Network Monitoring Software Forum

Vijay Karadi
User at Karadi
Apr 03 2021

Hello, 

I'm looking for alternatives to SolarWinds NPM as it is expensive for my budget and has poor performance.

Please share your suggestions and why you recommend choosing another solution.

Henry Steinhauer
Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Feb 05 2021

With the security issues associated with SolarWinds - are people switching to other vendors?   Which ones are you switching to?


RobertUllmanThousand Eyes acquired by Cisco, interesting synergies with AppDynamics APM.
TigerLilyWe’ve switched from Solarwinds to Centreon even before the issue occurred. It’s way cheaper and is a good alternative and very flexible to your needs. You can play with it yourself.
Darryl TheronHi Henry, Infosim, Stablenet is a very good alternative. Regards, Darryl Theron
Network security at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Feb 04 2021

I am looking for a tool or device that can be used to measure upstream bandwidth utilization. Any recommendations?

Thanks.

Henry SteinhauerOne I am looking closely at is AppNeta. They have an appliance that can digest the flow and do a better job than Netflow. The other one we are using is ExtraHop.  This has both a Datacenter High Volume version and also an Appliance one could use at a remote Facility.  We are using the smaller appliances at our Hospitals and their Uplink to the WAN Routers.  Good job on showing the 1 second burst values as well as longer term usage.   It also can help with studies of HTML / HTTP applications.  I put a simple trigger in place to report on transactions that finish in different 'buckets'  1 - <3 seconds; 2 - >3 and < 10; 3 - >10 and < 60; 4 - over 60.   We are looking to establish a SLA of 99.9% under 3 seconds.  This can report down to the 5 minute interval size and has spotted spikes when the back-ends are doing odd things.  Those 5 minute time frames are when the end users are having pain with the application. Of course when they call it in to the Help Desk - the problem has resolved.  Now we have evidence that it did happen.  Now we can ask them to fix it.  If they do not meet that SLA - $$$ can be lost from the standard fee because of failure to meet our requirements. As expected they are balking.  But - our end users are happy that now there is proof there have been issues.  They are pressing to either solve the issues or find another vendor. 
reviewer775476PRTG is a nice tool to monitor performances of a wide kind of network devices. This tool is based on SNMP requests, and it is very easy of use
reviewer775476Only for bandwidth, you can use MRTG. You can also copy all the trafic to a probe and use NTOPNG to have a dashboard with also the protocols flows and other IP data.
Rony_Sklar
IT Central Station
Jan 13 2021

There are many network monitoring tools out there - some free, most paid. What software do you think is best for a large enterprise? 

reviewer775476It actually depends on the exact purpose or kind of devices (network devices, servers, something else). Some tools are better for only network devices while others are better for a cloud monitoring or APM monitoring. It is easy to survey basic topics with only one tool (state active or not). But I think with my experience that's better to split the network side and the datacenter side. By exemple, the monitoring of the configurations have sense only for network devices, with real-time alerting. For this purpose, we use Solarwinds NCM. For the network devices, the monitoring of the topology is also important. For routers devices, a netflow collector is very useful to know the kind of the trafic. And also a good syslog collector (feature included in NCM)
sarkar.abhirup84It actually depends on the exact purpose or requirements. Some tools are better for only network devices while others are better from a cloud monitoring or APM monitoring perspective.  You can check LogicMonitor, InfraonIMS (EverestIMS Technologies), Thousand Eyes etc.
MauriceWhiteWe just did an assessment for our 47 datacenters around North America. The top two enterprise-level network monitoring solutions were ExtraHop first, Riverbed SteelCenter second. Their negotiated cost is about the same but ExtraHop gives more features, has an excellent out of the box interface, and was the staff favorite after a proof of concept.
Rony_Sklar
IT Central Station

Why should businesses actively monitor network traffic?

What benefits are there to network monitoring?

Any suggestions for where to start with setting up effective network monitoring?

