PRTG Network Monitor Review

Within 24 hours of setup, we had a days worth of logs to look through

What is our primary use case?

It is for monitoring the up/down of our core infrastructure: Internally, the edge routers in our major occupancies, core switches, access switches, etc. It sort of give us real-time feedback for what is going on.

We use it to determine if a switch is up, our traffic is running optimally or at a normal rate.

How has it helped my organization?

We set up the solution, and it provided us with feedback on our IT infrastructure instantaneously. Because of the sensors that we are using, the graph started populating straightaway. Also, Pings and SNMPs were coming back straightaway. So, within 24 hours, we had a days worth of logs to look through.

Yesterday, we were having an issue with one of our major occupancies. We were able to quickly determine whether or not it was because of network performance. Because we could literally just look at the graph and screen on our wallboard, and say, "It wasn't because of network utilization." 

It is easy to rule things out, or say, "Because we had this huge spike it traffic, it maxed out our line. Therefore, it was a bandwidth problem."

What is most valuable?

The real-time monitoring and alerting are its most valuable features. 

What needs improvement?

Sometimes, it is difficult to drill down further to get information, e.g., if we saw spike in traffic, then we would want to drill down and find out what is causing that spike in traffic. Now, it could be because of the way we're using it, but we find that it' difficult to do, which is why we are using another product for this.

SolarWinds has server application monitors (SAMs), which we are using to check our processes on critical systems to see if they were to go down that we would get an alert for it. Because it's all network-based, it would be great if this was something that we could have included.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never seen it go down. I think it has only ever gone down when I have been messing with it and caused it to go down. The solution is nice and stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is really good. At one point, I did enable a sort of clustering and found that much easier than SolarWinds. 

SolarWinds clustering is an absolute nightmare, whereas clustering with PRTG, was ridiculously simple. In order to scale and add more load balancing, PRTG was a lot smoother and quicker to do it. 

Obviously, there are different levels. We're currently limited to 100 sensors, but if we were to purchase an enhanced version of it, we could scale to whatever we purchased.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't used the technical support. I haven't needed them.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were actually using PRTG before we were using SolarWinds. From the feature side of things, I don't think that we ever fully implemented and tested PRTG. Then, we started testing SolarWinds and found SolarWinds was giving us a more detailed reporting. So, that is the avenue we went down for actually purchasing a product. We chose SolarWinds, but we still keep a hold of PRTG for its real-time stuff.

How was the initial setup?

We just installed it, then started configuring sensors. That was about it. There wasn't much to it.

What about the implementation team?

We set it up in-house.

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

The historical data does not help us optimize our network performance, as we are not really using it to that level. We could, but because we are only on the free version, we have a limited number of sensors. Therefore, we are not monitoring as much as we want to be to obtain historical information.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also have monitoring with SolarWinds, as well. What we find is that SolarWinds is great for reporting and delving back into logs, but PRTG is better for that instant on knowing what is going on right now.

There are quite a wide array of different sensors with PRTG. However, we are only really utilizing SNMP, Ping, and similar functions at the moment. Because our NetFlow data goes into SolarWind, we want that report inside it. We find SolarWinds better for this. Though, we know that we could do this if we wanted and put some NetFlow data into PRTG with its multiple different sensors.

We are not using the solution to its fullest capacity. At this point, I don't think we will because we are so involved with SolarWinds. We are getting out of PRTG what we want to get out of it, but we are not getting enough from it that we could ditch SolarWinds and move over to it.

What other advice do I have?

For the solutions features that we are using, they are great. We have no issues with the feature set.

I don't think we've ever used the desktop app, as I didn't know there was a desktop app. We just use the web.

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