I am looking for a tool or device that can be used to measure upstream bandwidth utilization. Any recommendations?
Only for bandwidth, you can use MRTG. You can also copy all the trafic to a probe and use NTOPNG to have a dashboard with also the protocols flows and other IP data.
PRTG is a nice tool to monitor performances of a wide kind of network devices. This tool is based on SNMP requests, and it is very easy of use
One I am looking closely at is AppNeta. They have an appliance that can digest the flow and do a better job than Netflow.
The other one we are using is ExtraHop. This has both a Datacenter High Volume version and also an Appliance one could use at a remote Facility. We are using the smaller appliances at our Hospitals and their Uplink to the WAN Routers. Good job on showing the 1 second burst values as well as longer term usage. It also can help with studies of HTML / HTTP applications. I put a simple trigger in place to report on transactions that finish in different 'buckets' 1 - <3 seconds; 2 - >3 and < 10; 3 - >10 and < 60; 4 - over 60. We are looking to establish a SLA of 99.9% under 3 seconds. This can report down to the 5 minute interval size and has spotted spikes when the back-ends are doing odd things. Those 5 minute time frames are when the end users are having pain with the application. Of course when they call it in to the Help Desk - the problem has resolved. Now we have evidence that it did happen. Now we can ask them to fix it.
If they do not meet that SLA - $$$ can be lost from the standard fee because of failure to meet our requirements.
As expected they are balking. But - our end users are happy that now there is proof there have been issues. They are pressing to either solve the issues or find another vendor.
Cacti is a simple open source too that focuses on collecting stats and graphing them.
Open NMS is a more full featured monitoring platform with many more tools.
In Open Source - anything that can read the SNMP MIB of the Interface will work. But it does not tell you why it is being used - - Considered my other comment.
I'm looking for alternatives to SolarWinds NPM as it is expensive for my budget and has poor performance.
Please share your suggestions and why you recommend choosing another solution.
There are many network monitoring tools out there - some free, most paid. What software do you think is best for a large enterprise?