If you are a part of the Network Management team within your organization then you know how important it is to maintain visibility of network and all of the device that are connected to it.
There are many different applications out there that can certainly help you to maintain visibility with the different nodes and segments of your network, but which of them are able to do the exact things that you want them to do?
This Guide seeks to answer your questions about the importance of Network monitoring in 2020, and how it can be made easier with the right applications and tools. We will try to answer as many of the important questions as we can.
Network Monitoring Features to Look For
Anyone that works with networking knows that protocol support is important.
Each monitoring application has its preferred methods of scanning computers, appliances and applications for information.
Testing network uptime is also important, as is continuously checking the uptime of servers and networking equipment.
Some important capabilities that you will need in your next network monitoring software application include:
Simple Network Management Protocol is a protocol that operates on the application layer of the OSI model. SNMP is used to manage and monitor network devices, as well as their functions and capabilities.
Windows Management Instrumentation is the way that Microsoft implemented its own version of Web-Based Enterprise Management, also known as WBEM.This is an initiative driven by industry to develop one standard that allows access and management for servers and computers in an enterprise environment.
Ping is used as a simple method of determining if a computer or network connected device is up and running and responding to requests.It does this by sending ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) Echo Requests to the target destination and then waits for a response.This is the most commonly used network troubleshooting command as it can tell you the state of a target on your network in less than a few seconds.
Tracert, or Traceroute, is a command that shows you the path that your packets are currently taking when looking at a specific destination such as a target host or website.It shows you which path it is taking, and the latency for each hop.This is a good way to see where your packets are being slowed down, held up or even dropped.
- Uptime of Servers:
The ability to check how long a server has been online for is very handy, especially when troubleshooting. If you suspect a reboot or unscheduled shutdown has occurred, then checking the unit’s uptime is a clear indicator of how long it has been powered up for.
- Exchange Servers:
Diagnostic tools for Microsoft Exchange is important if your environment houses an Exchange server.Being able to quickly repair issues as they come up is vital if you are going to keep the flow of email at an acceptable rate within your enterprise.Email is the lifeblood of any organization that operates presently, so keeping these systems healthy is very important.
- Database Servers:
Database servers keep the wheels turning in the background for companies that use complicated software.Databases are the storage component of your enterprise, and they keep the transactional side of your systems operating efficiently.If a database that your applications are reliant upon crashes, then you will find that operations will grind to a halt as services that rely upon the database start to fail. Diagnosing faults in the database before they become a problem is a good way to avoid disaster when monitoring databases.
Network traffic analysis comes in many flavors, and these are just 3 of the main methods of traffic analysis that you could employ on your own network.Many of these Software packages have built-in Netflow analysis and collectors for many of the most popular Flow Protocols.
Here's the Best Network Monitoring Tools & Software of 2020:
It isn’t easy trying to find the perfect network monitoring solution for your organization, as there are plenty of different elements that need to be catered for, and not many applications have everything that you need for your specific requirements.
Have a look at the list below and look for the Best Application and software suite that matches all your needs and download a trial and get it installed to see how it works in your enivornment.
1. Solarwinds NPM
Solarwinds is a firm favorite among IT professionals as it gives plenty of features and abilities that you need. It has multi-vendor support for different network equipment providers, a network insights feature that gives deeper visibility and understanding of the environment.
From all of this information intelligent maps can be generated, providing even more knowledge and technical understanding of the environment. Features such as NetPath and PerfStack are two other features that help you to maintain larger environments, and there is a whole range of advanced alerting features for you to take advantage of.
NPM also offers PerfStack cross stack network data correlation, which helps you to accelerate and identify the root causes of your issues . It has an intuitive user interface that is easy to use, and lets you drag and drop network performance metrics on a timeline that is common to the rest of your networked components.
Visual representations also help you to make sense of the current state of your network, especially relating to health and performance stats of your critical network equipment such as routers and switcher.
