PRTG Network Monitor Review

From a network point of view, we can see the state of the network, as well as bandwidth usage and downtime


What is our primary use case?

We primarily monitor Windows-based servers and services running within them. We also have some ties-in scripting into more bespoke areas, as well on our network.

We host a virtual environment running VMware in-house.

How has it helped my organization?

The historical data is used for looking at trends: Where we are versus where we were and whether or not additional loads may be our system. We are able to see this over a period of time, looking back historically.

The solution provides us with needed the feedback on our IT infrastructure. We use 12 monitoring servers, which we use to monitor our wide area network and router switches, so we do monitor bandwidth. From a network point of view, we can see the state of the network, as well as bandwidth usage and downtime.

What is most valuable?

The immediacy of the alerting is the most valuable feature. My role is to keep our network up and running. We have a dashboard in the office and are able to see things almost in real-time, within a minute or two. This is the greatest benefit.

The scripting element allows the bespoke option, so I am not just tied in to what is provided out-of-the-box. We have created a few bespoke scripts, e.g., we have tied it into our phone system to do various things, like monitor SIP trunks. 

The product is flexible, and we can move outside the predefined probes. Although to be fair, there are quite a lot of those to choose from anyway. The out-of-the-box probes generally suit us fine.

There are so many out-of-the-box features to look at that there are very few things that we have had to write bespoke scripts for. We don't have a particularly diverse environment to monitor, since it is all very box bound, Microsoft products, and relatively new.

What needs improvement?

Although they are fairly comprehensive with what you can do with them, the mapping and dashboards are a bit clunky to set up. I would like a more straightforward ability to create dashboards and maps. The network maps should be a bit more flexibility in the GUI to do what we need to do.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don't have an issue with the stability of the monitoring probes and the basic server. 

We have had a few issues with the web elements, as far as the dashboard. With the dashboard, it has to be manually refreshed. Occasionally, we reboot the server, or at least web services, due to the web aspect. However, these don't affect the underlining monitoring.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have started out with a 1000 probes. We're currently running, or have licenses for about 2500, running about 2000 individual probes on the system. It is showing a strain on the server. We are running on a Windows VM at the moment. We have somewhere in the region of 64GB and 4 Core running it. It is an okay server, but it is showing signs of a bit of a slow down, needing patches, updates, and reboots. It does take a while to come back to life.

We have added more probes to the solution. From the monitoring side, it is fine. However, using the server and rebooting, it is showing its age, especially if I have to restart services. Whether or not it is the application or the hardware that it is running on. 

It is doing the job for us and has scaled up from where it was originally.

If you are a small company with a few servers, the product is overkill. For a larger enterprise (like us), we have around a 120 Windows servers in our environment, and it seems absolutely fine. If you're a small company, you probably want more simple, straightforward products, as you don't need the features.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had that much reason to go to them. 

A colleague of mine primarily does the updates and patching version updates. We have had a couple of issues with incompatibility after the updates. Then, we have had cause to use the tech support. The issues aren't outstanding for too long.

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

Prior to implementing this, we had some very basic home written ways of determining things, like remaining space on disk. It was very fundamental and wasn't fit for the purpose. It was for when the business had half-dozen servers, and as we grew, it wasn't. We knew we needed something, so we looked around, settling on PRTG.

There wasn't an incident that lead us to implement the PRTG Network Monitor solution. Obviously, all systems will have issues now and then. We knew we had to put something in place, but there wasn't a specific incident or instance that drove us in this product's direction.

The solution provides us response times to issues, since we didn't have any of this type monitoring prior to putting PRTG in. The product has created a more robust environment. As an infrastructure manager, I am less at the mercy of staff members who are trying to find and work things out more quickly. There are just provided for me.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was relatively straightforward, as there were a lot of basic elements out-of-the-box.

As soon as any probes are in place, there is feedback straightaway from the system.

What about the implementation team?

We purchased it through our reseller and implemented it ourselves.

What was our ROI?

It does help the IT department prevent or mitigate downtime. It allows us to pick things up which might not have been picked up that would have caused downtime. While there is a cost saving, it's rather intangible and difficult to state.

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

We are licensed for 2500 endpoints.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I don't have any comparison with direct competitors. We have been using PRTG for the better part of possibly ten years now. We haven't found the feature set lacking. Everything that we have tried to do, we have managed to work with PRTG to do it.

What other advice do I have?

I would be happy to recommend PRTG. I have no qualms with it whatsoever. 

It does what we need it to do and is flexible. There are some areas, like setting up dashboards, which could be improved upon. However, I have no major problems with the solution and no concerns with renewing next time around.

I find the functionality within the web interface very feature-rich (compared to other products), so I have very few reasons to use the desktop app.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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