about their servers such as real-time file system activity, Registry and process and thread operations on specific servers.
It does this by combining 2 legacy products, namely regmon and filemon. It also adds extra enhancements to the application by including advanced filtering and searchable data such as session IDs and usernames, and more. Granted, these are fairly simple capabilities when compared to some of the commercial options that we have looked at so far, but as a free tool this can be quite useful.
The process monitor is able to be used in real-time, but it also keeps vast stores of information in log files. This data can be stored and checked over time to establish any trends in system downtime, or any other issues that are detectable via the software.
There are not many other features to speak of, but as a free tool from Microsoft, it performs very well, and its installation size tiny when compared to the other applications in this round up.
Those looking for more advanced monitoring tools with options would do better with one of the paid for options in our list, but as a basic diagnostic tool that you would use to check up on a few key servers, the Microsoft Process Monitor does an adequate job.
We have looked at 6 of the Best Process Monitoring solutions around, and each one has its own unique approach to the problem. This is great news for consumers as it gives us more choice when trying to decide on which product would work best in our particular environments.
What’s even better is that the products tend to scale up very well, so that if your business grows, then you can purchase additional sensors and licences for your monitoring application.
Being able to identify a bloated process on your server gives you the upper hand in the battle against server up time, and a quick service restart can often be the difference between a happy user, and a Blue Screen of Death on one of your vital servers.
Why not try out one of the top 3 selections from our list and see which one works best in your environment? Each has its own specific features that differentiate each one from one another, so take a look at which ones could work best for you and then try out the evaluation version. You might find your dream monitoring software that will help you to keep your IT systems afloat even during.