server networksInvesting in network monitoring applications has become a necessity for any organization.

For this reason, most organizations regardless of size are seeking network monitoring applications to identify performance issues, network threats, and to stay on top of the current status of network environment health.

Monitoring your network is a critical part of protecting programs and data as well as your network as a whole. Without the proper applications for monitoring data, threats, failures, and performance, you are taking huge risks which can devastate your organization.

The type of network monitoring applications which are best for your organization is dependent upon specific business needs.  However, to help you get started, here are five of the top network monitoring applications businesses of different sizes are using to protect mission critical data and applications.

Who uses Network Monitoring applications?

Network monitoring applications are used throughout the information technology services sector for monitoring multiple client networks. Your typical IT services organisation will have a large LED monitor on the wall that displays a network-monitoring dashboard. This dashboard will display a list of client networks that are being monitored in real-time, warning engineers of any potential network issues by highlighting any networks with issues in red. Many network-monitoring applications also sound an alert when a new problem arises. This sound clip is usually a claxon or a generic alarm. I recently visited our London IT Support Department for a demonstration of their e-pulse network monitoring solution. They have three 40” monitors at their remote service desk, which are only used to display the network monitoring dashboard. When you see network monitoring in action, it makes you realize just how important it is for companies such as these…

Large organisations or corporations with dedicated IT departments also use network-monitoring solutions for monitoring wide area networks.

Net Spy Pro

GFI Max

GFI Max is a remote network management application which was previously known as Hound Dog.  GFI Max simplifies monitoring multiple machines on a network thanks to an intuitive dashboard which instantly notifies you when there is a problem with one of the machines on a network.  Instead of having to log in to each machine to collect data, GFI Max remote management provides a way to monitor each machine from a single interface, provided the client is installed in each machine on the network.

The GFI Max client application is capable of being installed on any network machine running on Windows XP or higher.  The application is a web-based tool which is compatible with a variety of different browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

The GFI Max remote management system can be used by a single organization that requires multiple machine monitoring in one or more locations.  It is also designed for use by cloud monitoring services which use a gateway to perform monitoring services for their clients.

The key features which are included in the GFI Max remote management system include a patch management system for enhanced security, asset tracking capability, system branding to allow clients to associate your logo with system security and reliability, system alerts to provide immediate notifications of any issues, comprehensive reporting systems for effective monitoring, easy integration with automated applications, help desk, and complete workstation/server/network/website monitoring which functions from a user friendly interface.  The interface is designed to allow you to see all configurations at a glance.

Pros

  • GFI Max removes the guesswork and improves accuracy when monitoring multiple machines on a network.
  • The remote monitoring system offers extreme flexibility and reliability.
  • User-friendly dashboard provides a complete overview of all devices at a glance.
  • Easy integration with other programs and applications.

Cons

  • Integration of third party applications can become complex with minimal support.
  • Cost can be an issue the more clients you have since you are essentially paying for a service and never really own the software.

The Bottom Line

If you are investing a significant amount of time monitoring a large number of machines, the GFI Max remote management system can be very beneficial. The system alerts and immediate email notification helps you to resolve issues quickly before they become a huge problem. You can also place your company brand on the service to associate your company name with security and reliability.

Visit the GFI max website – here

Kaseya

Kaseya is a remote desktop management system which is used at the enterprise level to monitor and support remote machines, as well as provide desktop support to end users.  Kaseya integrates with other Kaseya products to offer a comprehensive network management system.

If your organization requires a complete network administration system, Kaseya is worth considering.  The remote desktop management system is one portion of a set of tools which are capable of monitoring networks, providing remote support to the end user, generating reports, and installing software.

Kaseya offers a broad range of features which allow you to control any device connected to the network as if you are sitting in front of it.  The machine must also have the Kaseya client installed in order for remote access to function properly.

The key features of the Kaseya remote desktop management system includes comprehensive monitoring tools which are geared toward business users, secure File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for performing file transfers, secure encryption, video streaming to facilitate user training and support, a user friendly interface which is accessed via your web browser, chat integration for improved support, and enterprise level remote management for your entire network infrastructure.

The setup and deployment for Kaseya is also relative fast and easy with the capability to access machines from behind a firewall.  This is achieved via an outgoing connection to a server from the client software.

Installing the client is an easy process that can be used on as many machines as required without having to shell out extra money.  Many networking monitoring companies charge additional fees for adding a specified number of additional machines on the network.  Before you deploy Kaseya, it is necessary to obtain a price quote from the company which is the base for installing Kaseya clients on an unlimited number of Windows-based computers.

Pros

  • User friendly interface and fast deployment.
  • Free 30-day trial provides a way for you determine if Kaseya is right for your organization.
  • Simple user and policy administration.
  • Complete and reliable technical support.
  • FTP utilizes easy drag and drop functionality.

Cons

  • Kaseya is not suitable for home networks however, home users can consider one of the other products in the Kaseya line of network monitoring software.
  • The web-based interface and ticketing system tends to function at a slow pace.
  • Some of the features require a time investment to learn how to use.

The Bottom Line

The Kaseya remote desktop management system is a highly functional network monitoring application for organizations that require a comprehensive network management system. The application functions reliably and provides a broad range of useful features which can increase productivity while saving loads of time. However, home users should consider some of the other Kaseya products in the network monitoring category which are designed for individual users.

Visit the Kaseya website – here

Solar Winds Orion

The Solar Winds Orion networking monitoring application is equipped with robust features that allow you to easily manage and monitor a complex network environment.  Solar Winds helps to alleviate some of the bottlenecks that tend to occur in complex infrastructures by providing immediate access to critical information on network status.

