OpManager is the central module in a suite of monitoring tools produced by ManageEngine. This is one of the leading network infrastructure monitoring tools available and the integration with sister products creates a very powerful system management support suite.

Who would need OpManager?

OpManager is a very comprehensive system with many screens of live statistics. The company offers a free version of the system that is limited to monitoring only three network devices. That implies that the system would be suitable for small businesses. However, a simple network with very few devices wouldn’t need all of the detailed information that OpManager produces.

This system is most suited to large businesses with complicated multi-site networks. The remote management elements within the tool make it an ideal conduit to centralize IT management in one location and cut costs on running support in every location.

Middle-sized companies would also benefit from using OpManager because the task automation included in the package enables a small team to support a complex network.

The tool focuses on the health of network devices, which are generic and not industry-specific, so OpManager is suitable for all sectors and all types of businesses that have sizeable networks to run.

OpManager features

OpManager’s main purpose is to monitor the successful operation of a network. The tool also has server monitoring capabilities. Here are the main activities that OpManager can be used for:

  • Real-time network monitoring
  • Wireless network monitoring
  • Hardware monitoring
  • Network mapping
  • Physical server monitoring
  • Virtual server monitoring
  •  WAN Link monitoring
  • VoIP monitoring
  • Syslog monitoring

The following sections explain these features in detail.

Real-time network monitoring

Network monitoring is the core task of OpManager. The tool doesn’t monitor traffic flows. Instead, it monitors the statuses of network equipment. The network monitor relies on the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). This system is built into all networking equipment as an agent program. The only piece missing in the protocol’s implementation is a manager. OpManager provides that function.

ManageEngine OpManager

SNMP enables OpManager to constantly gather device statuses. The information from those continual inquiries is displayed in graphical and statistical formats in the dashboard of the tool. In regular operations, the manager requests status reports from all of the device agents. However, if the device is in trouble, the agent sends a report without waiting to be asked. This is called a “trap” and OpManager converts that into a warning or an alert. These notifications enable network technicians to head off device failure before it happens.

By catching problems before they escalate into disaster OpManager can reduce the number of calls to the help desk – problems can be solved before users notice them. This reduction of support calls saves costs and helps OpManager to pay for itself.

Wireless network monitoring

The wireless network monitoring module of OpManager is a very useful tool. Many companies deploy Wi-Fi in their offices these days, often as a separate network for employees to access for private use.

The network monitor shows the signal strength of all wireless access points on the premises and can also record the amount of traffic running to each wireless router. It also displays utilization statistics that illustrate when wireless routers are overloaded.

The monitor is useful for planning capacity and also for spotting rogue access points within the premises, which could threaten your security.

The Wireless network monitor stores templates for each router model. Once the operator sets a list of required monitors for a router type, those settings will be repeated for each router of the same model. Further time saving is available through task automation and automated data gathering.

Hardware monitoring

The network monitoring function of OpManager relies on the ability to query device agents through SNMP. Monitoring network performance automatically includes keeping an eye on the statuses of all the routers and switches that run the network.

The OpManager system compiles a list of all network devices and regularly checks on the status of various hardware elements, such as memory utilization and availability, disk space, temperature, and voltage. Spotting problems with those devices and dealing with them keep the network running.

Network mapping

OpManager takes full advantage of all of the information that SNMP provides and creates network maps from that data. First of all, those SNMP responses from device agents notify the manager of the existence of those devices. Thus, OpManager can compile an equipment inventory without any human intervention.

OpManager also creates a map of this information. Both the inventory and the network topology map get updated in real-time, so it is easy to see when new devices are added to the network and old devices are retired. It is even possible to see when devices are moved.

The network topology maps of OpManager are a great feature. The mapper Is able to show the network as links between all devices, just the Layer 2 or Layer 3 devices, as a 3D representation of the building, and as a map with all sites of a WAN plotted on it. Another great visualization is a view of each server rack with all the equipment in it.

