Top 12 Server Monitoring Tools and Software

Dan Holloran April 24, 2019

DevOps Monitoring & Alerting
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Today, most businesses have a heavy dependency on DevOps and IT. Any network or infrastructure downtime can lead to a massive loss of time, opportunities, resources and revenue – negatively affecting your business’ reputation. This risk requires you to be proactive about identifying and responding to errors and IT incidents – bringing server monitoring into the picture.

Server monitoring is the process of scanning, reviewing and analyzing your servers for availability, operational performance, security and uptime.

Choosing the right server monitoring software

Selecting the right tools and software for successful server monitoring is critical to preventing the waste of resources and mitigating the risks of system failure. DevOps and IT teams need to consider several factors before choosing server monitoring tools and software. The server monitoring tool needs to be compatible with current server hardware and future upgrades, offer basic benchmark features, fit within business requirements and budget, and fulfill the need for an agent-based or agentless tracking solution. Server monitoring software, alongside other DevOps tools and the tracking of incident management metrics, allows you to continuously improve the resilience of the systems you build.

While the tooling choices depend on your specific DevOps or IT team structure and business, let’s dive into this list of top server monitoring tools and software you should consider.

The Incident Management Guide

1) Splunk

Splunk is an infrastructure, application, business and IT monitoring software. It offers server monitoring and troubleshooting across all physical and virtual infrastructures, allowing you to eliminate context switching. The tool provides deep visibility into server activity and security with predictive analysis that can anticipate outages. The all-in-one monitoring tool helps you make informed decisions by identifying latencies and load hogs, managing bandwidth and optimizing cost and capacity.

Splunk is a leader in the log analytics and data intelligence space. It offers three paid platforms – Splunk Enterprise for organizations of any size, Splunk Cloud for the cloud, and Splunk Light for smaller IT environments. Splunk also provides a free platform with a daily maximum indexing volume of 500 MB.

2) Nagios XI

Nagios XI is a paid open-source server and network monitoring software. Nagios XI offers comprehensive IT infrastructure monitoring for nearly any team. Nagios offers a number of services that can help you identify and resolve system failures with real-time alerts. Nagios XI offers useful reporting and custom configurations to help you make the most of your monitoring. All in all, Nagios XI is powerful, flexible server monitoring software, extensible with over 3,500 add-ons.

Built on Nagios Core, an open-source, free IT monitoring tool, Nagios XI is a simplified version that comes with many additional features like user-personalized alerts, performance graphs and capacity planning.

3) Icinga 2

Icinga 2 is a free tool, available with paid enterprise-level support. The Icinga2 software has an easy-to-use, responsive web interface. It checks your network resource availability, notifies you of outages and generates performance data for reporting. The tool secures sensitive data with SSL secured connections and offers restricted user-view access and edit rights. Icinga 2 is designed to be scalable and supports distributed monitoring. It allows you to export data to third-party applications and is extensible through plugins.

4) Zabbix

Zabbix is a mature, enterprise-level open-source server monitoring platform for all of your infrastructure and network monitoring needs. It’s highly scalable and can monitor large-scale IT environments while providing high security.

The Zabbix tool offers smart and automated metric collection, advanced problem detection through trend prediction, anomaly detection, problem forecasting and intelligent alerting. Zabbix is a free tool, available with paid support services – including five tiers of technical support, integration services and consulting services.

5) Spiceworks

Spiceworks is free IT server monitoring software that can also monitor other parts of your IT infrastructure like switches, services and SNMP devices. Spiceworks isn’t the most robust tool but it’s free and works well for smaller teams looking for an easy-to-install solution. Unfortunately, Spiceworks does include display advertisements in the user interface – but if you’re on a budget, it’s a small price to pay for a decent server monitoring tool.

6) SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM) is a fully functional server monitoring tool built to find and resolve application problems. It can perform infrastructure monitoring for Azure, AWS and other cloud platforms. It can also map the application infrastructure dependency and perform storage performance and health checks. The tool offers 1200+ systems and application performance monitoring templates to help you set up quickly.