Choosing this product as your main network monitoring solution makes a lot of sense. It has enterprise features with a user friendly interface that doesn’t take very long to install.
The initial setup and configuration may take a while, especially if you have multiple complicated network setup elements such as multiple subnets and different domains, but the end result is that you end up with a comprehensive system that gives you greater visibility over your installed network components.
30 Day Free Trial! Download Below to Get it Installed Today!
If you want to download the application then you can find the download line here.
2. Solarwinds SAM
Solarwinds SAM, or Server Application Monitor provides IT administrators and technicians with a robust system that is easy to get started with in only a few minutes. If you have a traditional setup then it can scan and discover your local area network components just as easily as your cloud components.
Azure and AWS laaS, PaaS and SaaS are all supported as well. If you have a range of applications on your network then there are over 1200 application monitoring templates that you can use to get your monitoring up and running in no time. If you have specific elements of your servers that you don’t want to monitor, then you can customize the monitoring levels to match the requirements of your specific needs.
There is even an application dependency visualization tool that you can use when you want to see what would be affected by updating or removing certain components or hotfixes.
Built in templates offer a way to implement best practice measures while saving time. There are systems and applications that require performance monitoring and speedy troubleshooting measures that are core to your infrastructure and critical applications such as Active Directory, Java, XenApp, IBM WebSphere, Skype for Business, and Office 365.
They can provide you with in depth and informative data that lets you know how your environment is operating.
Monitor what you want, when you want. Create custom monitors and modify monitoring templates if you want toand import valuable resources such as scripts to get your work done more quickly.
If you want to try this application out then you can download it from here.
30 Day FREE Trial! Download Below to Get Started NOW!
PRTG has been designed from the ground up with monitoring services in mind. You are able to check on all systems, devices and traffic whenever you need to, as well as applications and the IT infrastructure that you are supporting. PRTG bills itself as a single solution, meaning that you don’t have download any other tools or utilities. PRTG is a multipurpose tool that monitors all of your IT infrastructure.
It can help you with traffic, packets, applications, bandwidth, cloud services, databases, virtual environments, uptime, ports, IPs, hardware, security, web services, disk usage, and many other elements of your network.
Simplifying your daily tasks is the name of the game here, where network discovery doesn’t need to be a chore. PRTG can scan your network segment by segment, as well as use ping tools to establish what targets are online.
This makes PRTG especially useful when you use the predefined device templates that it ships with. Saving yourself configuration time is also one of the benefits that PRTG offers its users, so you can spend more time monitoring and less time configuring your set up.
Starts at $1,600 for 500 sensors
FREE Download and Monitor up to 100 Sensors Free!
4. ManageEngine Opmanager
OpManager is a network monitoring platform that gives you real time vision of your environment. There is physical and virtual server monitoring components to OpManager that allow you to see exactly what is happening in all of your environments.
The main selling point of ManageEngine is the fact that it is a single tool that gives you multiple ways to perform troubleshooting and repairs on your network. When you detect issues such as bad configurations or machines that are offline, you can take action from the main console page of OpManager, instead of needing to open up multiple tools to see where the fault has been detected.
The different OpManager offerings all have their own specific functions that they are able to perform. The free version of OpManager gives you basic monitoring for Windows, Linux, SQL, AD and MySQL, EventLog and Trap. There is also SNMP for network discovery and scanning.
The main limitation is that the software only caters for up to 10 devices on the network to be scanned. It does support VMWare and Hyper-V, as well as Xen servers.
Visualise your physical installations with graphical representations of your servers and networking equipment, giving you real world information about where faults are occurring on your network. Essential and Enterprise versions of OpManager have all of the same features as the free version, with the addition of WAN, VoIP monitoring and Automatic Network Mapping being present on both.
The only feature that the Enterprise version has that the other 2 are lacking is the failover support.
If you are looking to purchase one of these versions of the product then you can find the quotation page here.
