What is our primary use case?
PRTG has been a network monitoring solution for our company for over five years now. We constantly monitor our servers, switches, broadband. Anything that we can put a sensor on, it monitors. I monitor four domains and I use cross-domain network monitoring as well.
How has it helped my organization?
In terms of the historical data provided by the solution, I look at the network performance and, obviously, if I've got an offsite backup going through, I want to monitor what sort of impact that's had on the network. If it's detrimental, then I can change the times when the backups happen and make sure that there's not a severe impact on my local network.
Previously, other parts of the company have used different products, and PRTG has helped broaden their minds into what a decent piece of monitoring software actually does. I'm pushing it out further afield, which is why it's in four domains.
When it comes to helping our IT department to be more cost-effective, if I've got as-it-happens monitoring, I can deploy the resources to resolve the issues quicker.
What is most valuable?
One of the things I like is the fact that I can use it on my mobile phone. I use the mobile app and it alerts me if there is a problem. Obviously if I'm not in the office or available to get in. I can monitor it externally and am able to deploy resources to sort things out quickly.
The fact that I can use custom MIB files to customize my sensors for the things that are not there as a default is a good feature as well.
I use the Desktop app all the time, it's constantly on my taskbar so that I can monitor things. If there is a problem, it flashes up red and lets me know there's an issue and I get to deal with it almost immediately.
What needs improvement?
The remote probes are okay. I think that there could be more sensors available, especially with newer technologies coming along. It has been a bit stagnant. Unfortunately, it uses an almost "external workforce" through its forums to create new sensors.
Also, I have an issue with DFS, distributed file services. Currently, although there is a forum post with regards to the issue of PRTG and the DFS monitoring, there isn't one by default. I think it is quite a necessity that they make one, one that's actually easily integratable. Taking into account the difference between DFS and DFSR as well would be great. They need one that pulls up the report, shows you how much is out of sync, if it's out, and how much of a time difference there is between the synchronizations. Anything like that would be a help.
For how long have I used the solution?
Over 5 Years
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's always on. I have a server dedicated to it, that's all it does. I've never had it fall down, ever.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
With the remote probes, the ability to monitor external domains makes this product easy to scale.
How are customer service and technical support?
I've only used the technical support a couple of times. There is a lot of information available on the forums. More than likely, if I have a problem, somebody else has had that same problem. The forums can help in that way to find a resolution.
How was the initial setup?
Setup, is fairly straight-forward, but it can be a laborious task initially, once you have populated the sensors everything just ticks along nicely.
What about the implementation team?
In-House setup but if there's a problem, I know that the support from PRTG is not far away.
What was our ROI?
The solution has definitely saved us time and money. Services need to be constantly monitored, if you don't have a good product to monitor these things you have to wait till something stops working and then use command-line tools to diagnose the issue. This is counter-productive.
Mostly I know if a DC is starting to go down because it stops responding to remote desktop session calls. I don't know why, but that's the first thing that goes down. It flags up that I can't get the user remote desktop and that's the first sign that that server is going to go down very soon.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
At the moment I'm only using 500 sensors. I pay yearly, so it's a cost that's easily swallowed.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I have actually used other solutions, because I do look after four domains. Previously, they had other packages that were already there, and I still find PRTG to be the best.
What other advice do I have?
PRTG is free for an initial trial of 30 days. Once you've used it, I think you'll find that it is a great product and well worth the investment.
The overall feature set is pretty good. It's not a complete feature set. I'd like to see more, but, as a general rule, I've been using it for over five years. I must be pretty happy with what it does, as it is.
I would rate the product at eight out of ten because there's always room for improvement. Nobody's going to be the best of the best. If a DFSR or DFS sensor were added, I'd give it a nine.
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