reviewer1122879Start with an open-source no-cost solution like Nagios for Network Monitoring to get familiar with the features you like and don't like. Benefits to network monitoring are the reduction in the meantime to recover and seamless experience to our customers. Why should businesses monitor network traffic? Each business really needs to grasp its "why" on networking monitoring. Is it reactive and defensive or is it proactive with a roadmap leading to AIOps?
Raymond De RooijAs already said Network monitoring is just one type of monitoring, and you should monitor on all levels to get a clear picture.  Hnad in hand with monitoring goes a good Event, Alert setup, to be warned when something is happening. Now to Why? - Network monitoring is to find the bottlenecks in your network, by looking at Bandwidth and latency. - check on malfunctionign systems, by looking at Network errors - find out between which points the most traffic is excahnged. - you can look at trends, sudden peaks in traffic. Benefits: Most benefit you will get is to prevent network disturbances. e.g when someone is hogging the internet connection you can quickly resolve it. - it should also give an idea on where to invest on network equipment based on usage, bottlenecks etc. - with respect to appliation performance, the network is normally the first thing that one is pointing at. so, it certainly helps to be able to see if the network is overused. - insights will help wih e.g. QoS implementation, for voip, and business critical applications. start setting up: I wuld also recommend to start with opensource, (also depend on the size of your network and its complexity).  Start with colelting standard in/out for the most important network components, like internet connection, routers, central switches.  Then based on some initial observations, you can define some alerts on when an connection (e.g. internet) is over used, e.g alarm at 60, 80, 90% capacity.
David CollierThese are the 3 fundamental questions all businesses should answer before embarking on any monitoring project. Let's start by saying that Network Monitoring is only 1 component of IT Monitoring. If you only monitor what is going on with the network itself you're driving with most of your car windows covered. You also need to consider; - Server Monitoring (hardware, OS) - Application Monitoring (databases, AD, other middleware, web servers, application executables - the list goes on) - Environmental Monitoring - Security Monitoring - End-user monitoring Within these areas of monitoring, everything you monitor falls into one or more categories; - Availability (is it working?) - Performance (is it working fast enough?) - Capacity (Have got enough of it?) As a previous respondent has said, this also should be mapped to what the organization is using the IT for. i.e. what is the line of business systems that a company depends on to exist? All these factors - the scope of monitoring and the categories of monitoring data when taken holistically, enable a business too; 1. Identify business-impacting events within the IT Infrastructure 2. Identify POTENTIALLY business-impacting events within the IT Infrastructure before they actually impact work. 3. Identify trends in an activity that can be indicative of changing business needs. 4. Identify where and when investment will need to be made to ensure that the business maintains operation (it's no use waiting until that disk drive is full before buying the upgrade - it's too late then). 5. Help to identify potential inadequacies in the IT Infrastructure (you do have a backup network route to your factory in Bolton don't you ?) 6. Identify potentially "rogue" devices on your network. Do you really want Alexa listening into the office activity? 7. Help to identify application improvements - how are people 'really' using your application? (I bet it's not the way that you expected !). If you take these 7 capabilities that IT Monitoring provides and consolidate them into a single raison d'etre..... A comprehensive monitoring solution encompassing the entire IT estate will enable an organization to save money by reducing the impact of IT issues. It will enable an organization to better plan the budget for IT investment. It will increase operational efficiency by reducing the number and duration of IT outages. In a perfect world, IT Monitoring will pay for itself in terms of system availability, performance, and capacity. But it's not a perfect world..... Only monitoring Network components only gives a network-centric view of any issue. Let's take a silly example..... Your router is reporting a massive increase in network traffic from one VLAN to another. The trend suggests that you're going to run out of capacity when the peak sales season hits. The problem though is that you've recently had an app upgrade that for some unknowne reason is doing full table scans of a 40GB table for each of your 300 users. Why fix the network when the application is at fault? As for the final point - where to start? As a previous respondent suggested, "start with an open-source no-cost solution....". That's probably a fair start. I would however consider all my points above first before launching into rounds of "yum install" or "tar -xvf". As far as possible, have an understanding of what your key business system are and how they plug together. Then identify the metrics that matter to the operation of that system. This is your foundation. For each metric consider why you need it, what you're going to do with it, how long to keep it for (that's the capacity side of monitoring) and what is the impact of it going wrong. Now let me make something clear - and this is a personal perspective from a number of decades working in IT Monitoring - IT Monitoring Software is a mature market. It's a commoditised. Just about ALL monitoring software does fundamentally the same thing. Large commercial vendors have a user base that's paying for support and upgrades as part of a maintenance contract. In order to maintain that revenue, these vendors introduce features and facilities that frankly very few customers actually exploit. Then the competition introduces the same features and maybe a few more and the whole cycle starts again - it's an example of the Red Queen Effect. The end result is that over time features are added that are of limited value or add to the underlying system requirements. I know of one platform that for a reasonably sized infrastructure needs around 12 - 20 servers just to do the monitoring (and that's excluding the proxies for remote monitoring). Someone mentioned AIOPS. AI needs to learn in order to adapt. At the moment, AIOPS is MLOPS (Machine Learning Ops). The actual personnel and resource overhead in maintaining the additional components needed to make AI(ML)OPS a reality are beyond most companies - with the exception of very large telcos, service providers, and research agencies. For instance, AIOPS depends fundamentally on having a real-time dynamic view of the entire IT infrastructure and how everything is interconnected. Basically a CMS on steroids. As we enter the era of Docker containers, nebulous cloud services simply maintaining this view automatically is extremely difficult and resource-intensive. Sure, IT Monitoring tools do network discovery and can identify new and changing environments but maintaining those dependencies is a complex process and I sincerely don't think that anyone vendor has 100% mastered it yet. If you are a very large organization, with literally a million pounds to spend on IT Monitoring these large commercial solutions are the best. They're not perfect, not by a long chalk, but they are there. Factor in your running costs though. Back to open-source. Open-source solutions such as Nagios and my personal favorite, Zabbix, are excellent at collecting data. And that is the fundamental, number one, priority. If you can't measure it, you can't monitor it. My tips are, therefore: 1. Know what is important to your business. 2. Don't (please don't!!!) stick to monitoring networking devices. 3. Make sure you factor in the support and admin costs. 4. Don't forget to monitor user activity (known as Application Performance Management) as well as technical metrics such as CPU and Disk Space. 5. Start with the basics. Hope that helps guide you. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/itomdave
Rony_Sklar
IT Central Station

