Saturday, 10 January 2015

7 Most Useful Network Monitoring Tools

In the networking world and server admin world, it’s all about visibility. If you are not aware what your network and servers are doing right now, then it might prove disastrous for you. There are some excellent tools, which are both commercial and open source, which can help you in the networking world. These tools are excellent to use for network and server monitoring, graphing and so on. Here are seven such tools for you:
1. Cacti :
Cacti is one of the best open source network graphing tools in present times. It’s a LAMP application which provides a complete graphing framework for data. There are templates which can monitor variety of devices and there are collections too for a greater array of hardware and software. Cacti’s default collection method is SNMP, local Perl or PHP. The PHP Network Weathermap plug-in for Cacti can create live network maps which show link utilisation between network devices. Cacti is very efficient in performance graphing and it’s highly customisable too.
2. Microsoft Network Monitor :
This is a packet analyser which allows capturing, viewing and analysing network traffic. This tool is extremely useful for troubleshooting network problems and applications on the network. When this tool is launched the adapter needs to be selected from the main window and after clicking on “New Capture” to initiate a new capture tab. In this tab if you click on Capture Settings you can change the filter options, adapter options and hit Start to begin the packet capture process.
3. Nagios :
This is a powerful network monitoring tool which ensures that all your critical systems, applications and services are always running. It helps implement plug-ins to monitor services, applications and metrics. It’s a mature network monitoring framework which is written in C and its Web GUI is quite fast as well as intuitive. Nagios has a full email/SMS notification engine and an escalation layout too. The Web GUI can be used to suspend notifications when they occur, and it can also record notes which are provided by admins.
4. Icinga :
It was initially a forked version of Nagios but now it has a rewritten version as Icinga 2. Icinga 1.x is backward compatible with Nagios plug-ins and configurations. The newer version is sleeker and smaller and it allows distributed monitoring too. It can monitor anything from IP to SNMP. Icinga has more than one Web UIs and it’s the configuration which makes it different from Nagios. Several graphing and monitoring packages are integrated with Icinga like PNP4Nagios, inGraph and Graphite.
5. NeDi :
NeDi is a LAMP application which goes along with the MAC address and ARP tables on network switches. NeDi Web GUI allows conducting searches to determine switch, switch port and wireless AP of a device through its MAC address, IP address and DNS name. It has a very simple configuration and it allows high amount of customisation too. NeDi uses Cisco Discovery Protocol or Link Layer Discovery Protocol and it also integrates Cacti to certain extent.
6. BandwidthD :
It monitors TCP/IP network usage and it also shows data which has been gathered in forms of graphs and tables. Each protocol is colour-coded and it runs as a background service.
7. EasyNetMonitor :
It’s a very lightweight tool which can monitor local and remote hosts. It’s useful for monitoring critical servers from desktop and it also allows immediate notifications when a host doesn’t respond to a periodic ping. After the tool is launched, it appears as an icon in the notification area on desktop where the IP addresses can be added for monitoring.

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