IT professionals are always presented with myriad solutions when seeking additional software for their network infrastructure. When it comes to server monitoring solutions, there are multiple options available. After all, every organization has its own needs, individual infrastructure and software requirements.
With that in mind, the following list is a guide to help IT professionals select what they believe may be the best possible server monitoring solution for their organization.
The Benefits of Utilizing Server Monitoring Tools
Server monitoring is beneficial in several ways. When an IT professional deploys a complete server monitoring solution, it can assist with understanding the following:
- The availability of servers: To prevent potential risks or business losses, deploying a server monitoring tool will help users keep the servers on and accessible for end users.
- Keeping server response time up-to-speed: Server monitoring enables IT to measure response time, so an organization can respond quickly enough to keep customers happy.
- Detect and receive alerts about errors: Monitoring allows you to detect ongoing issues or potential outages, and its tools enable you to put notifications in place.
- Receive a more precise and comprehensive view of your infrastructure: Server monitoring provides a detailed system overview, allowing you to proactively detect and prevent problems that may impact the server.
- Create strategies through historical data: By using historical data, IT workers can understand if components of a server failed spontaneously or were slowly malfunctioning over a certain period. This way, users can be prepared to fix problems instead of scrambling to resolve them when they occur.
- Plan for capacity overages: IT managers can prepare for system resource usage and users can notify them whether the current CPU utilization can handle user load growth.
What Are the Best Server Monitoring Solutions for SMB IT Departments?
While making this a completely comprehensive list of every on-the-market server monitoring tool would be challenging, we chose the following based on how much it covers an infrastructure, its intuitive interface, error detection capabilities, overall cost effectiveness and unique features.
Open-Source Server Monitoring Tools
On the market for over 20 years, Nagios has become a complete monitoring tool for web servers, applications and more. It is also compatible with several third-party plugins, which makes it customizable for a specific use case.
- Supports IT infrastructure and server performance monitoring
- Users can add customizable scripts to the initial configuration
Pros: Can monitor multiple devices and servers, supports free plugins and add-ons and can notify and alert users.
Cons: Interactive dashboards and setup wizards are only available in the paid version of Nagios and it has an unintuitive configuration and confusing interface.
Compatible with Windows and Linux (not to mention various IoT devices), Netdata allows its users to monitor their servers in real time. Additionally, Netdata assists with troubleshooting slowdowns and providing insights into server, database and application activity.
- Monitors the entire IT infrastructure on any device, server or application
- Provides real-time data with ease
Pros: Fast and straightforward troubleshooting, OS agnostic and compatible with multiple servers, containers and IoT devices.
Cons: Dashboard is read-only, multiple server monitoring has functional problems and cannot access a complete server monitoring history.
OpenNMS is one server monitoring tool on this list entirely written in Java and is designed for email server monitoring, supporting various email clients. Other useful tools include IP network monitoring and its event-driven architecture, which enables users to track statuses and data more efficiently.
- Can monitor and manage servers and networks of all sizes
- Track node status on a unified interface
- Easy-to-monitor IP network services
Pros: Can integrate with multiple alert systems, supports screen monitoring and has easy-to-integrate alerts.
Cons: Slow report generation when connected to multiple devices, user-unfriendly interface and not enough resources for development and maintenance.
For organizations with a Kubernetes-based environment, Prometheus could be a decent choice. This cloud-native server monitoring solution has effective real-time data collection and analysis capabilities within its easy-to-setup, built-in toolset.
- Network monitoring tools that can create graphs and tables
- Can be deployed on the cloud
- Time data features can collect metrics regarding Kubernetes clusters
Pros: Data visualization is easy to use, supports independent server nodes, efficient data storage and suitable for cloud-based infrastructures.
Cons: Complicated installation process and commercial support is only provided via third party tools.
Zabbix is a robust server monitoring solution with additional network, cloud and application monitoring capabilities. Zabbix's easy-to-configure nature and centralized system for data processing make it an excellent choice.
- Supports auto-discovery and proactive alerts for users
- Easy to create data visualization
Pros: Easy-to-use graphical interface for visualization, can store data via centralized system and swift setup and configuration.
Cons: Users need to utilize a running agent to have round-the-clock server monitoring.
Enterprise-Level Server Monitoring Tools
AppDynamics is a business-first observability platform providing IT with insights for server performance and application monitoring. It enables IT teams to identify application server performance issues potentially impacting business performance, along with correlated server and application metrics, to view your cloud investments facilitate business.
- Can quickly identify application server performance issue
- Specific types of alerts and notifications are supported
Pros: Efficient alert detection capabilities, enables users to plan for capacity limits successfully.