What tools do you recommend for SQL server monitoring for an enterprise-level business?

DonaldBakelsI highly recommend 2 products from the SolarWinds ITOM Suite; 1 Server Application Monitor Check link: https://www.solarwinds.com/server-application-monitor 1 Database Performance Analyzer for SQLServer https://www.solarwinds.com/database-performance-analyzer-sql-server Both products are integrated
Morne' O'KennedyI personally believe in SCOM (Operations Manager) since it contains all the required tools to monitor and manage SQL operationally. Majority of enterprises already have the Microsoft EA in place so the System Center licensing is already available along with SQL.  .. in summary
Usman MalikYou can use Solawind or BMC
Rony_Sklar
IT Central Station

What tools are best to use to monitor the quality of VoIP network for a mid-sized enterprise?

Brian PhilipsThis has evolved over time as unified communications has evolved. To really be accurate it should be done with a solution that uses packets as its data-source. This is really a not a good play for NetFlow or SNMP polling and traps. Some log companies will also throw their hat in this ring by collecting CDR {Call Data Records} from call manager servers on their opinion of the quality of the call by something called MOS {Mean Opinion Score}. Each manufacturer/vendor will have some kind of tool to investigate at least the signalling {SIP, Skinny, etc} and maybe the signalling {RTP, etc} but that is also the constraint, many don't support other vendors. Most vendor-agnostic tools from NPM {Network Performance Managers} products can at least do Jitter and Out of Sequence and Packet Loss on the media {RTP} streams of a call, which network teams need to prove their innocence. Example vendors would be Riverbed, Extrahop, Viavi, NetScout.  But these same vendors lack the Signalling correlation to the call. Then, today there is the SaaS aspect too.  Like WEBEX, Zoom, 8x8, Teams, etc. and this traffic the media {RTP} is usually encrypted and often the signalling {SIP} is encrypted as well. The only vendor I have tested and monitor as of today, right now, is NetScout. Their product is vendor agnostic, supports all versions of signalling and media, including video.  Also, they have the ability to decrypt the HTTPS traffic going out to any SaaS vendor, even TLS 1.3. It even has the ability to "listen" to the calls and flag things like echo, tinny like sounds, soft voice, loud voice, background noise, and correlate to factors like QoS mapping, Jitter, Loss, OOS, etc.  It also monitors and alerts on One Way Calls, DTMF mistakes, Voice Mail, Conference Call stitching, Call forwarding following, path latency and network error hop by hop.  A very long list of other features. They even know what each CODEC can tolerate in the aspect of network errors and call quality as far as sound goes. This means if the CODEC can absorb the issues it will log and baseline the behavior but not Alarm on it unless you want it too. The last point I will make is really about privacy laws worldwide. Replayability in any investigation only or investigation & monitoring solution has to be tightly controlled and logged and if that is not possible then do not save the packet payload on the media.
PavanKumar7I kindly suggest Manage Engine Opsmanager.
Mohamed Y AhmedPRTG is the best that I have used ever, Check its sensors and If you didn't find the sensor that you are looking for you can create your own one meanwhile you can request it from the development team. https://www.paessler.com/prtg
Rony_Sklar
IT Central Station

What problems can a wifi monitoring tool help to troubleshoot? What software do you recommend using as a wifi monitor?

Tjeerd SaijoenWifi monitoring is important depending on if you are in an office building, healthcare, or in a hospital. In a large building, you need to monitor the signal and see where to place your station to get an optimal signal. So you get the best performance. Also, the security of all the monitoring stations is important. Are you wifi stations protected, is the signal encrypted, etc. You have a lot of good freeware tools to monitor wifi equipment today. So to answer the question yes wifi monitoring is important and don't forget all the IOT and smartphones, they will be connecting to an office network, so everything needs to be protected.
Sunil WillieThis depends on the brand of WIFI you have. More information can be obtained if you monitor WIFI controllers instead of the WIFI itself. We use Nagios as it allows to custom develop plugins. Rule of thumb for Nagios, anything that can be obtain manually using a keyboard, you will be able to automate it with Nagios.