Networking

What is your network monitoring tool of choice?


Over the past few days, TechRepublic has been publishing triple-play content pieces (gallery, article, download) on several network performance monitoring tools. The tools themselves seem to work as advertised and so far none of the reviewed tools have been found to be unreasonably lacking. But reading about the software has me wondering if the real determining factor for IT pros and network administrators is really just familiarity?

Are you using the same network monitoring tool you have been using for years? On what criteria did you decide to use that particular tool? Is it possible it is time for you to consider something different? Could there be a new and improved product in your future? Will you sacrifice familiarity and comfort for uncertainty and another learning curve? Will inertia win?

If you are feeling even slightly adventurous you might consider downloading trial version of one or two of these network monitoring applications:

Or perhaps one of the tools we have looked at in the past:

You can get a copy of Spiceworks' IT Desktop from the TechRepublic Software Library.

So, what is your network monitoring tool of choice anyway?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

29 comments
voatsap
voatsap

Hi Mark, Currently very beta version of our platform - SPAE already include: Server services and resources monitoring, Notification over email, sms, icq Performance and resource usage graphs Security monitoring and vulnerability scan http://shalb.com/en/spae

network monitoring
network monitoring

network montoring should be the tool which provides the great security and accessibility.these tools supports on the wireless network and supports all the protocols.this should have to block spam and viruses. http://www.tsarfin.com/

NaughtyMonkey
NaughtyMonkey

such as Cacti, Squeal, Etherreal, Wireshark, Nmap, and analogX.

Mark.Seger
Mark.Seger

My tool of choice is collect! see http://collectl.sourceforge.net/ but then again I may be a little biased because I wrote it myself over 4 years ago and it is used on a daily basis by a large fan base. I guess I was tired of having too many inconsistent tools for monitoring lots of different things and I wanted one tool that did it all. How about sar you say? Great tool but it doesn't monitor enough such as Infiniband or Lustre file systems to name a couple. Furthermore if I want to plot the data I have to write scripts to post-process it. Any what about central tools for monitoring clusters? again I saw no to the existing one. Either they require you to monitor as such a low rate as to get meaningless numbers (I want samples no further apart than 10 seconds!) and if the network dies you lose data. No thank you, I'll continue to collect data on local machines where I can do it once a second if I need to and am not at the mercy of the network, especially if the network is acting you and you want to see what it's doing. -mark

LizNY
LizNY

NetCrunch for great visualization of the network. I could also customize alerting policy just as I needed. And in fact, getting budget approved was not that hard, I didn't need any fancy Power Point presentation, just a couple of Netcrunch screenshots that I showed and explained to my boss.

pseglar
pseglar

We monitor a medium wan with around 50 sites and +-100 network equipment including routers switchs firewalls file servers, web servers witch so many OS. to monitorize that we use JFFNMS that we have customized. it can poll via ICMP and SNMP of course. furthermore it can get SNMP traps, syslog messages and it do an inventary of the cisco IOS config and shows you the historical change. I am satisfied with it, the only that done of less is wmi polling and traffic analisis like snort.

ntboss
ntboss

Not saying its perfect but its a good value for the money. ($300 I think.) www.ks-soft.com

dagar
dagar

If you want to be up and running quickly, try zenoss (www.zenoss.com). It is open source with the ability for paid support. They also have a vmware appliance for easy installation.

zloeber
zloeber

I use Cacti to monitor trends in switch/router usage and errors. I use Netdisco to gather information on hosts attached to each switch/router and auto map the network. I utilize HP Insight Manager for hardware errors. For the windows servers, I automatically gather errors and warnings in the Application and System event logs (as well as others like DNS if the server has it) using logparser scripts into a SQL database. I then have the daily event logs mailed to me for review each morning. I also have all routers and switches sending their logs to a linux server running syslogng with phpsyslogng for viewing. Now that I'm thinking of it, I really setup a lot of tools for this company. :)

cmckay
cmckay

Awesome linux server app for monitoring the network.

frank.schafer
frank.schafer

... and how to perform this. For monitoring my first criteria of choosing is - it has to run permanent and automatic, informing me (by mail or SMS) if something cheesy 's going on. If I monitor services or server availibility I've chosen Nagios. It's highly customizable, it can send mails or SMS and it can even repair problems by it's own. If I monitor security I've chosen Snort. Getting the right traffic patterns takes some investigation, but if one has them the number of false alarms is VERY small and it's getting nearly everything. For network performance (or load) I use to use MRTG. It can make fine graphs and the lack of notification can easy be solved by a little shell script. Well, and for analysing of network problems ... tcpdump is my tool of choice. One can use one of it's graphical frontends (Ethereal for instance ;).

kurt
kurt

ethereal - now called wireshark - is a great network monitoring tool. It is mature, robust, and full-featured. Best of all, it is supported by a talented group of developers who are constantly improving the product. Yet another open source success story. Best of all, this best-of-breed tool is completely free... as all good software should be!

thomas.ray
thomas.ray

We use What's Up Gold from IPSwitch.