Physical server monitoring

Rival monitoring systems create separate network performance monitors and server monitors. OpManager covers servers as well as network equipment. CPU, performance, CPU memory, storage, disk, power supply, and fan speed are all constantly monitored and displayed as visualizations in the dashboard of the tool.

The capacity of servers is very important for successful application delivery, so OpManager also monitors running processes, observing their resource utilization and ensuring that capacity limits are not hit.

Virtual server monitoring

Virtualizations create great resource efficiency, but they can get complicated very quickly if they are not properly monitored. Switching from VMs between servers is a necessary part of keeping virtualizations running effectively.

ManageEngine opManager similarly displays availability and utilization for virtual servers.

The virtual server monitoring tool in OpManager tracks all of the links between VMs and servers. It keeps track of the environment software that maintains the virtualizations and it watches the capacity of the physical resources that support and connect all of the elements of the virtualizations.

A very useful feature in the tool is a virtualization map. This is compiled automatically and updated whenever any changes occur in the mapping. This is a particularly useful assistant if you implement dynamic allocation. OpManager has specialist sections for monitoring VMWare, Hyper-V, and Citrix Xen Server virtualizations.

WAN link monitoring

Running a multi-site operation requires remote monitoring, which makes the internet connections between sites vital to the smooth operation of the organization. The WAN link monitoring system in OpManager is modeled on Cisco IP SLA standards. This tracks the quality of the links between sites in a WAN and the central monitoring station. The monitoring package also includes a constant measure of connection roundtrip times.

VoIP monitoring

Running a telephone system over the data network places even greater importance on constantly available network services. The VoIP monitor in the OpManager package helps keep the voice traffic prioritized so it gets all of the speed that it needs.

OpManager deploys QoS strategies, implementing queuing and prioritizing where necessary to keep VoIP traffic moving at sufficient speeds. OpManager monitors packet loss, delay, jitter, the Mean Opinion Score (MOS) and roundtrip time (RTT).

Syslog and Windows Event log monitoring

Syslog and Windows Event log are becoming increasingly important in intrusion detection managing those logs so that they are in a scannable format. It also ensures that they are properly filed in meaningful directories which is an important step in gleaning useful information from them.

OpManager acts as a syslog server and a Windows event log server to properly manage these records and make them available for analysis.

OpManager system requirements

OpManager is an on-premises software that needs to be installed on a server.

Operating system

The OpManager software is available for Windows Server and Linux.

The Windows version runs on:

  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2012 (including R2)
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2019

The Linux version runs on:

  • Ubuntu
  • Suse
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (up to version 8)
  • Fedora
  • Mandriva (Mandrake Linux)

Browser types

The interface for the system loads into a browser:

  • Google Chrome (preferred)
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Microsoft Edge

Host hardware

The hardware requirements for the software depend on the edition that has been selected and the number of devices that are to be monitored.

For OpManager Standard and Professional editions monitoring up to 250 devices:

  • Hard drive space: 20 GB minimum
  • CPU: Intel Xeon 2.0 GHz 4 cores/ 4 threads
  • RAM: 4 GB

For OpManager Standard and Professional editions monitoring 251 to 500 devices:

  • Hard drive space: 20 GB minimum
  • CPU: Intel Xeon 2.5 GHz 4 cores/ 8 threads
  • RAM: 8 GB

For OpManager Standard and Professional editions monitoring 251 to 500 devices:

  • Hard drive space: 40 GB minimum
  • CPU: Intel Xeon 2.5 GHz 4 cores/ 8 threads or higher
  • RAM: 16 GB

For OpManager Enterprise editions monitoring 251 to 500 devices:

  • Hard drive space: 100 GB minimum
  • CPU: Intel Xeon 3.5 Ghz 4 cores/ 8 threads or higher
  • RAM: 16 GB or higher

Editions

OpManager is available in four editions:

  • Free
  • Standard
  • Professional
  • Enterprise

The Free version is the same as Standard edition but with a limit of three devices to monitor.

