Network management software is a technology used by system administrators and net engineers to enhance the efficiency and performance of their networks. It allows the user to perform tasks like monitoring the network, configuring the devices, testing bandwidth, setting up security measures, identifying issues and correcting them. This guide provides an overview of a network management software systems, which can be used for both small and large organizations.
In this guide, we review the aspects of what is a network management software, Example Of Network Management Software, free network monitoring tools, and network management system open source.
what is a network management software
We all know that the Internet is a vast and complex place. But what do you do if you want to keep it running smoothly? That’s where network management software comes in handy. The best network management software can help you monitor the health of your network, troubleshoot issues, and proactively manage performance as well as security threats. Here are some popular options to consider:
Solarwinds network management software
SolarWinds network management software allows you to monitor your network, troubleshoot problems, manage and plan for future growth, manage IT resources (such as servers), and even manage applications or users.
Manage Engine OpManager
Manage Engine OpManager is a network management software that allows you to monitor the performance of your network and servers. It offers a wide range of features, including alerting and reporting, server management, monitoring and troubleshooting.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive tool that can help you manage your network effectively while also providing valuable insights into its performance, then Manage Engine OpManager may be right for you. Check out this guide to find out more about what it has to offer!
PRTG Network monitor
PRTG Network Monitor is a network monitoring software that helps you monitor your entire IT infrastructure, including servers, switches, routers, applications, websites and services. PRTG Network Monitor provides you with a fast overview of your entire IT environment. Because the software is scalable from 200 to 50000 sensors it can handle networks ranging from small companies with one server up to large enterprises with thousands of devices.
In addition to standard monitoring functions such as availability reporting or bandwidth usage analysis it also offers advanced features like performance baseline tracking or flexible alerting options so you are immediately notified in case something goes wrong. Since PRTG was designed for maximum flexibility it can be used on-premise or in the cloud (Amazon AWS).
Zenoss Core is a network monitoring and management software that provides real-time visibility into the health of your IT infrastructure.
It can monitor applications, servers, networks, databases and virtual environments to quickly pinpoint issues before they impact productivity. Zenoss Core offers self-service support by making it easy to create tickets without leaving the app — all while turning data into actionable information with intelligent alerts.
Zenoss Core also includes an unlimited number of customizable dashboards for you to view your metrics from multiple perspectives at once — in real time or on demand — across any device: desktop browser, mobile phone or tablet (including iPad).
LogicMonitor is a network monitoring platform that provides a single pane of glass for network and application performance monitoring, capacity planning and troubleshooting. The solution aggregates data from across the entire IT infrastructure to provide comprehensive views of key metrics in an easy-to-use dashboard or drill down interface.
LogicMonitor’s real-time overview page provides real time alerting, allowing administrators to quickly identify potential problems before they impact end users or business operations. Its integrated performance monitor allows users to see how their applications are performing over time (e.g., transaction latency) by measuring metrics like throughput, response times and failures per second.
WhatsUp Gold is a network management software that helps you manage your entire IT infrastructure, including servers, applications, devices, and users. It is designed to be easy to use and scalable while boasting an affordable price point. WhatsUp Gold also has a great user interface which makes working with the software simple and intuitive.
Example Of Network Management Software
With IT technology continuing to rapidly evolve, networks are becoming increasingly complicated, sophisticated, and sizable. The accelerating growth rate of network technology is caused in part by the increased adoption of IoT, the cloud, and software-defined networking. In this environment, where technology is advancing with overwhelming speed, enterprises must adapt and be agile enough to manage network configurations for all their connected devices.
While networks struggle to keep up with the evolution of the wider market, the network management software responsible for supporting these networks also faces a similar challenge. Given how saturated the current market for network management software is, determining which solution is best suited to your business’s individual needs is difficult. To help you make the right choice, this guide will explain what network configuration is and what you should be looking for when selecting a network management system, in addition to recommending the best free and paid network management solutions available in 2020.