7) Op5 Monitor

Op5 Monitor is open-source server monitoring software that can monitor thousands of devices and provide real-time information about the processes. It’s a paid tool and offers high scalability and flexibility. The tool comes with a REST API that enables a secure integration with third-party tools.

Op5 also provides predictive analysis. The single dashboard view allows easy access to data. Op5 Monitor offers multiple easy-to-understand reports (e.g. alert reports, server availability reports, and SLA reports).

8) PRTG

PRTG is an all-in-one server monitoring tool for all types of servers – including distributed networks. It’s an integrated solution that also monitors the infrastructure simultaneously. PRTG can handle any size of server landscape with scalable, upgradeable licenses.

The software sends prompt alerts to prevent and quickly manage your system problems. You can define your alert threshold values to avoid failures and improve future operations. PRTG can also help with capacity planning – ensuring you can always scale up or down as necessary. PRTG’s server monitoring tool provides reports you can use for scheduling improvements and process optimization.

9) Monitis

Monitis is cloud-based website, network, application and server monitoring software for holistic visibility into application and server performance. The paid server monitoring tool allows you to check key performance indicators (KPIs) and detects server performance issues. It can perform server checks in 1-minute intervals. The Monitis software can also provide native agents for Windows and Linux.

The user interface is intuitive and the dashboard is customizable. The tool offers customizable instant alerts and the data center can send alerts even when the network is down. You can sign up and get started in a few minutes without installing the software since it is a web-based solution.

10) Cacti

Cacti is a free, open-source network monitoring tool for IT infrastructure. It’s a complete RRDtool-based front end graphing solution. Cacti enables you to collect data from any network element, including routing and switching systems, firewalls, load balancers and servers. Then, you can put the data into robust graphs and store the data in MySQL databases. You can extend the tool’s capabilities to use scripts, queries, or commands for data collection and save it as a template to use for polling other devices for similar datasets.

The user management feature allows you to assign user-based access and editing rights. The intuitive, user-friendly interface is suitable for installations and networks of all sizes.

11) WhatsUp Gold

WhatsUp Gold is a paid network availability and performance monitoring tool which provides complete visibility into the status and performance of applications, network devices, on-premises servers and cloud-based servers across Windows, LAMP, and Java environments.

WhatsUpGold offers easy-to-use and customizable maps, unified dashboards and alerts. It quickly notifies the team of failures without anyone having to watch a monitoring station. The tool helps visualize and isolate network performance issues while allowing simple network discovery, mapping and configuration.

12) ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager is a paid real-time network monitoring tool that monitors routers, switches, firewalls, servers and VMs for fault and performance. It offers physical and virtual server monitoring, threshold-based monitoring, and LAN and WAN monitoring with customized dashboards.

The software provides multi-vendor support to continuously monitor servers and critical applications for uptime and performance. OpManager stores historical performance tracking and troubleshooting data, eliminating the need for other server monitoring software.

Server monitoring tools aren’t one-size-fits-all

Server monitoring enables you to prevent and manage system failures that help you maintain your business reputation and make better use of your time and resources. You’ll not only be able to identify and resolve server issues, but you’ll also get more visibility and control into boosting your server availability and performance. Monitoring helps you understand server utilization so you can plan server capacity ahead of time.

This article contains some excellent server monitoring tools for you to choose from. However, server monitoring needs vary from one organization to another. So, a server monitoring tool that works best for you might not best serve the requirements of others. Most of the server monitoring tools available have live demos and free trials. You can try them out and consider which software best fits your requirements.

VictorOps ingests monitoring data from all kinds of sources, centralizes the data and routes alerts to the right person at the right time. Sign up for a 14-day free trial or request a personalized demo of VictorOps to see how we improve real-time collaboration, serve up contextual alerts from across your entire stack and make on-call suck less.

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