For businesses, the task of network and IT infrastructure monitoring remains highly important. A company cannot afford to ignore the security and performance of its network and IT resources.
Nagios remains one of the most popular solutions for IT infrastructure monitoring today.
An entire suite of software allows businesses to take control and have visibility on their IT infrastructure immediately.
By monitoring network activity, server uptime and performance, receiving logs from systems etc, businesses can protect themselves from exterior and interior threats and also stay ahead of any possible downtimes.
Businesses can customize how their networks run and what’s being monitored. Luckily, the software provides both passive and active monitoring solutions to keep businesses protected.
Although Nagios is an excellent tool, consider also the following Nagios alternatives for professionals looking to research additional options in the market as well.
Many alternatives to Nagios are also open source and free, so many of the software options below will save you money as well.
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PRTG Network Monitor is designed to allow businesses to thrive online. This monitoring solution tracks every statistic that matters to the bottom line of the network performance.
At the moment, some of the metrics tracked include uptime, network usage, individual machine information, cloud computing services, database monitoring, network mapping and much more.
PRTG tracks both individual machines and the network as a whole. Doing so provides an accurate picture of network performance and identifies potential issues right away.
An intuitive dashboard ensures users of all IT backgrounds will love the software.
Businesses of all sizes will find the onboarding process quite simple. For that reason, PRTG remains an excellent option for most businesses, regardless of industry.
What I like about this tool is its simple licensing structure and also once you install the software everything is included without additional plugins.
There is a free version with up to 100 sensors. Also, if you download the 30-day full-functional free trial, it will revert to the free version after trial expiration.
For larger networks, the pricing starts from $1600 (500 sensors) and goes up to thousands of dollars for unlimited sensors (prices are for perpetual licenses).
ManageEngine is a company that provides comprehensive IT management and monitoring solutions at an affordable price.
The OpManager solution provides real-time monitoring and customizable dashboards for complete IT and network visibility.
However, an all-in-one solution like this one doesn’t fall into the pitfalls of other options.
ManageEngine OpManager provides monitoring of both physical and virtual systems, firewalls, network devices, wireless devices etc in a seamless user interface and using more than 2000 built-in performance monitors.
IT pros will love multi-level thresholds in ManageEngine OpManager. By setting multiple thresholds, administrators can be alerted for various critical violations of network performance and other factors.
One capability I like about this tool is the support of Android and iOS mobile app which you can install on your smartphone and start monitoring the performance and alarms of your network on the go.
- Free edition which is for monitoring up to 3 network devices.
- Standard edition: Starting at $245
- Professional edition: Starting at $345
- Enterprise edition: Starting at $11,545
The various editions differ in the number of supported features and also on the number of supported monitored devices.
Like ManageEngine above, Solarwinds is a company with tens of different software solutions covering a wide range of IT services including monitoring as well.
The SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) tool doesn’t skip on the features clients want today.
In this software package, clients receive multi-vendor network monitoring support as well as a full troubleshooting suite to solve problems in networks.
This tool, unlike similar ones, is mostly focused on monitoring network infrastructure only (routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, connectivity links etc) rather than complete networks and IT systems (like the previous vendors).
Intelligent maps and expansive network insights provide a complete picture of a given network. All of this information is displayed in an intuitive and well-designed manner to avoid confusion.
Advanced alerts attempt to provide alerting only when they’re necessary. Far too many network performance monitors flood clients with alerts. To avoid this, SolarWinds created a platform that provides critical alerts only by default, thus filtering out a lot of noise.
Clients can activate and customize more alerts to suit their needs. Nonetheless, the developers behind this software prefer to provide an unobstructed experience.
One of the great features of this solution is called “NetPath”. This feature offers visual network path analysis (hop by hop) that helps a lot in identifying problems, broken links, servers that might be down etc.
Although to get full pricing details you need to contact Solarwinds for a quote, the NPM product starts at $2,955 at the time of this writing.
More than 300,000 installations worldwide are using Zabbix since its introduction two decades ago.
