network monitorng tools

I need to have insight functioning of network monitoring tools like nagios, cacti, centreon and solarwainds

how they work , I am exchange admin but I need to dig a little about all these tools

any article will suffice
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Anthony GarciaDevops StaffCommented:
There are a lot of monitoring tools available beyond the ones that you listed. Most of them rely on the same technologies, snmp, syslog, and an agent.

Here is a wiki page that lists a table with comparisons between the more popular ones.

You can see there are columns for each of the things I listed above.
These are links that describe them.
snmp - This stands for simple network management protocol. A lot machines like switches, printers, and even servers follow this protocol. You can query the machine using what is called an OID, and the machine will respond with the appropriate data. This is a very common way to monitor hardware because it is already supported in the machine and there is no need to install anything.

Syslog - A lot of hardware implements syslog to write any errors to the logs. They also support forwarding the logs to a remote location. A lot of the monitoring solutions, including the ones you listed can receive the logs and create alerts from them based on the logging level.

Monitoring Agents - If you want to monitor things that are not at the hardware level, like if a process is running, how much disk space you have left, statistics about a process, then you likely need to install an agent. Most monitoring software have packages that you can install as the agent, some only support certain operating systems. On top of the basic agent there are usually plugins, to extend the monitoring of the agent. For example, if you wanted to monitor a java application, there would likely be a java plugin that you add to the agent which would allow it to monitor your application.

These are the basics of the monitoring agents, the things that set them apart are the ease and portability of installing and configuring the agents, and the central management system. All of the monitoring data has to go somewhere where it can be alerted on, graphed, and displayed. Some of them offer an self hosted solution where you would have a dedicated machine to hold the data and have the web server to display it. Others have a cloud solution where they manage that part for you. Datadog for example.

Some of the programs you listed are also open source, vs. some which are not. Open source products like Nagios and Cacti are usually free and you can get support for configuring them. They can be a good starting point if you don't have much of a budget, but they require a lot more work to understand and configure. The state of the agent and the plugins described above are not always well documented since they are written by other users of the software. These open source projects usually have a "core" product that is maintained by the main developers of the project and have paid offerings where you can get support for the core products.

Companies like solarwinds on the other hand are a bit more expensive, but you usually get a higher quality agent with more frequent updates. Since it is not open source you usually can't extend the functionality of the agents like making your own plugin as easily.

There is more information I could give on other methods these tools use to monitor and they way they display them, but I wanted to keep it simple. If you are looking to implement something the things you want to know is, what type of devices you want to monitor (operating system, switches?, servers?, applications?), do you want alerting, do you need dashboards to graph and display data, do you want to host it yourself or have it in the cloud, and budget.

I use this site a lot to compare products. You can see what they do and what other similar options are.

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