Article

How to Choose the Right Network Monitoring Software for You

Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
Posted:
December 8, 2016
Factors to consider when choosing a network monitoring software


In today’s environment of constant security threats, network monitoring is an essential part of protecting any company’s infrastructure. After all, the right network monitoring solution can not only maximize uptime and efficiency, but alert you to potential security breaches before they cause devastating—and costly—outages.

What’s more, a powerful network monitoring software can save busy IT professionals countless hours that would be spent having to monitor the status of switches, routers, servers, and other devices. Network monitoring software can eliminate the need to spend hours in front of a screen, giving you the peace of mind that no matter where you are, you will still be notified of potential issues before they cause significant problems.  

In addition, a high-quality network monitoring software solution also offers the ability to:

  • Improve overall network reliability
  • Assist with capacity planning
  • Track activity trends across the network
  • View the network topology
  • Streamline the troubleshooting process should issues arise

While understanding the benefits of network monitoring may be relatively straightforward, choosing the right software can be another story. Not all network monitoring solutions are created equally. IT and business leaders must select the option that provides the best protection for their organization’s sensitive information. Because of the importance of this task, there are several key factors to consider when selecting a network monitoring system.

Get more answers by downloading the Ultimate Buyer's Guide: Network Monitoring Software in 2017.

Key Factors to Consider

It’s important to select a network monitoring solution with a broad array of features, as choosing the right software can help you achieve high level goals with only a minimal investment of resources. When evaluating your network monitoring options, it’s crucial to consider the following things:

Scope

One of the first factors to think about is the scope of the solution. In these respects, there are a few questions network administrators should seek to answer to help make this decision.

  • Will the solution be required in a single location or at multiple sites?
  • Will the system be used to monitor servers as well as all other network devices?
  • Will remote sites need monitoring as well?
  • Will virtual environments—such as storage, log file aggregation, or custom programs—need to be monitored?
  • Should systems that are typically down, like standby servers or cellular WAN links, be included?

These are considerably important questions to ask and answer, as the decisions made here will impact nearly all other aspects of the project. For this reason, take your time, do your research, and ensure that you come to the correct and best conclusions.

Connectivity and Scalability

Another factor to consider involves the architecture of the solution, including its connectivity and scalability. Your network is not going to stay the same. Every day it evolves business needs and requirements. For this reason, decision-makers should take into account the system’s connectivity to ensure the infrastructure can handle the requirements of the technology and its components. This is particularly important if considering an agentless solution, because these utilize a collector to poll source devices and pass along information. When considering connectivity, network administrators should examine the limits of these collectors to see how many devices can be supported and how much data will be traveling across the network.

While one of the more difficult considerations, it's also important to take a look at the system's options for scalability. Know what kind of load the monitoring application can stand, and what your choices are when (and if) you reach that limit. This will help ensure a longer lifecycle for the program as the company will be able to utilize it even if considerable growth occurs.

Deployment: On-Premise, Off-Premise, or in the Cloud?

Gone are the days of on-premise technology being the norm. With the rise of cloud and hybrid IT, administrators have more options when it comes to finding the right network monitoring solution for their business. Your IT team can manage your solution on-premise or in the cloud, or a third-party can manage it at their site, either on-premise or in the cloud.

Organizations who want more granular control of their network and its activities may prefer solutions that can be managed on-site. Those wanting to control costs may be interested in the cloud. For those who lack the time or resources to manage software themselves, a service provider may be ideal. What's best for one organization may not be best for another. Look at your organizational goals, the size of your IT team, and the resources you have on hand, and choose accordingly. 

Related Content: On-Premise vs. Cloud Network Monitoring: Which is Right for You?

Automatic Discovery

Some solutions come with built-in automatic discovery, allowing the technology to scan the network using Simple Network Management protocol (SNMP) to determine the current status of network components. For example, should the company add a new network component, a network monitoring solution with an automatic discovery scan feature can include the addition of that device to ensure your map is always up to date.

Topology Mapping

Alongside the need for discovery is the need for layer 2/3 topology mapping, which enables network administrators to have a visual representation of the infrastructure and its components.The mapping feature will not only identify but also help place devices in respect to their connections and relationship with other devices. The network topology mapping is an essential process to not only provide you with a visual outlay of your network, but also to intuitively maintain your network and provide you with performance and availability monitoring.

Alerting

Finally, intelligent alerting ensures that key employees, including network administrators and other IT staff, are notified should anything suspicious or out of the ordinary be discovered on the network. These kinds of activities can signal a breach, and intelligent alerting capabilities give the IT team the opportunity to respond to and mitigate any harmful tasks being carried out before they damage the network.

Intermapper: A Powerful, Easy-to-Use Solution

Intermapper is a comprehensive network monitoring, mapping, and alerting software that is both powerful and easy to use. Intermapper brings your network to life, presenting real-time views of traffic, device status, severity levels, and more. Its auto-discovery feature allows you to instantly map any device in your network, eliminating the need to manually enter device information. What’s more, it utilizes exception reporting, meaning you’ll only be notified as potential issues arise—not when things are running smoothly.

The Layer 2 module provides an in-depth, granular view of all equipment connections, while color-coded icons indicate if a problem has been acknowledged or remedied. Intermapper can monitor switches, routers, servers, or any other IP-enabled device and provide dynamic data, including response time, uptime, CPU and memory utilization, transactions per second, and even temperature. You can set up custom notifications to be alerted when customizable thresholds are exceeded or met. Intermapper’s responsive web interface allows you to monitor your network from anywhere, at any time, even from your tablet or mobile device.

Selecting the best network monitoring solution can take time and consideration, but having a powerful solution in place can help bolster security and offer improved insight into the health of your network. What’s more, it can save your company time, money, and peace of mind, allowing you to rest easy that your organization is working efficiently with a sound infrastructure.

Learn more about Intermapper: 

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