Of the products listed in this guide, I believe SolarWinds® Network Configuration Manager (NCM) provides the greatest range of functionality and the most user-friendly and intuitive user experience. If you’re looking for a network management system for small corporate networks, Kiwi CatTools® is also a good option.
Network Configuration Management
Network configuration is the process of determining and defining network flow, how a network will operate, and how a network will be controlled. This happens during the initial stages of setting up a network and involves arranging and maintaining information related to your network components. Network configuration management activities, then, simply involve the continuous process of managing and overseeing network device setup and maintenance, in addition to managing the firmware and software installed on network devices. Network configuration management also involves device discovery, device configuration monitoring, device status monitoring, and inventory maintenance.
The network configurations management database is at the core of network configuration management processes. If a network issue arises and repair is needed, or a network component needs to be upgraded or altered, the network administrator will review the network configuration management database for any relevant information, which they will then use to make informed remediation decisions. The database is responsible for storing the location and IP address for every single hardware device, as well as any other data relating to updates, versions, default settings, and programs.
It’s essential for enterprises to implement a robust and reliable network management system with network configuration management capabilities. Network configuration management utilities allow administrators to track any changes made to a device’s settings and gives them visibility into how those changes could impact network security. For example, certain settings modifications could compromise user privacy or establish a point of weakness in your network. Device firmware may also create vulnerability, which comprehensive network management solutions can also account for by allowing you to track device firmware and distribute updates.
What Are the Features of a Good Network Management Tool?
Effective network management tools are easy to configure, easy to implement, and usually offer support for numerous vendor devices. If you’re looking for a comprehensive network management solution, we recommend choosing a tool with auto-discovery, configurable alerts, support for automatic alerts, and a web-based interface that centralizes management activities. Ideally, the interface should be easy to navigate, be intuitive, and display visual representations of data (i.e., graphs and charts) for ease of interpretation.
Other useful features to prioritize are a network topology mapping utility and the ability to issue commands to troubleshoot issues and modify network settings. Some interfaces provide reporting and viewing capabilities only, which can be limiting when the solution is being used for enterprise-grade network management.
Most network management and monitoring solutions can monitor and detect all services and applications operating in the network. This application awareness is a crucial component of a comprehensive and robust network management solution, because it helps admins determine whether a performance issue is rooted in the application or the network. With application-aware network management tools, administrators also benefit from being able to track application response, network response, network request, and server processing times.
When choosing network management software, it’s worth considering whether you want an agentless or agent-based management system. A network management and monitoring tool usually uses sensors or agents to collect and then transmit information to the management console, so it can be analyzed. Agent-based tools are more resource-intensive than agentless tools, which may impact performance. Agentless solutions will have less or no impact on processing and performance.
The tool you choose should be able to identify historical trends and predict future trends. Trend data can be useful for IT professionals, allowing administrators to review past performance and gain insight into how the network might perform in the future.
Another essential feature of an effective network management solution is configuration and asset management. Being able to automate network configuration management activities minimizes the time needed to perform repetitive tasks, helps you coordinate network changes, and optimizes network performance.
Network management tools with network configuration utilities can also help you reduce configuration issues and improve network security. Ideally, your network configuration functionality should include the ability to establish a configuration baseline, roll back modifications to past configurations, distribute firmware updates, archive network configuration change details, and create configuration snapshot backups. You may also want your tool to be able to distribute bulk configuration updates, perform compliance audits, and manage patches for firmware.
While it isn’t strictly essential for your network management solution to feature automatic capacity planning, it can be useful. Automatic capacity planning assists with managing network infrastructure and optimization by sending alerts when available bandwidth, network capacity, or memory is close to being exceeded.
The Best Network Management Software
In ranking the following network management tools, we have considered user-friendliness, range of functionality, scalability, and several other factors to help you assess which is best suited to your business’ individual requirements.
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM) is a versatile and user-friendly market-leading solution. As a tool built on the unique SolarWinds Orion® Platform, it can be integrated with other SolarWinds products, including SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor. Compatibility with many other SolarWinds tools allows NCM’s functionality to be extended, providing unrivaled network insight.
