Although the market has changed and more vendors are offering cloud-based monitoring, there is still a wide range of feature-rich server monitoring tools available for organizations that need to keep their workloads on-premises. for security and compliance reasons.
Here we take a look at open source and commercial on-premises server monitoring tools from eight vendors. While these products broadly serve the same IT goals, they differ in approach, complexity of configuration – including ongoing aspects of maintenance and licensing – and cost.
Cacti is an open source network monitoring and graphing front end application for RRDtool, an industry standard open source data logging tool. RRDtool is the data collection part of the product, while Cacti manages the graphical representation of the network for the collected data. Since Cacti and RRDtool are both open source, they can be handy options for organizations on a budget. Cacti’s support is community driven.
Cacti can be ideal for organizations that already have RRDtool in place and want to expand what it can display graphically. For organizations that haven’t installed RRDtool or are unfamiliar with Linux commands or tools, Cacti and RRDtool can be a bit difficult to install because they don’t include a simple wizard or agents. This should be familiar territory for Linux administrators, but may require extra effort for Windows administrators. Note that Cacti is a graphical product and is not really an alert or corrective product.
ManageEngine Application Manager
The ManageEngine system is part of an extended suite of server monitoring tools that include application specific tools as well as cloud and mobile device management. The application monitoring framework enables organizations to purchase agents from various vendors, such as Oracle and SAP, as well as tools specific to customer applications. These server monitoring tools allow administrators to perform cradle-to-grave monitoring, which can help them troubleshoot and resolve application server issues before they impact user performance. final. The strengths of the ManageEngine platform include its licensing model and the large number of agents available. While the Per-Device Monitoring License is all-inclusive for the interfaces or sensors required per device, agents are sold individually.
Thirty-day trials are available for many of the more than 100 agents. License costs range from less than $ 1,000 for 25 monitors and one user to over $ 7,000 for 250 monitors with one user and an additional $ 245 per user. Support costs are often built into the cost of monitors. This can be ideal for organizations that want to make a smaller initial investment and grow over time.
Microsoft System Center Operations Manager
The product monitors servers, corporate infrastructure, and applications, such as Exchange and SQL, and works with Windows and Linux clients. Microsoft System Center features include configuration management, orchestration, virtual machine management, and data protection. System Center is not as extensive on third-party applications as it is with native Microsoft applications. System Center is based on base licenses to match Server 2016 and later licensing models.
Microsoft System Center Operations Manager base price starts at $ 3,600, assuming two processors and 16 total cores, and can be extended with base pack licenses. With Microsoft licensing, the larger the environment in terms of processor cores, the more a customer site can expect to pay. While Microsoft offers a 180-day trial of System Center, this version is designed for larger Hyper-V environments. The assistance depends on the contract chosen by the organization.
Nagios Core is free open source software that provides metrics to monitor server and network performance. Nagios can help organizations deliver increased availability of servers, services, processes, and applications. Although Nagios Core comes with a GUI, the scope of what it can monitor is somewhat limited. But admins can deploy additional community-provided front-ends that provide more views and additional functionality. Nagios Core installs and runs natively on Linux systems and Unix variants.
For additional features and functionality, the Nagios XI commercial product offers real dashboards, reports, GUI configuration and enhanced notifications. The price for this retail version ranges from less than $ 7,000 for 500 nodes and an additional $ 1,500 per company for reporting and capacity planning tools. In addition to agents for operating systems, users can also add network monitoring for a single point of service. 60-day free trials and community support are available for products that work with the Nagios Core free download.
Opsview system monitoring software includes on-premise agents as well as agents from all major cloud providers. While the free version provides 25 hosts to monitor, the main advantage of the product is that it can support both SMB and enterprise. The price of a full package including 300 hosts, reports, multiple collectors, and a network analyzer is less than $ 20,000 per year, depending on selected agents.
Corporate packages are available through a personalized quote. The provider offers both on-premises and cloud variants. The list of agents that Opsview can monitor is one of the most extensive of any product, bridging the cloud, applications, web, and infrastructure. Opsview also offers a dedicated mobile application. Support for most packages is available 24/7 and includes customer portals and a knowledge base.
Paessler PRTG Network Manager
PRTG can monitor from infrastructure to the application stack. The PRTG Network Monitor licensing model follows a sensor model format on a node, core, or host model. This means that a traditional host can have more than 20 sensors monitoring everything from processor to bandwidth. The services range from networking and bandwidth monitoring to other more application-specific services, such as low disk space of Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox. A fully functional 30-day demo is available and prices range from less than $ 6,000 for 2,500 sensors to under $ 15,000 for an unlimited number of sensors. Support is email based.
SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor
SolarWinds offers more than 1,000 monitoring models for various applications and systems, such as Active Directory, as well as several virtualization platforms and cloud-based applications. It also provides dedicated virtualization, networking, database and security monitoring products. In addition to standard performance metrics, SolarWinds provides application response templates to help administrators troubleshoot issues. A 30-day free trial is available. The price for 500 nodes is $ 73,995 and includes one year of maintenance.
This free, open source, enterprise-wide monitoring product includes an impressive number of agents that an administrator can download. While most of the functionality is not point-and-click, dashboards are similar to other open source platforms and are more than sufficient. Considering the cost of free entry and the large number of agents, this could be an ideal product for organizations that have the time and Linux experience to bring it online. Support is community based and additional support can be purchased from a reseller.
The Basics of Server Monitoring Tools
The products reviewed here differ slightly in terms of size, scope, and licensing model. Apart from open source products, many commercial server monitoring tools are licensed by node or agent type. It is important for IT buyers to understand all of the possible options when obtaining quotes, as they can be difficult to understand.
Prices vary widely, as do the dashboard features of the different server monitoring tools. Make sure staff are comfortable with each system’s dashboard and alert functionality as well as mobile capability and notifications. If an organization chooses an open source platform, keep in mind that the installation may require more effort if the staff are unfamiliar with Linux.
Open source monitor dashboards usually aren’t as graphical as paid products, but that’s part of the trade-off with open source. Many commercial products are cloud ready or have this capability, so even if an organization does not plan to monitor its servers in the cloud today, it can take advantage of this technology in the future.