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

You must have an older version. I just checked the website, they want $$$ for it now. However, there is a free trial.

Why Me Worry?
Why Me Worry?

Personally, I would prefer HP Openview, but given it's 6 figure price tag of deployment, I would opt for a cheaper alternative, such as SolarWinds Orion Suite of products. WhatsUp Gold is another great package, but I find Orion to be easier to use and more robust in terms of SNMP traffic monitoring.

sic-transit
sic-transit

Edited Message was edited by: beth.blakely@...

Jeff Dierking
Jeff Dierking

We are looking to deploy a centralized monitoring tool as well and IpSwitch is on our radar, but we have little info on it other than marketing. Thanks

pcavlovic
pcavlovic

We have What's Up Gold but we have never had training ... Can you direct me to any good training materials for this product?

Geriatrix
Geriatrix

This is an open source product & scales well to most network sizes. Currently only available on Linux and installs easily on any of the Debian distributions (Sarge, Etch...) using apt-get. Monitors with SNMP so no client agents needed. Reasonably easy to configure to local network and offers good out the box monitoring.

WANToolsMan
WANToolsMan

There is still a free version available. From their homepage (www.bb4.org), the link on the right ([BTF 1.9i]) goes to the free version. I seem to recall they said they were going to have the commercial version, but keep the free version. Good luck! Chris Ivey Information Management Senior Analyst Enterprise Management Integration Services ACS, Inc. - TWDC

healeybuff
healeybuff

My preferences for Enterprise Infra Mgt (network plus Unix/Linux/OpenVMS/Windows) is dependent on the perspective required. For ServiceDesk/HelpDesk Quest Big Brother is an excellent simple dashboard, Cittio Watchtower has more SLA and diagnostic functionality, OpenSource players like Nagios and OpenNMS are good allrounders but require some scripting, Compuware Network Vantage is an excellent network monitor and diagnostic tool.

ckd1191
ckd1191

What I need, and what I am looking for in a product: 1) Scalable notifications: meaning: I get ONLY the most severe notifications and the techs get the ?other? notifications. I don?t want to be notified unless there is an emergency, but I need my techs to be notified of any change (they define) in the environment. 2) Uptime statistics per server: (if I schedule maintenance, that scheduled downtime does not count against my uptime SLA) 3) Storage Statistics: For folders, not JUST the hard drive as a whole. I charge customers for HDD space (e.g. 20 GB). I have a folder per client. What I need is, a report that says FOLDER x has a 20 GB limit and is using 10GB and has expanded by 2 GB in the last month (so I can up sell HDD space, and warn of impending limits encroachment). 4) The ability to monitor my servers from within the rack, and from outside the environment (see item 1) a. I may show us as up, but my clients see us as down? 5) The ability to monitor (and restart/stop/start) services 6) I don't want my clients to know about an issue (any issue) before I do! 7) I need reports in HTML format so I can post them to each clients ?home page? so they can see where we?re at vs. their SLA. In a perfect world; I have client X that logs in. I?ll want a page they can browse to and get the latest (refreshable) statistics related to their environment (HDD space availability, server uptime, etc.) What makes this difficult is; their HDD space is NOT on the same server(s) as their applications, or possibly even their front-end web server. Does anyone know of a product that will handle these requirements?

ono_senden
ono_senden

There is a great training company working out of the UK - HCL Communications. Try them, their email is support@snmp.co.uk (cool domain address)

scronin
scronin

If you're still looking for training info can contact Frank Metcalfe fmetcalfe@ipswitch.com

raj24
raj24

Anyone has a good tool used at a site like 2000 routers and 5000 switches .I need a good tool like HP ov which can monitor and do event correlation . i dont like HP ov because its java based and the gui is not good . Anyone having used for a enterprise network monitoring for a global NOC ?

completecs
completecs

I have used this product in a couple of companies. Good product. Easy to use. Very versitile. It can monitor just about anything on a network. It can monitor applications as well as hardware.

advertj
advertj

Don't use Big Brother, use hobbitmon, which was forked from bb-ng. It is available at http://hobbitmon.sf.net. Note that unfortunately, the author doesn't update the homepage anymore, so you'd think that the project is dead. However, if you visit the project page, you'll notice that it's still quite active and newer versions are available from what is linked on the abandoned home page.

healeybuff
healeybuff

We currently use a combination of proprietary and Open Source tools (Compuware Network Vantage for Application/Business perspective of network traffic with low level diagnostic capabilities and Big Brother for dashboard view). Looking at CITTIO Watchtower, Argent, Nagios and OpenNMS as alternatives). Have implemented HP OpenView and CA Unicenter TNG previously in small pilots but have dismissed products due to develment and management/maintenance overheads required - both good products however). Have previously also used IPswitch Whats Up Gold.

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