PRTG Network Monitor Review

Enabled us to consolidate monitoring into one solution and deal with network stability issues


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is network performance monitoring, but we also use it for things like network traffic flows and getting a better idea of the actual types of traffic that are going through our network.

How has it helped my organization?

We've used the historical data quite a bit. It has fed into our DR process, which was not a main use case but has been quite handy.

We've got monitoring on a number of our key apps. The alerting comes from PRTG and goes into the Slack channels of the development team. That is all segregated away from the operations team, so the alerting goes to the people in the format that they like most of all. That has really helped the turnaround and issue identification.

The solution has also enabled us to consolidate and be more cost-effective as an IT department. About two or three years ago we had two or three legacy apps in place and we've been able to consolidate that into one. It has definitely been a cost-saver.

Finally, while we hadn't necessarily experienced downtime, we were having issues with stability in the network. Some of the output from PRTG helped to narrow down where those issues were coming from, so it gave us a much clearer idea of where we need to go.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the dashboard interface. It's very clean, it's very simple to use.

The alerting is also excellent, it's just what you need. It's not too fussy, it's not too difficult to set up, and from an operational perspective, the feedback that I get from the guys is always excellent.

The overall feature set is good. We're probably not doing it justice. It has an awful lot of integrations which we're just not using at the moment. It's very vendor neutral, very vendor agnostic. I wish we could be using it more, to be honest with you. At the moment we've got an on-premise solution. We're looking to move to the cloud, but we haven't actually explored that with the vendor yet.

What needs improvement?

We've got a few sensors deployed in the network but not too many. We've had some issues previously with the performance of the sensors. We tend to deploy quite a bit of WMI, which is quite processor-intensive, and we've found that that impacts the sensors quite a bit. We've had to tune that down a little bit over time. That is something that we've spoken to the vendor about and we've been able to work through those issues.

Our experience with the remote probes has been similar. At scale, we've found that they can struggle sometimes, but that depends on the type of query that you're throwing at it. That's probably more a limitation of the query itself than the software.

In terms of additional features, we are potentially exploring things like containerization and I'm not really what sure the ability of the software is around that.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The reports I've had from the team on its stability are all good. It seems to get patched on a very regular basis. There are constant updates. We haven't any problems, we haven't had any downtime yet, and we've been running it for 18 to 24 months now. It's excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've had some issues with the sensors and remote probes. We're a relatively small environment, but we've started to see limitations based on the actual type of queries that we're throwing at it. We've been able to work around that and the support from vendor has been excellent in that respect.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support has been excellent. We've predominantly raised support tickets but we've also gone through our account manager, and a couple of issues that we've had have been escalated.

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

We had two or three solutions and we wanted to consolidate. One of them was SolarWinds ipMonitor, but I can't remember what the development one was now. They were going end-of-life and we wanted to consolidate, we wanted a single platform that we could work with. In terms of the feature set, PRTG seemed to cover all the bases.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. We took quite a phased approach so we were probably rolling it out over the space of six months. We took our time with it. The experience that we had was good.

From the time we set up the solution until it provided us with feedback on our IT infrastructure was within the space of a month or two. That was mainly due to the pace at which we rolled it out. We started to get some good feedback quite early on, during the first week or so, but overall the time it took was due to the speed of our implementation.

What about the implementation team?

We went directly through the vendor, and we deployed in-house.

What was our ROI?

It has definitely provided us value. It's just that we haven't necessarily measured that value.

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

We've got the unlimited package. I don't know the licensing situation today, but I believe it was around the £15,000 per year mark. It's probably about a couple of grand per month, at most.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had a look at SolarWinds, their network monitoring suite, which was the big player in the market. It's got a price tag to match and that was certainly a factor. Admittedly, it is a much bigger product, it's got broad capabilities and it's got different kinds of integrations. For what we needed at that time, PRTG absolutely suited.

What other advice do I have?

Scrub out your requirements. PRTG does the network side very well indeed. If asset monitoring and integrations with other products are really important for you then it might be worth looking at this as well as a secondary product. Also, you need to plan your deployment and understand where and how to deploy the remote sensors.

I prefer the web client. I've had limited use of the Desktop app and, from what I've seen, it's good, but I find using the web app is a lot cleaner in my workspace.

The product has to be about a nine out of ten. From my somewhat more high-level view, the summary dashboards are excellent, they give me what I need. Having spoken to the operations guys, it gives them everything they need. It's quite a simple interface, it's very expandable, and has allowed us to get control of it in a single console. That is really what we need for a small team.

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