Network monitoring

We're in the process of growing and as of late, we just seem to be running around putting out fires but hopefully sometime, in the near future, we want to take a more proactive approach when it comes to monitoring the network.  With emphasis on the word PROACTIVE, I'd like to come up with a list of 10 proactive methods we can implement.  We have a lot of different environments from Cisco routers and switches to ASA5505s, sonic firewalls, watchguard firewalls, hp procurves, as well as a lot of virtualization on the server side.  What are your thoughts on what should be monitored proactively and some of your favorite and/or newer tools you'd use to accomplish those tasks?  We currently use LabTech for most of our monitoring but I'm thinking we need to be utilizing more SNMP traps and such but monitoring all that might get overwhelming.

Thanks in advance!  10 things!
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Kamran ArshadIT AssociateCommented:

1- You need to monitor all the logs of devices and for that you need a Syslog analyzer;
2- You need to monitor the network devices (Routers, Switches, UTM) using SNMP based NMS;
3- You need to monitor the servers and services using some WMI/SNMP based NMS;

Now to accomplish all these tasks you need to have a NMS capable of doing all these tasks. Some of the possible options are;

CA      Propriety
Smarts      Propriety
EM7      Propriety
SolarWinds Orion      Propriety
WhatsupGold      Propriety
Observer      Propriety
Cola Soft Capsa      Propriety
Adventnet OP Manager      Propriety
Nexus NMS      Propriety
Overseer      Propriety
StableNet Suite      Propriety
NetXplorer      Propriety
IT Monitor Enterprise      Propriety
Automated Infrastructure Technology      Propriety
loriotpro SNMP Manager      Propriety
zenithinfotec      Propriety
SNMPc      Propriety
InterMapper      Propriety
NetMRI      Propriety
Netvoyant      Propriety
ServerAlive      Propriety
AdRem NetCrunch      Propriety
NetXMS      Propriety
CommView      Propriety
AirMagnet      Propriety
MonitorMagic      Propriety

I suggest to go with SolarWinds Orion or WhatsupGold.

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madunix (Fadi SODAH)Chief Information Security Officer Commented:
MRTG/Cacti and Nagios are good, you can find also other tools check Zabbix Munin and OpenNMS ...etc
Diogo UchoasNetwork and Security AnalystCommented:
If you are looking to have a monitoring software that is easy to setup and manage, then go for the Proprietary options Kamran suggested, but they're usually pretty expensive and not very flexible. I myself prefer the Open Source options: Nagios, Cacti, Zabbix, Centreon,
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