Zabbix is an open source project provided to clients free of charge. In many ways, network monitoring is taken to the next level through Zabbix.
The software monitors everything from networks to servers and applications to virtual machines and databases.
Full cloud network monitoring is included as well, which is a rarity for a free program.
The software runs only on Linux and requires also Apache, MySQL and PHP. It requires manual configuration to get up and running and many admins found it to be somewhat complicated to operate and configure.
However, you can also download a pre-configured appliance (as virtual machine to run on Vmware, virtualbox etc) which you just fire it up and you are ready to go.
FREE. Yes, this incredible solution is absolutely free (open source).
Another free and open source solution which also comes with an Enterprise commercial option offering more features and technical support.
Both state-based and log-based monitoring are available through Checkmk. The monitoring software provides multiple stages of warnings for system administrators.
Over 1,700 smart plugins track everything occurring on the network at any particular moment.
Currently, Checkmk is capable of tracking both hardware and software performance. Business intelligence analytics provide clients with the metrics they desire.
Unlike Solarwinds NPM described above which is focused only on networking, checkmk can monitor a wide range of devices such as servers, network devices, applications etc.
I like the fact that this solution can work also as log-based monitoring. This means that it collects logs (via syslog, SNMP traps etc) in order to identify errors and trigger alarms.
- Raw Edition: 100% free
- Enterprise Free Edition: Free for up to 10 hosts.
- Enterprise Standard Edition: Starting from €600
- Enterprise Managed Services: Starting from €1200
Another popular free and open source monitoring software is icinga2. Like most open source solutions, it requires customization and tweaking but it’s also very flexible and powerful.
It’s plugin based, meaning that you can use ready-made plugins to monitor every application, host and network device you can imagine.
If a plugin is not available for a specific end-point you can write your own monitoring script using multiple languages such as python, powershell, VBS etc.
Icinga2 started as a fork of Nagios and became an expansive network monitoring solution even for enterprise-grade needs.
It must be installed on Linux OS and you first need to install the core monitoring tool followed by the Web module installation which offers GUI management if the tool.
From there on, there is a lot of granularity as to how monitoring of end-points can be achieved.
The software can work in a distributed environment which identifies masters, satellites, and agents for granular network monitoring.
For that reason, IT professionals can quickly identify individual aspects on the network. A full ledger of analytics is provided with a comprehensive alert system in place.
Incinga2 gives power back to the network administrators in an excellent software package.
FOSS (Free Open Source Software)
Development on OpenNMS began back in 2000 and has continued since then.
OpenNMS is one of the few pure open source network monitoring suites available today.
Fortunately, few programs provide a more comprehensive solution than OpenNMS, either.
The developers behind this project give professionals the tools and capabilities they need to achieve overall monitoring of networks and systems.
This includes everything from comprehensive network monitoring to consulting and training services.
Although the solution is free and open source, many users have used it to support and monitor big enterprise networks without any problems. A single instance of this tool can monitor unlimited devices.
It’s hard to argue against such a powerful network monitor solution when it’s open source with 20 years of development. In fact, plenty of network monitoring solutions haven’t been around for so long.
The company offers paid support and installation services if you need them.
During the setup process, LibreNMS automatically discovers individual devices and end-points using various protocols such as CDP, FDP, LLDP, OSPF, BGP, SNMP and ARP. Users don’t need to spend hours adding individual devices to be monitored.
From there, customized alerts ensure administrators always know what’s happening here.
The tool is free and can be installed on Linux systems with Apache and PHP. A user-friendly web interface is available to operate the solution, add new devices manually if you want, get alarms etc.
Applications, network devices, IT systems, Linux machined etc, all can be monitored by LibreNMS using various methods such as SNMP, syslog, with agents etc.
Many people found it very helpful to have the real time graphs of network bandwidth per port, up or down interfaces stats, CPU usage graphs and much more.
iPhone and Android apps are included as well for network administrators on the go.
