The Best Network Monitoring Software of 2015

发布于 2015/11/20 14:09
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We test and compare the top network monitoring software solutions that help businesses manage the networking services that are critical to the health and functionality of their data centers.
Name LogicMonitor Spiceworks Network Monitor ManageEngine OpManager Ruckus Wireless ZoneDirector 1200 Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold Datadog
Lowest Price

Editor Rating               
Best For APM, Network Monitoring Infrastructure Management, Network Monitoring APM (via Optional Plug-In), Infrastructure Management, Network Monitoring Network Monitoring APM, Infrastructure Management, Network Monitoring Infrastructure Management APM, Infrastructure Management
Netflow/sFlow Yes Yes Yes No Add-On Plug-In Yes
Auto-Discover Yes No Yes Only for Ruckus Yes Yes No
Mobile Device Support

On-Premises Deployment

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Version

Real-Time Alerting

Application Programming Interface (API)


Multi-Platform Agent

Custom Dashboards

Custom Reporting

Role-Based Access Control

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The Best Network Monitoring Services of 2015

Having the right tools for any job can mean the difference between just getting the job done and doing it efficiently and effectively. The same goes for monitoring your network. To help with that, we've reviewed six different network monitoring software solutions to help you choose a tool that works for you.

Networking services are critical to the health and functionality of any data center, so proper management of these services is job one for any IT organization. For example, if the systems attached to your network can't get an IP address by usingDynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), they won't be able to communicate with any other system. Similarly, if Domain Name System (DNS) isn't functioning properly, your systems won't be able to look up the address of any system on the Internet. Managing bandwidth and network utilization will directly affect the productivity of every user connected to your corporate network.

Infrastructure Versus Network Monitoring
Some of those services cross over into the category of infrastructure due to the criticality of the service. Monitoring services such as DNS then becomes more of an infrastructure management issue as opposed to a network consideration. DHCP probably fits the same description, although the managing of a DHCP service would be something for a network administrator would typically be responsibile.

Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) was first introduced in 1998 under Request For Comments (RFCs) 1065, 1066, and 1067. SNMPv2 and SNMPv3 have, for the most part, replaced the initial version and have seen widespread adoption across a variety of platforms. While SNMP is most frequently associated with networking, you can also configure operating systems (OSes), to include Microsoft Windows, to respond to SNMP commands. A key consideration for network management tools should be how they use SNMP to accomplish their tasks.

If you really want to know what's happening on your network, you'll need to learn something about network flows. NetFlow was originally introduced for Cisco routers, providing the ability to analyze IP network traffic entering or exiting a specific interface. Flow data is sent to a collection point (typically a system running a database) to make query-based analysis easier. Other switch manufacturers followed suit, along with other similar sampling tools such assFlow. A large number of networking hardware vendors including Arista Networks, Brocade Communications Systems, Hewlett-Packard, and others provide native sFlow support. You can find a full description of sFlow under RFC 3176.

Important Features
A number of key features stand out as specific needs in order to adequately fulfill the role of network management. For one, from an administrator's perspective, it's nice to have visual graphics that give you a quick overview of the current system status. Having the ability to tweak the arrangement of graphical elements on a dashboard is an added plus. Providing a mechanism to alert someone of a problem is necessary across the board.

IP Address Management (IPAM) has become a vital capability for many large organizations. Keeping track of statically assigned addresses, along with a large number of DHCP pools, can't be adequately managed with a manual system. Integrating IPAM with a network management tool just makes sense as the same person quite frequently handles both functions.

Automation is the key to managing large numbers of devices. The more you can automate small administration tasks, the more efficient the process becomes. Automated alerting and repair fall into this category and represent a key differentiator between products. Add to that the ability to remotely connect to your monitoring system, and you have the makings of a solid product.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is a hot topic and not without a significant level of confusion—unless you happen to be either a vendor or a technologist with a vested interest. At a very high level, the term SDN is used to describe the functional separation of the network control plane and the forwarding plane, making it possible to dynamically configure data paths for optimum performance. None of these products really get into SDN, except at the top level of monitoring the performance of a switch.

How We Tested
In this roundup, we call out several areas to help focus the evaluation. While installation and setup is something you really only do once, it's still an area of interest. For the network management category, the initial configuration may include making changes to your switches in order to enable the transmission of NetFlow or sFlow data. Changes to production switches typically require a significant amount of justification and approval prior to implementation. It would be prudent to prove any of these test methods on a small test network before moving onto any larger environment.

That being said, I used an HP Procurve 3800 managed switch as the primary sFlow source. Enabling sFlow on the switch required the entry of a number of commands at the switch command line interface (CLI) over an SSH connection. I also had to upgrade the switch firmware to the latest version for everything to work correctly. At least one product (ManageEngine OpManager) provided a script to enable sFlow along with a one-page "how-to" document to do that for you.

From an administrator's perspective, the user interface (UI) must be easy to navigate and customize. It should quickly present any problem areas and allow an operator to drill down for more specifics without a huge number of clicks. The customization of the UI and management of features must not require a programmer to make it properly work. Alerting is a basic requirement, with the ability to customize the priority and delivery an equally important feature.

Reporting should be equally as easy to administer. Creating a new report with a query specific to the information of interest should not require a database administrator. Extra points are given here for useful graphics and multiple export formats. Role-based access may not be a big deal for a small organization but it would be for a group with multiple IT administrators.

The bottom line with network management is to keep the network smoothly functioning, with an eye on overall usage. Having the ability to see trends and potential problems can help stave off any future problems and add value to any product.

How to Buy
The first step for any IT project is to define the requirements. For network management tools, the foundational pieces include the ability to see detailed information about key pieces of hardware such as switches and routers. Many organizations don't have the staff to monitor computer screens 24/7. Automated alerting and remediation would be a key requirement in that case to help reduce the administrative manpower required. Trend-based reporting and monitoring help determine utilization levels and identify potential bottlenecks before they become a problem. Good reporting tools would be another requirement, to include the ability to create customized reports and queries.

Once you have that list of essential requirements, you should be able to look at each one of these products and determine if they meet those requirements or not. If more than one product qualifies, you'll need to do some testing on your own to see which one best suits your needs. Pricing varies, starting with free, then from a low-end, per-server, per-month of $1.24, up to a purchase price of $1,995 for up to 50 devices.


This professional-grade agentless monitoring service supports over 100 technologies and its extremely powerful and flexible web portal includes custom dashboards, highly configurable alerts, and fully customizable reports. LogicMonitor is the real deal.  Read the full review ››
Spiceworks Network Monitor

Spiceworks Network Monitor is a slick network monitoring package with enough extra features to be a one-stop IT shop for small to midsize businesses (SMBs).  Read the full review ››
ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager is a solid infrastructure management service with a good selection of features for IT generalists.  Read the full review ››
Ruckus Wireless ZoneDirector 1200

The Ruckus Wireless ZoneDirector 1200 WLAN Controller can bring enterprise-grade wireless network management into small and medium businesses transparently and without the need for wireless networking expertise.  Read the full review ››
Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor

A solid infrastructure management service built from the integration of two third-party management tools, Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor will serve most IT generalists well.  Read the full review ››
Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold

Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold is a venerable infrastructure management service but its requirement to install on-premises and only on Windows seems limited in today's IT landscape.  Read the full review ››

While Datadog's feature list is impressive, its installation issues mean it is an immature IT management product that should be avoided.  Read the full review ››


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