Looking for recommendations on Network Monitoring Tool?  What is your favorite?

operationsIT
operationsIT used Ask the Experts™
on
Hello EE,

We have alerts and ping loss notifications, but I'm looking for a network monitoring tool that can get more granular on
-congestion
-qos
-latency
-who, what, where is causing
What is your favorite?
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Natty GregIn Theory (IT)

Commented:
Wireshark,intermapper, microsoft system center, these will help to troubleshoot and prevent all of the above you mention
Paessler PRTG (https://www.paessler.com/prtg) is pretty good. I've used it quite a bit. It can do packet sniffing via mirrored ports on the switch, or using full-blown NetFlow and other proprietary flow protocols. There are add-ins that can do a lot of customer monitoring too.

SolarWinds is another one I've used a lot. It's a beast, but can do just about anything.

You did write "network monitoring" and not "protocol analyzing". They are different. Wireshark is the king of free protocol analyzers, and I love it. But it's really meant for real-time analytics of your packets and protocols. The capture files grow huge, pretty fast - so you typically use these only for a few moments and then analyze the results. Whereas "network monitoring" as you specified is continuous, 24/7. It monitors for packet loss, latency, "top talkers", "top connections" HTTP query/replies, SMTP responses, Windows services, and anything else you could possibly want.

On the free side, Nagios has been around for a few decades and has a HUGE following, which means a HUGE knowledge base. The downside is that it's a BEAST to setup. Once it's setup though it's pretty easy to manage... and did I mention FREE?  I like its small footprint. You can install it on a tiny PC running a tiny OS with no graphics and almost zero attack surface area. Plus, even though it's primarily a Linux product, it's Windows-friendly and can use plugins to monitor almost anything Windows related. It has enormous how-to's on monitoring network equipment, routers, switches, etc. Highly customizable; you can create complex notification schedules, targets, dependencies, etc.

Cheers,
Top Expert 2015
Commented:
TCP handles all of that automatically, there is no need to monitor to detect and panic on no-problems.
I would vote for prtg too.

Author

Commented:
Great input thanks!
Technical EngeneerTechnical Support Specialist

Commented:
While at it, evaluate NetCrunch network monitor as well. It pretty much does everything you specified above on a very granular level (including automatically generating Layer-2 maps with live usage data).

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