WhatsUp Gold is a basic system checker that lets you quickly see what is up and what is down on your network. This helps you to control the systems that are communicating with your core infrastructure and gives you a good idea about what is working and what is not working.
This gives you much needed visibility regarding the status of your environment, and the many components that it has to support.
WhatsUp Gold has a quality versus quantity approach, so they have some great filtering features that ensure that you only get the most important alerts without being spammed by unnecessary messages. Mapping and visual tools also help you to see what path your data is taking, as well as how the devices that need to be online are being handled.
Map discovery is done automatically thanks to the SNMP discovery implementation. This means that network devices, servers, computers, virtual machines, wireless devices, and even cloud based devices. Clicking on an icon in the map layout gives you instant access to more information regarding that device. This makes report generation very easy to accomplish.
If you have frequent information requirements from the same data sources then WhatsUp Gold lets you create customizable dashboards. This makes the information much easier to find, and will give you the data that you need right at your fingertips. WhatsUp Gold has been around for a long time, and it has grown with each release.
If you want to download a trial version then you can find the link right here.
Pricing is available upon quotation request. A link can be found here.
6. Nagios XI
Nagios XI provides clients with a monitoring application that watches mission critical systems such as infrastructure components and applications. Other elements that it is able to monitor include services Operating Systems, network protocols, system metrics and network equipment and infrastructure.
Other applications from third party providers are also supported. Nagios XI has been built around Nagios Core 4 which is a monitoring engine that provides users with the best performance without causing system degradation of the host system that it is installed on. This makes this solution especially scalable over bigger environments. Visibility is achievable thanks to the central view that is provided for your IT operations.
Excellent dashboard functionality is also a feature, so you can create useful views for your systems.
There is also an integrated web-based configuration tool that allows you and your team to hand out control of managing the monitoring configuration, system settings and other features. This means that you can delegate control out to the relevant users if you need to, which frees up your technical team.
The configuration wizard makes it very easy for you to add new devices and applications to be monitored, so you don’t have to understand advanced monitoring concepts to get started.
Nagios XI provides multiple APIs that make integrating your systems very simple. Community developed application plugins are also available, so if you have specific applications or metrics that you need to monitor then the chances are good that somebody out there has already written a plugin that will help you.
Download a Nagios Trial from here.
Standard Edition pricing starts at $1,995
CloudRadar is a reliable and affordable monitoring solution that is easy to use and setup. It allows you to keep an ever watchful eye on servers, networks and various web-based assets such as websites and other hosted platforms on the internet.
The system is customizable, so if you want to monitor hard drive space, memory utilization and CPU load, then you can set up the appropriate alarms where ever you need them. These alerts are triggered and sent via email or other channels such as Slack, so you have options.
Server monitoring capabilities include availability, uptime, CPU load, Memory Consumption, Disk Fill Levels, Network Bandwidth, Process Run Status, and more. Network monitoring options include servers, websites, routers, switches, printers and IP cameras. Web monitoring of websites and availability, website content and mail server availability.
The application has support for multiple operating system types, so Windows and Linux are both covered. In-depth server monitoring functions are available, such as detailed reports and full insight, giving you all of the information that you need to keep your systems running smoothly.
Critical alerts and thresholds are also available in your full insight reviews, giving you a detailed, full picture of what is happening within your environment.
Try out the free trial version here.
Pricing varies from plan to plan, and you can have as few monitors active as a single monitor, or multiple monitors for many devices. You can find the pricing information right here.
Noction’s Intelligent Routing Platform is more than just an infrastructure and network monitor. It has been designed as a way to improve the performance of your network bring down the costs of a multi-homed BGP network.
It adds intelligence based routing decisions that make internet transmissions more efficient. Noction IRP takes advantage of the existing internet connectivity that a company already has so that it can deliver much better network performance improvements.
