Network Monitoring Software Forum

Miriam Tover
Content Specialist
IT Central Station
Oct 16 2019
There's a lot of vendor hype about network monitoring software. These tools are not something you just install it and wait for great things to happen, right? What questions should someone ask before purchasing a network monitoring tool? Help your peers ask the right questions so that they'll make the best decision.
reviewer459630Network monitoring is a broad topic with many different sub-topics that may or may not be relevant to your immediate or foreseeable circumstances. You owe it to yourself to build a list of what you need to monitor with some general weighting as to how important each one is to you. If some items are absolute requirements make sure that's noted but be prepared to consider adopting multiple tools if the list strays outside the strict bounds of pure network monitoring. Increasingly, new network technologies are breaking away from industry-standard approaches to monitoring such as SNMP so, if any such equipment is within scope you'll need to be extra vigilant to ensure that its monitoring is covered. Basic functionality would include automated network device discovery, interconnection/topology discovery, end host to access switch port discovery, device resource monitoring, interface traffic/utilization monitoring, event generation to warn of reachability problems, threshold crossings, status changes and a multitude of other relevant concerns. You may also need to consider reporting and network device configuration monitoring and management. As networks tend to have frequent changes to their configuration and interconnections it is important that these be handled in as automated a way as possible to minimize the administrative overhead and stay accurate to the reality of the network. If the nature/mix of traffic and conversations needs to be understood then technologies such as flow analysis (NetFlow, sFlow, etc) may need to be added to the mix. One aspect of network monitoring often overlooked is the number and type of servers that need to be provisioned to host it in a production environment. The most efficient deployments for a small to medium sized network would allow the entire monitoring system to be hosted on a single server which could be either physical or virtual. If, in order to host the production (not evaluation) system you need to deploy different parts of the system on different servers, possibly including a database on its own server, you need to factor that into your decision making. Finally, you need to be acutely aware of exactly how the product is licensed. If, for example, the monitoring of each interface counts towards the overall license consumption it is tempting to cherry-pick a few key interfaces on each device to monitor. This often skips the monitoring of the interfaces connecting the end-user PCs and means that you're building blind spots into your monitoring architecture from the outset. A bad foundation often leads to an unsatisfying end result.
William Linn- How scalable is it - Does it integrate with other tools to provide a full suite of services for your entire enterprise? - What platform does it take: Unix, Linux, Windows or all three. Many only work on certain operating systems. - What level of support is needed and does the product have reliable support matrix? - Can it be clustered for high availability? - Costs and simplicity of set up should be low on the list but essential too.
Manuel AyalaWhat are the main KPIs for my operation? Is this tool helping me to measure those KPIs? o NetFlow/CFlow o SNMP o Wireless metrics o Packet capture - Does it do Synthetic monitoring (emulating user’s transactions) or monitors real users’ transactions? - Does it support monitoring for multiple brands of devices/applications? - What is the differentiator with its competitors? - Does it have a complete API with instructions to do every possible transaction through command line/scripts and integrate with other systems? - Can it correlate events from multiple sources, within the same tool and other tools? - How simple is it for the main users of the tool to do what they are intended to do (User Experience)? - How easy/complex is the deployment? Will I need an army of Sr. professionals ($$$) or a couple of interns with some guidance can roll it out? - What kind of support will I get during deployment and after it’s fully deployed? (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum…) What does each include and what are the SLAs? - Does the cost include training for my agents?
Ariel Lindenfeld
Sr. Director of Community
IT Central Station
Aug 30 2019
Let the community know what you think. Share your opinions now!
CEC-1157307Expectation setting and network segment focus are two of the most important actions that I look to take when looking at network performance and optimization. As an ex-Cisco TAC agent, "the network is slow" was the constant drone on the phone from many a customer. "The network works, no excuses" was the company mantra, in the 1990-2000 decades when I was there. But, the reality was the most of the solutions were a matter of discussing anecdotal observations with the Customer while mapping-out a crude topology. Rarely did we get a Customer with a topology map. We did this so often, that most of us bought magnetic drawing pads, at Toys'R'Us, to quickly draw and erase topologies from case-to-case. It sure saved on paper and ink. 1.) Are my users trained enough to understand that a slow network can be the internal corporate network OR the Internet OR both? 2.) Can my users understand that performance is anchored on the LAN or WLAN separately and at the junctures of these two segments? 3.) Do my users understand that an overcrowded ZOOM site, on the Internet, may be killing their VTC and NOT the company networks? Then, there are the financial questions; 1.) Can I find a tool that will let me see clearly what my LAN, WLAN, and WAN? At a great price and with great support? 2.) Should I hire someone who knows how to deal with the integration of OpenSource tools that have been used for years? 3.) I have a Windows environment with some MacOS. Why should I have to learn and set up a *NIX system just to run OpenSource tools? 4.) I heard PRTG r-o-c-k-s, BUT, it may be overkill for my network. Sophos, Sonicwall, ConnectWise Automate, Auvik and other such tools may be all I need. 5.) I've got new 10Ge and 40Ge segments that came with my SAN. Can these tools adjust to analysis on these higher speeds? My suggestion; First, make sure you empower your users with a tool that will help them figure out where the slowness is occurring. I would highly suggest contacting ookla.com, the speedtest.net folks, and look into there corporate product. You have iPerf agents that they customize for use on Android, iPhone, Windows, MacOS, *NIX, etc. Your users use the app or internal website to run tests to determine whether the LAN or WLAN are having issues OR whether its the internet. The apps can be customized for company logo, support links, etc. as much as the web site format. It stopped a lot of unnecessary user complaints to the Help Desk. Once you got your users set at the right expectations and empowered with an effective tool, you can work on finding the omnipresent, inexpensive and well-supported tool or tools that can help you make sense of what your network segments are doing and how to tune/optimize, thereafter, should that be required.
it_user236772Cost, how many feature supported by the tools and complexity to maintain
Manilyn Ramos1. able to monitor the CPU, Memory, Response Time, latency, packet loss, Interfaces traffic, and Bandwidth utilization 2. able to trace the connectivity of each devices 3. capability to create an alert 4. capability to generate a report 5. all or most of the devices should be supported. 6. Must be a user-friendly
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