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Agent-based server monitoring tool that can phone home over the Internet

Posted on 2016-08-12
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My company has been deploying so many (Windows) servers that it's difficult for admins to manually keep track of disk space, service status, etc. on every single box.  They're also located on many different networks, so we have to VPN to each network to administer the servers at that site.  

I'm wondering if there's an agent-based utility we can install on each server that will monitor the basics (disk space, services running, etc.) and email us an alert if certain events occur (service stops) or thresholds are met (disk is low).  Ideally, each agent's status could be reviewed on a web-based portal, like LogMeIn does, without needing a VPN connection or anything else besides Internet access.  It would be even better if the agent didn't use email to communicate with us directly, but rather contacted a web service that emails us, so we don't have to rely on one of our mail servers staying up for alerts to function.

Management doesn't want to pay for a tool like Kaseya--if that's even a good fit--so something inexpensive or free would be ideal.  We're also prohibited from "rolling our own" tool with scripts, etc.; this would need to be a commercial/third party tool.  I'm not sure this is a realistic proposition given our needs.
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Question by:AA-in-CA
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by:Adam Brown
Adam Brown earned 500 total points
ID: 41754283
LogMeIn Professional will do this for you, if you're looking for something slightly less expensive than Kaseya and the like. https://store.logmein.com/buy/#/selection/ has pricing
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by:AA-in-CA
ID: 41754294
We've had a lot of reliability problems with LogMeIn's telemetry/reporting features (reports AV is off but it isn't, reports patches are missing but they aren't, etc).  We like it for remote access, but the other features seem half-baked.  

Even if they weren't, management prohibits the use of non-stock remote access tools on servers (RDP only).

Have you heard of any other products?
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Adam Brown earned 500 total points
ID: 41754396
Solarwinds http://www.solarwinds.com/server-application-monitor is probably the most commonly used solution, and works well. It's basically a SNMP/WMI monitoring and reporting platform. nAble's another relatively good solution (that Solarwinds purchased a while back) but it's a full RMM solution as well as Kaseya. They have a free WMI monitoring tool (I haven't really tinkered with it yet, though) here http://www.solarwinds.com/free-tools/wmi-monitor that may be all you'll need, though. It doesn't support much for alerts, though, from what I can tell.

There's also a free utility (for up to 100 devices) called PRTG: https://www.paessler.com/prtg/download that does WMI/SNMP monitoring of servers and SNMP monitoring for network devices.

Beyond that, there are solutions available from HP and Dell if you have their servers that are capable of monitoring all of your servers and managing them in some ways. Those solutions have better output capabilities than most solutions just because they have a direct hook into the hardware, so you can monitor RAID arrays and whatnot with significantly more accuracy and detail than just about any SNMP/WMI based solution.

There are tons of other tiny and cheap solutions out there, but there are limitations to most of them. You can try running searches on WMI monitors or something like that to find a few more solutions. If you need anything more than just a basic view of what's going on, you're probably going to be spending a good bit of money, though.
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Author Closing Comment

by:AA-in-CA
ID: 41754403
Very detailed and helpful
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