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Select best LAN Monitoring Appliance or Software

Posted on 2014-10-03
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Last Modified: 2016-10-28
I have a client who requires LAN monitoring appliance or software to manage and control his network.
The infrastructure as follows:
- HP Blade Server c7000 with 13x HP BL460 Blades: 4 VM Hosts, Exchange 2010, SQL Database, Active Directory, Backup, Great Planis, SharePoint, ERP,.. using Hyper-V / Windows 2008R2 / Windows 2012R2
- CISCO Catalyst 3750G 24 port switch x 4
- CISCO Catalyst 3560G 24 port switch x 4
- CISCO Catalyst 3560E 24 port switch x 3
- D-Link 1228P / Linksys Smart Switch
- ARUBA Access points Indoor / Outdoor
- EMC CX4-120 SAN
- Total 300 users using Windows 7 Pro / 8 Pro

The requirements is to have:
- Dashboard, monitoring,  alertnig & reporting for multi vendors network devices, servers operating system, and applications
- Net Flow Traffic Analyser
- Network Bandwidth Analyser (full, per device, per switch port, per application, per user,..)
- Server Monitoring (including load and bandwidth, logged in users,..)
- Network device discovery and inventory
- Application performance monitoring
- Event Management
- Configuration Management
- Operations Management
- Services Management
- Internet bandwidth - if available
Should be:
- Clientless
- Active Directory Integration (all reports linked to Windows users, logged in users,..)
- Integration with CISCO (port statistics, ip / MAC Address connected to each port)
- Graphics Capabilities
- Multiple data collection methods: SNMP, WBEM & CIM
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Question by:cscdubai
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btan earned 500 total points
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may want to consider

PRTG (mainly via snmp) - http://www.paessler.com/prtg/features
The FAQ is useful to clarify any doubts including capabilities, licencing, support and purchase
http://www.paessler.com/support/faqs
It has  freeware license with 10 sensors for trial and upgrade from the Freeware or Trial Edition to the Commercial Edition after a purchase, simply download the commercial installer from the Paessler Website and install it on top of your existing installation.

It monitors routers, switches, servers, hardware, software, operating systems, applications, virtualized environments, websites, email servers, databases, VoIP and QoS, IPSLA, logs, events, performance, NetFlow/IPFIX, sFlow, and jFlow, packet sniffing, SNMP, WMI, temperature, humidity, and lots more, using approx. 200 predefined sensor types.
Spiceworks - http://www.spiceworks.com/network-management/
IT discovers IP-addressable devices and includes help desk functionality and an integrated knowledge base. It has a wide and active community and do check out the how-to (http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to)

For more info and comparison, do check out the wiki for
- Comparison of network monitoring systems
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_network_monitoring_systems
- Comparison of help desk issue tracking software
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_help_desk_issue_tracking_software
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by:eeRoot
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There are many tools out there for netowrk monitoring.  Here are a few.

SolarWinds (very popular, but costs $$$)
What's up gold (costs a little less)
Manage Engine Network monitor (also costs a little less)
Observium (free)
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by:Fred Marshall
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I agree in principle with the answers you've received.  Yet the requirements are so broad that one wonders if this is achievable in its entirety.  I don't know.

I prefer PRTG because it can handle small systems for free and large systems for a reasonable price.  And, it's easy to use compared to other things.  So, you could do a pilot program for free on a limited number (10) of simultaneously monitored devices (and more devices set up) and switch around between types of devices if necessary to test it.

It appears that the devices you've listed would also support the protocols you've listed - but that would always be a question.  For example, some Cisco Small Business Switches are "smart", have a web interface and *don't* support SNMP.

What, exactly, do you mean in the requirements by "clientless"?
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by:madunix
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MRTG/Cacti is good, PRTG is good as well. To monitor network services and servers, average time,  up-time, availability ..etc. Nagios is been used for Alarms and Cacti for Trending/Graphs.  Also check http://cactiusers.org/wiki/CactiEZ

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Networking_Hardware/Q_28380364.html
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by:Aaron Tomosky
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I like scrutinizer for netflow, free for 24 hours of data, pay for longer retention.

Dell open manage network does 10 devices for free I believe.

I find it best to pick one paid tool that does the majority of what you want, and supplement it with smaller free or paid tools until all your bases are covered.
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by:btan
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i believe clientless is agentless which both PRTG and Spiceworks support too
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by:cscdubai
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Thanks for all helpful answers..
Are there any network monitoring appliance that provides same software features ??
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by:btan
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There are SIEM based appliance with log collector sensor deployed to collect log from the device source such as your network and system log, typically it include the syslog. For flow related monitoring, I do see it is largely appliance driven esp the flow collector to aggregator and send upstream to analysis. The SIEM is probably ingesting for overal situational awareness but it is more of security ops rather than network ops  

Some appliance candidate
e.g. StealthWatch (from Lancope): http://www.lancope.com/solutions/network-operations/
e.g. Scrutinizer (from plixer): http://www.plixer.com/Scrutinizer-Netflow-Sflow/hardware-appliance.html
e.g. nGenius (from netscout): http://www.netscout.com/products/enterprise/netflow_analysis/Pages/nGenius_Collector.aspx
e.g. SteelCentral NetProfiler (from Riverbed): http://www.riverbed.com/products/performance-management-control/network-performance-management/monitoring-analytics.html
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by:Fred Marshall
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btan's response is a good one that seems to line up with your question about an "appliance".
Still, it looks like 2 of 4 are software and not what I'd call a (hardware) appliance.  But I don't know any of those products.

You didn't say how much money you are willing to invest in addressing your needs.  
If I were you , I'd ask folks to embellish their responses with cost experiences for the various approaches suggested and/or to tell folks what your budget might be.  This could make a BIG difference in the responses you get and in tailoring your ambitions and pursuits.
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by:btan
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just a thought - cost effectiveness and operational readiness come into play. so do have the priority supported internally as appliance can be effective but can be overhaul as well in cost and arch. S/W is ease of setup but know the underlying OS patching and etc besides the appl monitoring patch to be both handled operationally. we do want to avoid security fatigue on long run..probably go something you do is engaged the industry for more insights though there may be some "marketing" each will do...
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Author Closing Comment

by:cscdubai
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Thanks everybody for the great help.
I have already contacted some of these leading suppliers - PRTG / Whatsup Gold and ManageEngine, and will be discussing our technical requirements / product features / and pricing ..
Abdullah
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