Here are some of NCM’s most notable features:
In addition to offering the features listed above, and much more, NCM is also quick and easy to install. To experience the full range of features available with NCM, there is a 30-day free trial.
SolarWinds Kiwi® CatTools was created to support businesses with small networks, delivering an affordable but efficient network management solution. Kiwi CatTools is especially suited to enterprises hoping to implement a solution that can perform bulk changes to configurations across multiple devices concurrently, automate configuration backups, and rapidly roll back to pre-existing configurations when necessary.
Kiwi CatTools key features include, but are not limited to:
If you’d like to try Kiwi CatTools, a 14-day free trial is available.
ManageEngine, like SolarWinds, offers solutions designed for enterprise-grade IT monitoring and management. ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager can manage multiple configurations—like switches, firewalls, and routers—and offers support for multi-vendor environments.
Here are a few of this tool’s core features:
PRTG Network Monitor is a sensor-based network monitoring tool that gives you the choice of thousands of sensors, enabling you to create a purpose-built solution for your needs. This network management tool is extremely versatile. Here are a few of PRTG Network Monitor’s key features:
With this tool, you can use up to 100 sensors for free, but these tend to run out very quickly. You can try the unlimited version of PRTG Network Monitor for free for 30 days.
ConfiBack, though not as versatile as some of its competitors, offers great value. This free tool comes with some surprisingly impressive features and may be a suitable option for those who are looking for a simple but effective network management solution.
ConfiBack’s key features include:
Unfortunately, as a free tool, ConfiBack isn’t recommended for business use. This solution doesn’t include user authentication utilities and doesn’t offer patch management. Despite this, ConfiBack may be a good option for those with few network management needs and who are comfortable using open-source tools.
Choosing the Right Network Management System
Deciding which network management system is best for your company can be a challenge. To be sure you select the right tool for your needs, we recommend taking advantage of the free trials available to you. For a dependable, comprehensive, and robust network management solution, I recommend SolarWinds NCM. This tool is user-friendly, versatile, and capable of scaling up as your company grows. For smaller networks, Kiwi CatTools may be more suitable.
free network monitoring tools
Finding the Best Network Monitoring Tools and Software suites for managing, monitoring and keeping an eye on your Network Infrastructure is one of the most important IT decisions you will make, whether your a small, medium or large business with multiple satellite locations.
The need for an all encompassing NMS has never more apparent then it is now when technology has taken over every aspect of business, including crucial business applications and hardware (VOIP PBX Systems and in-house Email).
Here is our list of the best network monitoring tools:
We’ve put together a list of the Top and Most highly Rated Network Management and Monitoring Tools and software applications that will assist you in having a close eye on your network and infrastructure.
These software solutions listed below will assist you in monitoring and managing the following aspects of your network, including but not limited to Network Monitoring, Bandwidth monitoring of networked devices, bandwidth usage, network congestion, high-bandwidth users in your network and many others.
The Top Network Monitoring Software
The SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is the most impressive real-time network monitoring tool on this list. The system starts its service life by scanning your network after installation and logging all of the devices that connect your network together. It creates a network inventory and then draws up a network topology map from that information.
The software inventory and network topology map are updated regularly with information derived from SNMP status checks, so the monitor immediately knows where any devices have been added, moved, or removed. This constant review of the infrastructure will also tell you whether unauthorized devices have been connected to the network.
Once the network inventory has been created, the Network Performance Monitoring tool starts its real-time tracking of all network issues. The attractive dashboard for the service includes easy-to-read color-coded graphics that assist in instant problem recognition.
You don’t have to sit and watch the screens of this tool in order to make sure that you don’t miss any problems emerging on the network because the service will notify you if your attention is needed. The system gets status notifications from agent software running on each network device and sends you a warning by email or SMS so you know to come back to the console.
Other features in this tool include performance analysis features, such as NetPath, which allows you to see the statuses of all connections on a route between any two given points on the network. The tool can reach across the Internet to monitor remote networks and it can also analyze the paths to Cloud-based services.
