PRTG Network Monitor Review

Provides historical data that helps us optimize our core networking

What is our primary use case?

We use it to monitor services, things like hardware usage and whether hard drive space is running out. We use it for quite a lot of our networking solution as well. If there's a glitch in the network, anything that's abnormal, being able to see that show up is quite good.

How has it helped my organization?

The historical data provided by the solution helps optimize our network performance. We can see what's going on in our network infrastructure, more so in terms of our core networking. We can see which fiber links have been used heavily and, if they are used heavily, we can introduce more links to particular buildings or particular areas. It's more around the networking that we use the historical data. 

Also, if we have any issues with particular hardware, we can monitor those. We can monitor the network on those ports and come back with any issues or see if anything is flipping out or has stopped working. It's helpful being able to see that historical data.

It makes us more proactive, as opposed to reactive, with any issues. We tend to see issues occur before anyone else even knows about them. That's really useful for us. Particularly if there's any abnormality on the network, because of the historical data, we tend to know about it. PRTG tells us about anything that's out of the ordinary, which is good.

What is most valuable?

The sensors work well.

What needs improvement?

The remote probes seem to be a little bit buggy at times. They just stop working or they say they can't communicate. What we tend to do to is install the remote app onto the servers that we use. That seems to clear it up. As long as the app is there, all the probes seem to work fine.

It would be nice if, for the maps view - what you can lay out on the screens - there were a bit more functionality. It would help to be able to add titles to the top or to be able to change text sizes. There's not much you can really do with that in terms of configuration at the moment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been good since it went in. It's never had any issues. It has just worked. It updates itself, it's easy to manage, easy to maintain.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's difficult for me to judge the scalability. For what we use it for - I think we've got 1,000 sensors and we use about 800 or 900 at the moment - it all runs fine. I'm sure it would scale very well if we needed it to go any further than that. But for what we use it for, it's relatively small.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't used the tech support or the online resources. It has always just worked; it's always been fine.

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

We have a third-party we go to if we get stuck with our network and they recommended PRTG. They actually started using it to troubleshoot some issues on our site, and from that, we decided it was something we wanted, so we invested in it from that point and set it up from scratch.

There wasn't really any system downtime which factored into our decision, but there were a few performance issues which PRTG helped us to solve. That was another reason to get it put in place, long-term.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was surprisingly easy, the way the menus are all laid out. I set it up myself and it explained what to do, where to go. There were little pop-ups on the screen saying, "This is where to go for this, that's where to go for that." It made it all really easy to do. 

Also, adding servers or switches, it was auto-discovery, so I didn't have to do any config on that. You could just let it discover everything and then delete what you don't want.

It took about two days from the time I set up the solution until it provided feedback on our IT infrastructure.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

PRTG was recommended to us and we went with it on the free basis to start with and then we moved to the paid version, for more sensors. We haven't really compared it to anything else, because it was recommended. Overall it seems very good.

What other advice do I have?

Just install it, follow the instructions, and off you go. It just seems to work.

We do use the Desktop app and it's good, it works very well. It's very similar to the web-based system. It gets a little bit annoying sometimes because there are quite a lot of pop-ups. I'm sure we could turn them off but that's not something we've looked into. I actually find myself exiting the Desktop app, just to stop the pop-ups.

I wouldn't say that it has made our IT department more cost-effective at this point because, although we pay for it and we use it, we haven't really made any changes on the network because of PRTG. I don't think we've had any cost savings anywhere.

I would rate it eight out of ten. The desktop app seems a little clunky sometimes. There are a lot of pop-ups saying things are offline when they're not necessarily. That's more due to those probes. When we install the app on the servers there're no issues there, so we can get around that.

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