Noction IRP constantly probes targets over the internet for things such as packet loss, high latency, overall throughput, how reliable a target has been historically, as well as the maximum peer capacity of the device or target.
The information that is gathered through this mechanism produces a cost based route for your traffic, and then gives you the option of re-routing your traffic through a normal BGP session.
This is a tool that is really good at optimizing your connections and can save you money in the long run if you find that your current BGP network solution is not operating at its best.
You can request a free demo from here.
Contact Noction via firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing.
9. Spiceworks Network Monitoring Software
Spiceworks have created a tool for IT pros on a budget, providing them with software that not only helps with monitoring and visibility, but also with scanning and administration.
Spiceworks uses SNMP to scan your local network and lets you populate your network with management capabilities for devices such as printers, switches, routers, servers and wifi equipment. This makes it very easy to keep an eye on what is happening at any given time, making you aware of all activity on your network.
There is an integrated dynamic dashboard that acts as you primary landing page. From here, you are able to get the latest network information without getting too bogged down with unnecessary network data.
This means that only the important information is at your fingertips as you can filter out the rest if you don’t need it. A constant ping check lets you know when devices go offline. You can monitor IP phones, IP cameras, Access Control devices, and much more. There I multiple protocol support as well, so you can connect to almost any device through this application.
Alerts are adjustable so that you can only receive the warnings and alarms that you think are necessary. Annoying alerts that are not necessary for you to monitor can be filtered out, giving you control over your monitoring environment. Support is free, and there is a large community of IT professionals that are happy to help with common configuration and usage issues.
Download it from here.
Zabbix offers a monitoring platform that is scalable and robust. It is always running, looking for changes in the network so that it can monitor and relay any changes and alerts to you. Reporting and data collection are also available, giving you a lot of information when you need to analyze faults and compile reports.
Zabbix has massive device support, and can continuously scan your network for thousands of devices.
Zabbix runs on multiple platforms and has support for Windows and Linux agents. The agents themselves run on a combination of SNMP and IPMI technologies, which gives you the best of both worlds in the monitoring space.
The agents consume very little system resources, so you will not notice a drop in system performance once it has been installed and loaded in your environment.
Zabbix is not limited to local infrastructure monitoring. It offers support for cloud service monitoring, containers, virtual machines, software applications, services, and specific hardware. There is even database monitoring support that can assist with checking on database performance and locks.
If you have developers at your disposal then you can have them work on integrating the API with the system.
You can download a trial from here.
Free and Opensource
Icinga offers monitoring and visibility on the network, all wrapped up in an attractive UI that is lightweight and easy to use. Icinga monitors the availability and performance of your networked systems, and gives you an idea about what is happening on your network at a glance.
There are customizable alerts and alarms that you can set up, giving you up to date information about what is happening on your network at any time.
The monitoring engine is the star of the show, as it runs effectively and efficiently during the course of its operation. You can monitor devices across your entire infrastructure. This gives you the power to watch any computer or device on the network, as well as applications.
The monitoring engine is able to check data centers and cloud installations. These results are stored and collected to minimize system use and to maximize resources.
The web GUI is easy to use and is appealing on the eye, and because it is web based it performs especially well. You can customize your viewing options and group all of your systems and devices in the order that you want. This makes the viewing area very efficient and easy to use.
You can download a trial from here.
Contact Icinga for a quote here.
Datadog is a multi-platform monitoring solution that allows you to monitor infrastructure and apps, in any environment.
Using Datadog allows you to quickly setup dashboards, monitor infrastructure, collaborate with stakeholders and colleagues, monitor alerts, integrate systems with the API, engage in Machine Learning services and much more. Setting up dashboards is intuitive and easy to do, and you can add as many different metrics to monitor as you want.
Getting alerts on critical issues is another great feature that Datadog offers.
The scalability of these alerts ranges from single systems to multiple clusters of devices. You can determine the metrics for yourself, so if you want alerts on basic system resource consumption such as memory and CPU usage, then the ability to set up custom alerts is there.