The Network Performance Monitor installs on Windows Server and SolarWinds offers it for a 30-day free trial.
Site24x7 is a cloud-based service and part of the Site24x7 monitoring platform. There isn’t a Network Monitoring plan available to the public; instead, Site24x7 offers the Network Monitor as part of all of its plans.
One of these is the Site24x7 Infrastructure monitoring system that covers servers, applications, and websites, and well as networks. The Network Monitors both a network device performance monitor and a network traffic analyzer.
The device status monitor relies on the procedures of SNMP to communicate with device agents and receive regular status reports. These reports are interpreted into live performance data, shown in the Site24x7 dashboard.
The dashboard is resident in the cloud and users access it through any standard Web browser. The screens of the dashboard can all be customized.
The Network Monitor includes an alerting system that notifies staff by SMS, email, voice call, or instant messaging post if any problems arise on the network.
Atera is a cloud platform of tools for managed service providers (MSPs). These include a package called professional service automation (PSA), which provides the software that the managers or an MSP need to operate their business. The Atera platform also provides tools for technicians, which is called a remote monitoring and management (RMM) system.
Atera’s network monitoring system operates without manual intervention, thanks to the use of the SNMP system. This also provides warnings about network device status problems and there is a system of performance thresholds that trigger alerts when crossed.
Alerts man that technicians can assume that there are no problems with the network unless they are otherwise notified. This frees them up for other tasks, improving productivity and cost efficiency.
Other tools in the Atera package include task automation, a patch manager, and a ticketing system.
Paessler PRTG is a collection of system monitors that cover networks, servers, and applications. Each customer receives the full package of monitors and customizes the tool by deciding which services to turn on. The price for the package depends on how many of those monitors, which are called “sensors,” you want to use.
PRTG is a pure monitoring service, which means that it doesn’t include any system management functions. It is an excellent monitoring system for networks, thanks to the core SNMP processes that underpin it. The initial call to all device agents brings back a batch of responses that identify all of the network devices connected to the system. PRTG collates a network inventory from this information and, as it continues its regular polling of devices, keeps that register of devices constantly updated.
The service creates instantly-drawn network topology maps from its network inventory. These maps are not drawn once and then stored but are generated every time you access the topology screen. That means that you never get a topology map that is out of date.
The SNMP network sensor in PRTG receives Trap messages that are sent out by device agents whenever they detect serious problems with the equipment that they monitor. These Trap messages get interpreted by PRTG into alerts on the screen of the system dashboard. The service will also forward these alerts to you by email or SMS. This means that you can get on with other tasks and assume that everything is working well with the network unless you receive a notification.
The Paessler PRTG system is available for a 30-day free trial that includes an unlimited number of sensors. So, you can try out all of the server and application monitoring tools as well as the network monitoring system for free for a month. The PRTG software installs on Windows Server.
5. ManageEngine OpManager
ManageEngine OpManager combines network and server monitoring. The network supervision functions of this package are based on SNMP and include a network discovery service. This creates a constantly updated device registry that is refreshed by repeated SNMP device status checks.
The network topology map options in OpManager are very impressive. You can choose from a library of formats to get different views of your network infrastructure with live traffic and status data displayed on each. These topology maps are generated on demand so they show an up-to-date layout of the system.
The OpManager service processes SNMP Traps into alerts on the screens of the system console and also sends these out as notifications via email or SMS. This means that you can leave the OpManager service to monitor acceptable performance and you only need to pay attention when indicators signify that a problem is evolving.
The combination of network and server monitoring functions enables OpManager to provide excellent support for virtualizations. The system is also able to supervise Cloud-based virtual resources and the links to them plus remote networks over the Internet.
ManageEngine OpManager is available for Windows Server and Linux and you can access it on a 30-day free trial.