If the network administrators in your organization are constantly backlogged and network issues tend to get out of control, Solar Winds is a networking monitoring application worthy of your consideration.  The web-based interface provides innovative features which allow you to easily view any event which is occurring in the network environment. The interface also does not require a hefty learning curve which allows you to be up and running quickly.

Some of the top features included in the Solar Winds network monitoring application include ConnectNow Topology Mapping which completely automates network mapping in real time while offering complete views of the network without having to install any additional tools.  There is also a Wireless Poller which is integrated in Solar Winds to monitor wireless devices to simplify device management and security.

The VMware monitoring feature is capable of monitoring VSphere and ESX virtual environments, as well as providing you with a clear view of every event in this type of infrastructure.  There is also a comprehensive reporting tool which allows you to customize the data to provide a quick view of specific network processes.

Pros

  • User friendly interface with VMware monitoring and Wireless Poller.
  • Capability to provide a second tier help desk to monitor the state of a complex network and user activity.
  • Automated ConnectNow topology mapping.
  • Customize reporting capability.
  • 30-day free trial allows you to test drive the application for suitability in your network environment.

Cons

  • The cost of implementation can be rather high depending upon the size of your network with prices starting around $2500.
  • Solar Winds network monitoring application is not designed for individual or home users.

The Bottom Line

If you can get past the initial cost of implementation, Solar Winds Orion network monitoring application provides a robust set of tools with automation that help to increase productivity and save a lot of time on network monitoring and management.  Plus, the advanced mapping and reporting features help you take a proactive approach to identifying and correcting network issues before they are allowed to grow into a larger problem.

Visit the website – here

CA Nimsoft Monitor

CA Nimsoft Monitor is a scalable network monitoring application which is used to proactively monitor in-house networks, as well as cloud-based infrastructures using a single code base.  It also offers a flexible and scalable solution which is capable of changing as your network requirements change and optimizing service levels for multi-tenant cloud environments.

If your organization requires comprehensive network monitoring, the CA Nimsoft Monitor will do the job, including monitoring your entire network environment for servers, applications, data storage, networks, databases, end user response, as well as public and private clouds.  The features include unified administration from a user friendly interface, advanced alert system, Service Level Agreement (SLA) monitoring, event and performance management for fast problem resolution, intuitive reporting system, automated monitoring, and comprehensive coverage for a broad range of devices and services.

The CA Nimsoft Monitor can be deployed on the premises or you can obtain it in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS).  Deployment is fast and allows organizations to realize business value within a matter of days as opposed to several months.  The cost is determined according to whether you choose the pay-as-you-go model or conventional ongoing usage licensing terms.

Pros

  • Rapid deployment and configuration allows you to realize business value faster.
  • Up to 80 percent reduction in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
  • Fast problem identification and remediation.
  • Flexibility and scalability allows you to easily add or remove services as your business needs change.
  • Reduced training costs and low total cost.

Cons

  • CA Nimsoft Monitor is not designed for individuals or home users.
  • Depending upon method of deployment, some of the features can be complex and require a time investment to learn how to use.

The Bottom Line

If your organization is large with a complex infrastructure and you require flexible licensing and deployment, service level insights for multiple SLAs and service level metrics, as well as automation, then CA Nimsoft Monitor may be right for your needs.  Additionally, it can deliver reports, alerts, and critical performance information to the right people whether it is within your organization or outsourced. If you are a small organization, then another networking monitoring solution may better serve your requirements.

Visit the official website – here

Cacti

Cacti is a network monitoring application which uses Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to capture network data and events and then present the information in an easy to read graph.  SNMP is a protocol which is used to manage multiple devices on an IP network.  The interface is web-based and accessed using your web browser and allows you to easily view many different aspects of network performance including memory usage, disk space, workloads, Network Interface Controllers (NIC), bandwidth, traffic, Central Processing Unit loads, events and performance for problem resolution, and patch management.

The data acquisition is achieved by polling network devices which are SNMP capable and then the information you select is organized into easy to view graphs.  Since Cacti is a PHP driven front end RRDT (Round Robin Database Tool), it stores all of the data you gather in a MySQL database to create and populate graphs.

Once the data sources have been defined, a Round Robin Database Tool graph is created based on the defined data.  Cacti is capable of generating an unlimited number of different types of graphs using automatic text padding and color selection to make graph creation easier.

Cacti also offers  graph templates which provide a way to group common graphs together, in addition to data source templates which enable you to group  together common data source types.  The view display allows you to choose how you want to view the graphs including the capability to create a graph hierarchy.

The User Management feature allows network administrators to easily create users and assign different levels of permissions.  Each user can configure their own settings for viewing network events and performance.

Cacti is an open source network monitoring application which can be downloaded free of cost unless you choose to download it as a virtual appliance to avoid a complex setup and configuration process.  In this case, the virtual appliance versions of Cacti will cost just a few dollars per month with a 7-day free trial.

Pros

  • Cacti provides a cost effective way to monitor and manage network performance.
  • The graphing system makes it easy to take a proactive approach to identifying and resolving network issues.
  • Easy implementation and can be integrated cross platform since it is My SQL and PHP-based.
  • Easy monitoring of a broad range of network components.
  • Can be used on any size network.

Cons

  • Setup and configuration can be complex if you are not familiar with Linux.
  • Use of MySQL is not designed for network novices.

The Bottom Line

Cacti can be relatively complex to set up due to its reliance on PHP, MySQL, and other required components. However, for network administrators that seek a highly functional and comprehensive visual representation of network events and performance, the advanced graphing system that Cacti offers is a definite plus to taking a proactive approach to accurate network monitoring.

Visit the official website – here

Article WritingAbout the Author:

Jamie is an ICT professional with over ten years’ experience in the outsourcing sector. As a project Manager by day, Jamie likes to blog by night!

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