Cons: Sharp learning curve for its more advanced server monitoring features, poor tutorials for newcomers and no self-hosted version (as of this writing).
Datadog is a server monitoring software providing network professionals with a unified view of correlated metrics associated with server log discovery and traces. This is a convenient feature when debugging performance issues on your servers. In one use case, an IT professional can unveil sources of lag with Datadog's ability to monitor server metrics alongside application data.
- Server monitoring system for infrastructure, apps, network and network logs
- Provides singular view of what system or network Datadog is deployed on
- Dashboards provide a clear picture of system health and performance
Pros: Can uncover hidden sources of slowdown and system lag, quick and efficient anomaly detection and users can create custom metrics and custom Datadog integrations.
Cons: No JSON log processing support resulting in limited log analytics, can be complex or unwieldy for new users, and no self-hosted version (as of this writing)
The easy-to-configure Dynatrace provides users with detailed dashboards. Once Dynatrace is deployed and monitors your infrastructure's servers, the dashboards will display insights into a server's CPU, general network health and memory. Dynatrace can also keep track of other metrics, such as server logs.
- All-in-one robust monitoring platform for several aspects including infrastructure, application performance and cloud automation.
- Can monitor servers' network health in a detailed level.
Pros: Available for both cloud and on-premises and error detection capabilities are AI-powered.
Cons: Lack of robust dashboard functionalities and requires in-depth training for first-time users
LogicMonitor assists IT teams in monitoring the health and performance of their on-premises and virtual servers. Users must only enter an IP address to set it up on their server. LogicMonitor can automatically detect, monitor and alert users on various metrics, including CPU usage.
- Network teams or individual IT professionals can personalize and save dashboards
- Provides details on databases, usage, system loads and application performance
- Can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud
Pros: Capable of monitoring assets in a hybrid cloud environment and IT teams do not need to tap into additional server monitoring tools to optimize resources.
Cons: Only a two-week free trial and limited options in the free version.
Sematext gives users insights into multiple server characteristics, all in one spot. This server monitoring software collects all the necessary server-related metrics, including CPU, memory, disk usage and network load. Users can see a quick bird's-eye view of a company's entire IT infrastructure, server processes, system packages, versions, installs and uninstalls, etc.
- Can deploy pre-customized dashboards at the start
- Easy to setup for log aggregation and GUI-based metric
- Users can utilize anomaly detection and alerts across an enterprise's infrastructure
Pros: Third-party support for multiple integrations (Kubernetes, cloud providers, etc.), creates correlating metrics between application performance and log analytics and not limited to monitoring only system metrics.
Cons: Lack of documentation for older versions, specific Sematext integrations cannot send custom metrics and not a lot of support for transactional tracing.
Why is Progress WhatsUp Gold the Ideal Server Monitoring Solution?
Your organization should always do its due diligence when selecting any software, and server monitoring software is no exception.
Progress WhatsUp Gold can be the solution your organization is looking for. WhatsUp Gold is a complete infrastructure monitoring solution for IT and network teams in enterprise-wide companies. And one of its core abilities is its server monitoring capabilities.
WhatsUp Gold's comprehensive layer discovery tools scan a network while learning from routing protocols and tables to understand the architecture. Instead of depending on multiple devices or solutions for this task, WhatsUp Gold is an all-in-one solution. Instead of having several solutions deployed onto one network where each may report different metrics that could be inaccurate, WhatsUp Gold creates a complete and exact visualization of an entire network. From there, a user can generate reports regarding the network assets, performance, statuses, etc.
One of our customers has been actively using WhatsUp Gold to monitor their servers. Hattiesburg Clinic is one of the largest medical clinics in southern Mississippi, serving 19 counties across the state. However, whenever an organization, medical clinic or not, grows and serves more customers (or patients in this case), network infrastructure must evolve to keep things running smoothly. Hattiesburg needed more insight to see if their servers were performing up to par.
Chuck Holcomb, Director of Information Technology at Hattiesburg Clinic began using WhatsUp Gold to see what was happening within Hattiesburg's infrastructure. On top of being able to access a visualization tool, Holcomb mentions how his team can monitor everything on the clinic's infrastructure.
"We're monitoring all our servers, network gears, switches, access points, routers, the VPN and firewalls. We're monitoring all our UPSs. We're even monitoring our time clocks," said Holcomb. "We recently migrated to new time clocks and a new HR system. We got a lot of calls that the time clocks were not working. We decided to monitor them with WhatsUp Gold, so we'll know if they're up or down."
Pick the Server Monitoring Tool That is Right for You and Your Organization
Every organization's IT needs are different when picking a server monitoring tool. If your organization is still on the hunt for one, we encourage you to consider our guide and to contact us regarding any questions you may have about WhatsUp Gold.