6. ITRS OP5 Monitor
ITRS OP5 Monitor is a network supervisor that is based on the free Nagios Core (see below). This tool is able to monitor resources on premises, on remote sites, and on the Cloud. The OP5 Monitor system automatically identifies all devices on the network and implements its performance tracking system. The service also presents an automatically-drawn network topology maps.
The OP5 console presents an overview of the network with summaries of all performance metrics. It facilitates a drill-down system that presents the user with greater detail on a device list page. Clicking through an item on that screen gets the user detailed information about the performance of a particular device.
The OP5 Monitor can be set up to monitor the performance standards laid out in the SLAs that your IT department needs to deliver on. Once this setup is in place, the OP5 system will draw safety levels that lie within the expectations of the SLA. These levels trigger warnings if the actual performance of the network goes out of bounds. The alert structure buys you time to reorganize network services and avoid letting your service’s performance break the promises laid out in the SLA.
ITRS OP5 Monitor installs on Linux. It is also possible to run it on a Windows computer over a VM provided by VMWare or Oracle Virtual Box. There are versions of the system available for cloud access on Azure and AWS platforms. ITRS offers OP5 Monitor on a 30-day free trial.
network management system open source
Network monitoring is a critical component of your network management strategy that provides valuable insights into network-related problems which can affect your organization. When you monitor networks regularly, you’ll mitigate risks like overloaded networks, router problems, downtime, cybercrime, and data loss.
Network monitoring lets you:
All successful companies invest in network monitoring tools that provide accurate insights into performance, speed, security, and productivity. Open source tools come with additional benefits such as easy customization, lower costs, independence, scalability, and stability. But which open source monitoring tool is best for your organization in 2021?
MetricFire boasts a suite of open source monitoring tools for servers, applications, systems, networks, and other business-critical infrastructure. Easy to configure and implement in your organization, MetricFire offers a Graphite solution for displaying monitoring metrics on highly-functional Grafana dashboards. Discover MetricFire here, book a demo, or sign up for a free trial!
Why is Network Monitoring so important?
Network monitoring is the bedrock of network management, providing enterprises with real-time insights into network elements, performance, productivity, and security. When you monitor networks, you can identify security risks and other anomalies quickly.
You can also prevent irreversible damage to your servers, systems, and infrastructure. Implement network monitoring in your organization and build better networks with low latency and higher speeds. Organizations invest in network monitoring for multiple reasons.
Security is a top priority for most enterprises, and network monitoring identifies cybercrime, insider threats, and unauthorized network access. Companies that provide goods and services to customers also use network monitoring to reduce downtime and outages.
Another benefit of network monitoring is measuring over-used and under-used network elements. This improves network performance with less waste of valuable resources, giving you more bang for your buck. Minor changes to networks have an enormous impact on workflows, slowing down productivity and reducing cybercrime.
It’s important to remember that cybercrime, like many others, is often a crime of opportunity. That means if the chance is there, someone might seize the opportunity to take advantage of an open network. That’s why cybersecurity is important. These open-source network monitoring tools allow you to protect your systems from security risks. Cybercrime is extremely difficult to pinpoint. The criminal defense lawyers at Spolin Law P.C., have seen many people facing significant prison time for crimes they didn’t commit. We may even use network monitoring tools as evidence to support our clients’ cases.
Organizations are able to use network monitoring to stay on top of vital elements and fix minor issues before they become problems, keeping the business flowing smoothly. Organizations should facilitate network monitoring regularly to get value.
However, this is extremely time-consuming and typically involves a large, which can be very costly. Network monitoring tools, therefore, prove useful for organizations that lack these resources.
Tools for Network Monitoring
Proprietary network monitoring tools are available under license. These tools can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. An example of a proprietary network monitoring tool is Orion. Open source networking monitoring tools are copyright-free and available to all organizations, regardless of size.
These tools are customizable, scalable, and robust, providing companies with a low-cost, effective alternative to proprietary software. Open source tools work in the same way as proprietary tools, and there are many of them available on the market.
