What’s the big deal about being popular?
In the software world, it can be a positive quality. Buyers find a solution successful, brand reputation increases, and many turn to a particular software because others find it trustworthy.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks. For instance, just because a solution is popular doesn’t mean it’s for you, especially if the vast majority of businesses that use it are much larger than your own.
So why even browse through popular solutions?
For those combing through network monitoring software, analyzing the top players in the industry can give you an idea standard offerings as well as how much you would be paying for a top-notch solution. You might even find a popular solution is the perfect fit for your company.
Below, I’ve researched the top five most popular network monitoring software solutions, outlining their pros, cons, and cost (if available) so you can begin your own research or even find the right product for your business.
Kicking off our list of the most popular network monitoring solutions is Spiceworks, whose clientele includes popular tech companies like Dell, Dropbox, and Lenovo.
Spiceworks provides real-time monitoring to track the functionality of your network. As well as a clutter-free dashboard, this solution also offers the ability to track bandwidth usage and saturation, including if a post suddenly goes offline. Users can also make use of Spiceworks’ server resources to inspect CPU, disk, and memory usage, including activity spikes, sudden memory faults, and overloaded resources. Spiceworks additionally features a historical data component, where users can better understand the behavior and trends of their network, especially if they find that an old device may need replacing to keep up with network demand.
It’s free. Seriously. Spiceworks’ Network Monitor is free and even includes customer support. You can download it right now.
*If you’re interested in other solutions similar to Spiceworks, be sure to check out our list of popular Spiceworks alternatives.
Solarwinds is another popular solution, with companies such as P&G, Kellogg’s, and PwC making use of their software offerings.
Key features of Solarwinds’ NMS include a mapping tool to survey to various locations of networked devices as well as device performance, automatic device discovery, and wireless heat maps to help you measure signal strength of your networked wireless devices. Solarwinds also hosts a capture and analysis component to see if changes in end-user experience are due to an application or the network, performance charts that can be dragged and arranged to your liking with real-time metrics, and customizable performance reports to measure overall network performance. Users can also explore the health of their hardware, including temperature, fan speed, and power supply.
PCMag found that the latest edition of Solarwinds’ Network Performance Monitor was unable to “list wireless clients” and that its heatmap feature only worked with Aruba, Cisco, HP, Meru, Ruckus, and Motorola APs.
Pricing begins around $2,895, though you’ll have to request a free quote for a more customized price. A free 30-day trial or interactive demo are also available if you’d like to test the user experience.
This integrated network management software includes network management, server management, network configuration management, and fault and performance management components.
With ManageEngine’s OpManager, users can expect to observe the health of their monitoring system by both visualizing and resolving router problems as well as examining bandwidth and the availability of WAN links. OpManager also enables network mapping to see and discover outages and poor performance areas. Other features include network traffic analysis to monitor network usage, observe user activity, and even a 3D data center floor, where you can create a 3D model of your data center and view device performance in real-time.
According to a review by PCMag, OpManager doesn’t enable cloud computing, leaving users to install this solution on premise.
Prices begin at $995 and can rise to $29,995 based on the number of devices and number of IP addresses. A free quote is also available for those who want a more customized price. You can also request a personalized demo if interested.
Nagios’ Network Analyzer offers a detailed dashboard to analyze network traffic and bandwidth usage in real-time, an automated alert system to prevent network bottlenecking, and an application monitoring feature to observe the performance of specific network applications. Nagios additionally promises a secure solution by alerting users of unusual network activity as well as a bandwidth calculator to measure bandwidth usage per source or IP address.
While Nagios does offer customer support, it’s only through email or a forum board (phone support comes at an additional charge) and only provides up to ten incident reports per year. Those who have more than ten incident reports will have to purchase additional support incident packs.
Nagios offers a single license pricing model, meaning a one-time payment of $995. Users can also opt for the Nagios XI package for discount pricing.
PRTG’s Capterra listing hosts more than 30 reviews, making it one of the most-reviewed network monitoring software solutions on the site.
Paessler’s PRTG Network Monitor solution allows users to detect bottlenecking and outages before they happen with alerts via email or SMS. This solution enables auto discovery of devices to help map out your network, record historical performance of your devices to track trends and potential problems, as well share this data (graphs and reports included) with non-technical coworkers and employees. PRTG is available in a multitude of languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, and more.
According to Capterra reviews, most complaints were small and more detail-oriented rather than sweeping issues. One reviewer noted that larger companies may find more success with other solutions, while others mentioned an initial learning curve and that its dashboard could be improved.
PRTG starts around $1,600 for more than 500 sensors, rising up to more than $40,500 for their corporate package that includes unlimited sensors. A free trial and freeware download (for up to 100 sensors) are also available.
Can you think of any other popular network monitoring software solutions that deserve to be on this list? Let me know in the comments below.
Looking for IT Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best IT Management software solutions.