What is our primary use case?
PRTG is a very versatile and flexible tool. We have a vast number of users spread over more than 300 installations in India and neighboring countries. We have many different types of customers who use this tool for project control monitoring and other types of network monitoring.
What is most valuable?
PRTG Enterprise Monitor comes with built-in analytics capability. This means that if there is an incident, it not only tells you that there is an incident, it will also tell you the root cause. For large networks, this is beneficial as the network team can easily home onto the problem directly without spending time searching for the root cause, which allows them to attend to the problem as the alerts come in.
Having an Alliance program is very valuable. The Paessler Uptime Alliance Program focuses on making the core network product, which is PRTG, progressively better. It also combines capabilities from any partners in the ecosystem. For example, we have UVexplorer (a US-based company), taking care of network discovery, network topology mapping, and network asset mapping and we have other partners, like CORP-IT, that provide us with the plug-in to monitor SAP and sensors. In other words, it's an ever-expanding network management system.
If you can get everything into a particular environment, you can monitor your factory automation systems; however, they also need to be monitored for maintenance purposes. If you intend to automate factory information, you cannot afford to fail. Monitoring the equipment and receiving dashboard alerts for maintenance is highly advantageous. This is a great feature of PRTG. Currently, we are competing in the market with SolarWinds and ManageEngine. They are good, but we come out winning.
From a security perspective, PRTG provides you complete Secure Socket Layer-based access. If you're monitoring your network or a private network using a BLS cloud, security is automatically ensured because of the way you're deployed.
What needs improvement?
I don't believe there is much need for improvement. The product is constantly improving. I used to think that the reporting could be quicker, but presently, there is a solution for that, thanks to the SLA plug-in from CORP-IT. The basic reason why PRTG reportings were slow is due to the fact that the reporting engine is built-in as a functionality in the PRTG application. The application does a lot of things, like monitoring and managing the database and it updates your dashboard in real-time.
The last priority goes to the reports. Typically, reporting can wait if there are demands on other aspects of the product, but because of this, the reporting was becoming too slow because it was always the last priority. I used to think that needed to be improved but the formal plug-in has solved this issue. Some customers don't mind the slow reporting, as not everything is urgent. However, if you want faster reporting, the options are available.
Maybe in the future there will be room for improvement, but currently, there is nothing pressing that I can think of.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution since 2003. Previously, I used CA, IBM Tivoli, BMC Patrol, and HP OpenView.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I have not come across any situation which was so bad that PRTG has crashed.
The stability and security of this solution are intertwined. PRTG is not static, it's always evolving and updating. Basically, the security situation at any given time makes PRTG's functionality vulnerable. Thankfully, they take this as a top priority, providing new solutions all the time. Paessler releases 7 to 8 updates a year to combat this issue. Because of this, I would say we're in lockstep with our security needs which also tie into the stability of the solution.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Presently, PRTG is extremely scalable. In fact, I would boldly say that this is the most scalable network monitoring tool that I know of.
If you have PRTG on a single server, the server can perform many functions. PRTG has a local probe that probes according to the configuration settings; however, even the best servers cannot take on an infinite load. Thankfully, PRTG offers a remote probe as part of their license return. This has multiple advantages including lessening the load of the server.
For example, should the communication link between the remote probe and PRTG server break down, the local probe will keep on accumulating data locally. When the link to the server is established, all the collected data is then flushed into the core. That is one way of scaling, but keep in mind, that adding multiple remote probes will eventually saturate the core because now you have to manage the data from so many sensors.
Depending on the types of sensors and monitoring frequency, as your network expands, you can keep adding PRTG digit codes. You can keep adding servers and sensors to focus on monitoring. In my opinion, I don't know of another product where you can do this. Even if you've applied PRTG on multiple servers, you can still manage all of them using a single dashboard.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was very easy. What you pay for this product encompasses everything. When we sell this product to a customer, we say "You can do it yourself, you don't need to pay for installation". So far, at least 70% of our customers are able to manage and there are some that don't need our help at all; however, there are occasionally a few customers who email or call us looking for support, in which case, we are always quick to help at no charge. This is all included in the price you pay for this solution. There are no hidden costs and the customers appreciate this.
Downloading and installation take less than five minutes, but after downloading, there is configuration to be done. Installing the software is only one part, about 30 to 35% of the whole picture. Our networking team needs to be organized because this is how we guide our customers in the right direction before the product arrives, which saves them a lot of time. We have a network team, server team, and a storage team. They are very structured and know how to do their job well — they can install some of the largest networks in just three to four hours. In the best-case scenario, it would take them less than a week to install PRTG Excel.
We encourage our customers to use the trial version first, to build a rating. By doing so, when they are ready to purchase the full commercial license, they will be ready to be productive from day one.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
PRTG is now available as PRTG Enterprise Monitor, and the price of it varies depending on the total number of sensors the customer buys.
What other advice do I have?
PRTG is available as a service network monitoring service in the cloud, with the option of purchasing up to 1000 sensors. For small companies, it's more of a network tool because smaller organizations like to focus on their code builders. Smaller companies cannot afford or attract very technical people to monitor the network with cloud hosting. PRTG can fix that, but it's only good for small workloads.
The process of network management itself has to be organized. You have to organize yourselves in terms of how your network is structured: how do you want to monitor and manage it? Even that has to be organized as well. For example, if there is a problem with the database, PRTG should be able to alert the data administrators, not anybody else. Only they should take care of any pressing issues; if they don't, the method will go to the wrong person, which can be very damaging. There is a lot of human organization required in administering a method between technologies and that needs to be organized well for the network monitoring process to be effective.
Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of nine because everything has room for improvement.
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