PRTG Network Monitor Review

Provides us with immediate feedback on our IT infrastructure; we were blind before


What is our primary use case?

We use it to keep an eye on the equipment we've got out there. We've got a Citrix farm which we shut down on an evening. We have alerts to tell us if they haven't come back up.

How has it helped my organization?

We were blind before. We implemented PRTG to get visibility and to get alerts on when CPU is spiking or RAM is spiking. The benefits are that it keeps us proactive. It keeps us in front of any issues that might arise. For instance, if we've got ten Citrix servers on one site and a couple of those are spiking and we get an alert on it, we can just stop users from logging onto them and spin up an extra server quite quickly.

With the Citrix solution, it now gives us clear visibility if, for some reason, some of the servers haven't come up in the morning. Before the users come in, we've got the servers set to power up by Smart Scale in Citrix to be ready to be used. If they haven't come up, PRTG's telling us they haven't come up. It enables us to jump on that before the users get in. It makes sure that the users' experience is seamless, that it's the same every day. We know every single day if the servers are up or down. PRTG tells us that.

The historical data will help optimize our network performance. We're still relatively new in deploying it. It has given us indications of when CPU spikes, when the most users are on from the most sites - because we have worldwide sites. It's given us an insight into when the busy periods are.

It doesn't necessarily make us more cost-effective but it certainly makes us be on the ball. It makes us be more proactive and it makes us better. In turn that should make us more cost-effective because it allows us to focus more on projects rather than on support. We're not firefighting, we're actually in front of the fire.

It provides us with immediate feedback on our IT infrastructure and it will give us more. We've only got a little bit so far because we've only implemented it recently. We're hoping we're going to get all kinds of really cool analytics out of it.

What is most valuable?

  • The alerting is the most valuable feature. 
  • I also like the iPhone app. I get alerts in an email on the iPhone app.
  • There are plenty of sensors for what we need. It's great.

What needs improvement?

In terms of sensors and probes, it would be really cool if PRTG had a purely Azure-based solution. We had to install a probe on one of our cloud servers and then let that probe out from there. It would be really cool if it just monitored Azure without having to install something on the device. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It hasn't gone down so far, so all good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It looks pretty scalable. At the moment we've just got this on one client's site; quite a big client of ours. And the plan would be to include this in our support package, so when we get new clients we'll put PRTG on their systems as well.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've not used technical support.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We were just using the Azure monitoring because all our resources were in Azure. We knew we needed to switch because the service kept filling up in terms of space and the client was alerting us. From a service management point of view, that's horrendous. We needed to the ones alerting the client.

Once we got PRTG on, we were able to not only alert the client, but we were able to rectify the potential issue prior to it being an issue and then alert the client: "We've identified this. We've rectified it. You need to do this."

We did experience system downtime before implementing the solution, but it wasn't a driving factor in our decision to go with PRTG.

We went with it because it looked quite simple. It almost seems too simple. It gives all the information we need. It has that dashboard for alerts on one of our monitors and we get alerts whenever there's an issue. It looked really user-friendly and really simple and it did what we needed it to do. As an IT engineer, you don't really want to be spending all of your time tweaking the monitor. It needs to be a tool.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward because a colleague of mine used PRTG previously. He knew how to use it and set it up. I had a look at it. I had never used PRTG, but I found it okay to set up. I did a free trial on one device to see if it worked for us and I found it okay to set up.

It took a little while, from the time we set up the solution until it provided us with feedback on our IT infrastructure, because we wanted to get the probes right. It took a little while to set it up on our terms. We didn't just flood it out there. We took our time and got it out. It was used in Azure monitoring and, even though what we were getting was rubbish, it was getting something, and we wanted to make sure we put it out right.

What about the implementation team?

We went straight to PRTG.

What was our ROI?

The solution is actually costing us money. We're taking the hit on the subscription because we haven't been able to bill it to our client yet. When the contract with our client comes up for renewal, we will then factor this into the client's renewal.

It is certainly letting us, as a DevOps team, have some sleep at night. We had a few servers that were limping and we were blind to them. We'd wake up each morning wondering if there was an email or a telephone call saying a server had gone down. This just enables to not worry so much about the solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We've got 1,000 nodes and I believe it's a few hundred quid a month.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did trial four solutions, including PRTG. Obviously, we were using Azure, and I can't remember the others. They may have been SolarWinds and Opsgenie but that wasn't really going to do it for us.

What other advice do I have?

Get a trial set up and see what it can do. It's really intuitive. It's really straightforward. You get what you need to know out of it and the email alerts are customizable as well. All in all, it's really a positive solution. If you're looking for monitoring, then this is the one.

I don't use the Desktop app much. A colleague of mine set it up and I just focus on the alerts. From what I know, it's fine.

My overall impression of the solution's feature set is good. I'm pleased with it. It does everything we need to do. It would just be really cool if brought us straight into Azure.

I'd currently rate it an eight out of ten, purely because I'm new to it. I'm impressed with it so far. We're getting the reports. It's doing everything we need it to do. As I said, it would be really cool if we could get Azure without having to install a little piece of software.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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