If you have specific application monitoring requirements, then that is also a metric that can be configured.
Datadog offers excellent API support, and lets you integrate with its code so that you can create customizable and flexible monitoring solutions for your own custom environment.
A free trial version can be downloaded from here.
Starts at $15 per host per month paid annually, but there are many different pricing structures and tiers that you can look at here.
13. ConnectWise Automate
ConnectWise Automate offers a slightly different approach when looking at adding monitoring functionality to your environment. They emphasize the importance of automation in your daily tasks, especially in the administration and monitoring of your systems.
By using this king of methodology you can boost effectiveness and help to improve your team’s flexibility by allowing them to remotely monitor and manage key infrastructure systems. By relying on the power of automation you can speed up problem resolution and simplify the way that you can fix these issues at the same time.
The main focus on automating tasks is so that your support staff and technicians can become more flexible and agile when trying to access device information from a simple web interface.
This means that if your team has a smart device that is web enabled then they will be able to connect to the network and have visibility about what the current state of the environment is. This is invaluable when time is of the essence, and faults need to be diagnosed and fixed quickly.
Monitor devices and network infrastructure all from a single source, and give yourself and your team a tool that will help them to stay informed about the current state of your network.
If you want to sign up for a free demo then be sure to check out the link provided here.
Contact ConnectWise directly for a quote, the link can be found right here.
14. Logic Monitor
Logic Monitor is a SaaS based offering that provides monitoring services with cloud and on-prem monitoring. There are no limits to the amount af metrics that you can monitor, or to the number of users that you can set up to use the system.
You even get expert help when setting up the system to start your monitoring journey. It features automated hybrid infrastructure monitoring and analytics that allow you to deploy faster, monitor more and giver your ops team far greater visibility.
LogicMonitor has achieved AWS competency certification, which means that they have shown proficiency in proven customer success in specialized solutions areas.
In this case, it relates to LogicMonitor’s monitoring and alerting offering that systems and operations members need to get their work completed with tight deadlines and SLAs.
Deployment of LogicMonitor is very easy, and is installed via the Collector service application within your environment. From there, you can immediately start monitoring specific assets on your network, so that you can get a much better picture of what is happening both on your network, and in the cloud.
If you would like to see how this product performs then you can try it for free from this link over here.
Find the right pricing structure here for your own specific requirements.
PingPlotter is an application that is used for monitoring latency and connectivity issues, and is able to show you and your team visually what is happening both on your network and on the internet.
Remote sites are actively monitored by the application, and show alerts are generated when any issues are detected, such as lag and dropped packets. This is more than just a basic ping tool, as it also adds tracert capabilities and visual graphs to the offering.
This gives you a visualization tool that not only gives you good visuals on the current state of the network, but also gives alerts when anything is running out of the contextual band.
PingPlotter adds additional value by allowing you to collect historical data over long periods of time. This can help you to establish patterns in behavior, especially if you find that certain faults are occurring at specific times of the day or night, or if there is prolonged periods of outages.
PingPlotter is a good tool for both technical staff and end users, it is easy to use and easy to set up, and also provides access through it’s web API, which means that all you need is a browser in order to see it work.
Try it for free for 14 days from here.
The Standard License starts at $39,99 while the Pro License starts at $349. More pricing info can be found here.
Cacti has been around for a very long time. It is a complete network graphing tool that was designed to use RRDTools’s data storage and graphing capabilities. Cacti uses a fast polling solution and advanced graph templating. It uses multiple data acquisition methods as well, so you are not stuck with a single source of data input for your metric s and historical data. Cacti is written in PHP, so the front end is really stable and responsive.
If you need to create traffic graphs with MRTG then there is also SNMP support on hand.