Organizations use open-source network monitoring to identify network issues, improve network performance, and generate real-time insights into:
By implementing an open-source networking tool into your organization, you can identify network problems quickly and prevent downtime and other issues that affect your profits and productivity. So which network monitoring platform should you choose? Here are nine of the best open-source tools for 2021.
Optimize network monitoring in your organization with MetricFire’s suite of open-source solutions. You should book a demo, or register for a free trial.
Graphite is an open-source FOSS tool that tracks time-series data such as network performance. The platform then displays this data for users on a dashboard, simplifying network management considerably. Though Graphite is one of the most-used open-source tools for network monitoring, the platform has many limitations.
Users are not able to view insights as teams or extract and load data to an external database or data warehouse. Still, Graphite’s excellent reporting capabilities help organizations spot network deficiencies quickly.
Pro-tip: Supercharge Graphite with additional features such as team accounts, granular dashboard permissions, AWS integration, Heroku integration, logging tools, and a built-in agent. Click here to learn how Graphite as a Service from MetricFire will transform your business.
Prometheus is an open-source network monitoring tool that alerts users about all kinds of network-related issues such as low latency, memory utilization, and cybercrime. Built at SoundCloud, Prometheus searches for metrics from network tasks and displays them in an easy-to-use dashboard for analysis.
It runs on Windows operating systems and supports a variety of networking infrastructures such as Cisco. Other features include Netflow flow analysis. Network problems range in severity, and Prometheus distinguishes between minor issues and major problems so you won’t receive hundreds of notifications. (The platform only alerts you about serious network vulnerabilities.)
Zabbix is a free network monitoring system that checks all kinds of infrastructure, including networks. Thousands of organizations use this platform for performance insights into packet loss, network mode, connections, CPU, memory utilization, and bandwidth.
You can schedule network monitoring and receive instant notifications about problems such as network over-use/under-use. This automation prevents you from having to check networks manually, freeing up resources and team members.
Nagios Core (formerly Nagios) is one of the most popular open-source infrastructure monitoring tools, with enhanced monitoring capabilities for networks, systems, and servers. The self-described “industry standard in IT infrastructure monitoring,” Nagios schedules and automates monitoring tasks for better network performance.
Easy to configure, Nagios alerts you to network performance and security issues so you can take swift action and prevent further problems. You can also manage networks from a simple dashboard that provides real-time analytics about crashed servers, slow applications, and more.
Monitorix is a network monitoring solution for the Linux ecosystem that shows network-related information as basic graphs for further analysis. As a free solution, Monitorix has limitations, but the platform is effective at detecting failures, long response times, and network security issues.
Monitorix describes itself as “lightweight.” Users might notice the platform doesn’t have many of the advanced network monitoring features or performance capabilities of Zabbix and Nagios.
Icinga (now available as Icinga 2) is an open-source monitoring application for network-related issues with lots of alerting and metrics. It checks network resource availability, outages, security vulnerabilities, and other network problems and generates metrics on an easy-to-use API. Other features include SNMP monitoring, auto-discovery, and tracking tools for your entire IT infrastructure.
This platform proves a useful addition to your tech stack, but it lacks some features of more comprehensive network monitoring tools like Graphite and Prometheus. Still, its functionality and usability make it a perfect choice for smaller organizations or beginners.
Cacti is a web-based RRDTool-based graphing solution and networking monitoring platform that generates accurate network metrics for your organization. Features include unlimited graph items, graph data manipulation, customizable data gathering scripts, SNMP support, and auto-padding for graphs.
The front end is able to handle multiple users, allowing each their own graph sets. This makes it an ideal choice for web hosting providers because it allows them to display bandwidth statistics for their customers.
If you’re new to network monitoring, you might find Cacti has quite a difficult learning curve. But, because this is an open-source solution, it won’t cost you anything to try Cacti with your network devices.
LibreNMS is an auto-discovering PHP and MySQL-based platform for network monitoring. Although web-based, the tool is mobile-friendly, so you can monitor networks when you’re away from the office. And, best of all, you don’t need a large monitoring team.