This is a commercial tool that is mostly focused on monitoring IT infrastructure and applications but it can support some network devices as well.
The solution is offered as SaaS (cloud software as a service) which collects data and information from agents which are installed on your local platforms and systems.
Datadog provides a full picture of enterprise networks in a central location. Unlike other solutions, integration with all major cloud systems and vendors is included.
The goal here involves providing universal compatibility with these integrations.
Doing so allows IT administrators to acquire the information they need immediately. No detail is spared through Datadog, and more information and metrics are always better when it comes to IT infrastructure management and observation.
In simple terms, Datadog provides an all-encompassing package to control an enterprise network IT infrastructure without blind spots.
Users will receive countless pieces of information and other metrics. However, every metric reveals something important about a given network, and that information is highly valuable.
Starting at $15 per host per month (billed yearly).
For smaller companies, Spiceworks Network Monitor cannot be beaten. Businesses with less than 25 computers and devices benefit the most from this program.
It can actually support any IP device, such as networking devices (switches, routers), servers, computers etc.
Spiceworks is 100% free, and free support is included in this package as well. Individual companies can set up monitoring within minutes and start protecting their networks.
With real-time monitoring, Spiceworks attempts to identify issues long before individual users notice them.
In addition to being free, this product is very mature and easy to use and understand. Its disadvantage though is that it will be end of life soon.
What I like about this solution is that you get free support from the thriving Spiceworks community, something that you pay a hefty fee from other vendors.
If you want to monitor also services and applications, no problem. You can verify for example if your VOIP phones are online, your security cameras and other systems are working fine etc.
OP5 offers both a free open source edition and also an Enterprise version. The free version is limited and if you need more powerful and complex features you will need to buy the Enterprise license.
This tool is based on Nagios code but its more flexible and user friendly. It offers monitoring services to both technical oriented administrators and also to sales and customer support personnel as well.
With OP5, businesses gain control of a fully integrated solution covering all IT infrastructure needs.
A number of powerful services and features are thrown into this network monitoring suite. Network traffic is monitored in real time, and a plethora of performance data is collected.
While using this software, businesses will always know what’s going on with their networks. Every metric tracked provides valuable information for enterprise users.
Perhaps the main benefit of OP5 remains its ease of use and flexibility. Onboarding new devices takes a few minutes. From there, adding a new device to the monitoring suite is simple and painless.
OP5 is scalable for businesses of all sizes, meaning users won’t run into issues with small or large networks. Not all network monitoring software provides such a simple setup process with such high flexibility.
Free trial for 30-days. After that, the number of monitored devices will be limited to 20.
There is an Enterprise license version which you need to contact them for pricing details.
Another option offering both free and commercial editions is Observium.
It runs on Linux OS and also requires Apache and MySQL (something very common among open source products).
It’s a great alternative to Nagios. It works mostly with SNMP protocol although it also supports auto-discovery using various methods such as CDP, LLDP, FDP etc.
If a device can issue alerts and statistics via SNMP, then Observium can support it. This includes both network devices and IT systems as well (servers, computers etc).
Moreover, some monitoring can be achieved also via agents which you can install on the target system for sending in data about resources, statistics etc.
Currently, the software is available in three editions to suit every user’s needs. Businesses receive a low-maintenance solution to their network monitoring needs.
Many businesses prefer Observium because its features have been automated for the most part. Users can install the software and admins gain immediate visibility in the environment.
- Observium Community: Free
- Observium Professional and Enterprise: €230.00/yr or €1,200.00/yr respectively.
In the end, monitoring networks and servers should be considered vital today. A company’s complete IT infrastructure should be monitored to avoid issues.
It’s possible to identify everything from malfunctions to security threats with these programs.
The best network monitoring solutions provide a complete picture of the network and in my opinion you should go for a tool that supports monitoring of all elements of a network including routers, switches, servers, applications etc.
Of course Nagios is one of the top and most popular software in this area. However, the Nagios alternatives discussed above provide another option in the market and some of them are even better in my opinion.
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