Cacti has a built-in user management tool so you can make sure that only the right people have access to certain information. You can delegate administrative tasks such a suser creation to other users, or you can restrict specific functions within the application. This makes it a good tool for using throughout a department or company if multiple users need to use it to view different data points and sources.
Cacti also offer good templating functionality so you can save your specific setup, saving you time in the long run in you ever have to recreate your setup in a different area of the business without having to start from scratch. Cacti is Linux based and can be downloaded from the link below.
Free and open source
17. GFI LanGuard
GFI LanGuard acts a virtual security consultant offering. It allows users to take advantage of network and software auditing, as well as vulnerability scanning for both mobile devices and computers.
Patch management is also available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. This monitoring tool is a little limited in its scope as it focuses on the patch state of the computers on your network, but this is a critical issue to monitor if you have larger environments with many computers, servers and laptops to look after.
Software issues are easily managed from GFI LanGuard, allowing you to quickly fix problems as they come up. This frees up your support staff and lets them get on with other important tasks around the organization as issues are quickly detected and fixed via the main console of GFI LanGuard.
The combination of software, vulnerability and network scanning that this application does makes it a specialized tool that you might find useful in your environment.
Download the free LanGuard trial from here.
Find a reseller in your region from here.
OpenNMS was designed from the ground up as a carrier grade, highly integrated opensource platform that is used for building network monitoring solutions within companies. There are two distinct flavors of OpenNMS:
- Meridian and
Meridian is seen largely as the enterprise or business solution, which encourages larger deployments with more targets to communicate with. There is also long term support included with the package.
Horizon versions of OpenNMS are where a lot of innovation happens quickly, with test features and experimental builds available for testing purposes. You can receive email notifications, slack and Matter most teams via outbound web-hook integration.
Jabber and XMPP are also direct messenger clients that you can receive notifications through. External scripts are also executable through the platform.
You can integrate ticketing and tracker integration, BMC Remedy Integration, OTRS integration, IBM Tivoli Service Request Manager and more. There is also alarm forwarding for critical alers, as well as southbound integration.
Live demos are available here.
This is an opensource product with enterprise support as an option.
19. Capsa Free
Capsa is a portable network analyzer that is also freeware. It is primarily used over the LAN and is great for diagnosing and troubleshooting local faults on the network.
Ethernet is the primary monitoring that you can expect to perform with this application, so you can expect quite a bit of network information to become available once you start using the application.
Features include: Adapter monitors and manual save files. The Standard and Enterprise versions of the application include WiFi connections, IP address monitoring, session timeout lengths, online auto updaters, multiple project execution, network TAP, printing, data export, and much more.
The free version is a stripped down version and therefore does not cost anything, however the Standard license is $295 and the Enterprise license is $995.
20. Pandora FMS
Pandora FMS is another Opensource monitoring solution that is available in both free and enterprise versions. Monitoring capabilities are aimed primarily at IT infrastructure management as it is geared towards the enterprise environment.
It is able to monitor network equipment, Windows computers and servers, Unix servers, virtual machines and a whole range of applications that you can specify during the installation process.
As with most enterprise products you will find that there are certain features that you use, and some that you don’t.
Due to the flexible nature of PandoraFMS, you will not find many applications and services that it is not compatible with, so the chances of installing this monitoring suite successfully is quite good.
PandoraFMS lets you measure performance and availability with events, graphs, SLAs, full reports and more.
On the networking end of things there is also SNMP v3 support, SNMP trap monitoring, WMI support, Remote Plugin Execution and Network discovery. If you want to create network maps then this app will let you do that as well.
€3,750 or $4200 USD for the Enterprise Version per Year!
As we have seen, there are many different monitoring solutions out there.
Whatever your requirements are, there is an application out there that has been designed to meet your requirements. There are plenty of things to consider when selecting your next network monitoring solution.
Everyone has their own favorite solution that they deem to be the best solution for their own network and enterprise, so the decision will ultimately rest with you if you are looking to install something similar to what we have looked at today.