Standard

Includes:

  • Network performance monitoring
  • Hardware monitoring
  • Physical server monitoring
  • Alarms and notifications
  • Network topology mapping

Professional

Includes:

  • Network performance monitoring
  • Hardware monitoring
  • Physical server monitoring
  • Alarms and notifications
  • Network topology mapping
  • Virtualization monitoring
  • Workflow automation
  • 3D rack view

Enterprise

Includes:

  • Network performance monitoring
  • Hardware monitoring
  • Physical server monitoring
  • Alarms and notifications
  • Network topology mapping
  • Virtualization monitoring
  • Workflow automation
  • 3D rack view
  • WAN monitoring
  • Failover/high availability

 

Complimentary modules

ManageEngine built a standard platform for its main monitoring tools. This includes some cross-modular functions that only become activated for those who buy all contributing modules. The common platform is called Orion and it ensures a standard ‘look and feel’ to all ManageEngine infrastructure monitoring systems.

The commonality and joint facilities are activated automatically at the point of installation. Technicians do not need to perform any adaptation in order to get separately-bought modules to work together.

The ManageEngine catalog keeps expanding every year. The company now produces many specialized infrastructure monitors. However, a number of these work particularly well with OpManager and compliment to the information that the network and server monitor can provide.

NetFlow Analyzer

ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer

ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer works particularly well alongside OpManager. While OpManager attends to the statuses of network devices to keep the system running efficiently, NetFlow Analyzer focuses on traffic flows.

The monitor doesn’t tap the cable to spy on passing data packets. Instead, it queries network devices, accessing their firmware to query traffic records and gather copies of data streams. Different makes of switches have different traffic sampling protocols loaded on to them, so it is important that OpManager can communicate in many different protocols in order to examine traffic in multi-vendor environments. The system can communicate in NetFlow, sFlow, IPFIX, Netstream, J-flow, and Appflow.

OpUtils

OpUtils IPAM

OpUtils offers a peculiar combination of system functions that no other network monitoring software provider has ever put together in one package; these are an IP address manager and a switch port mapper.

The IP address manager in OpUtils isn’t a full DDI solution, but it is close. The package doesn’t include integrated DHCP and DNS servers, but the IP address manager is able to coordinate with Microsoft DHCP and DNS servers. The system can also integrate with Active Directory for its access permissions system.

The integration of the IP address manager with Windows services shows that this software, although it can install on Linux, works better on Windows Server.

The Switch Port Mapper automatically identifies the connections made to each port on a switch, which makes documenting a network a lot easier than visiting each device and waggling the cables plugged into it.

Applications Manager

ManageEngine Applications Manager

A weakness with ManageEngine modules lies in the boundaries between them. The Applications Manager contains many functions that would usually be counted as a separate server manager. Other parts of that non-existent server manager are bundled into OpManager.

Although there are virtualization and server monitoring facilities in OpManager, it is necessary to buy and install the Applications Manager to fully manage servers and virtualizations. As the name suggests, this tool monitors all applications including web servers and database management systems.

OpManager Plus

OpManager Plus is an integrated combination of several ManageEngine products. This package includes the network device and server monitoring capabilities of OpManager, the bandwidth monitoring facilities of the NetFlow Analyzer, the applications, virtualization, and server monitoring utilities of the ManageEngine Applications Manager, the IP address manager and switch port mapper of OpUtiils, the configuration monitoring that can be bought separately as the ManageEngine Network Configuration Manager, and the firewall monitoring capabilities of the ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer.

OpManager’s market niche

ManageEngine OpManager, Paessler PRTG, and Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor are all very similar tools and all aim for the same market. None of these options is suitable for small networks. The extensive utilities of each become economically beneficial for middle-sized to large enterprises.

Fortunately, ManageEngine offers a 30-day free trial of OpManager, so while you are testing the Paessler and SolarWinds products, you can also assess ManageEngine’s OpManager.

ManageEngine is part of Zoho Corporation, which is a very sharp marketer. This tool is well designed and has an attractive user interface. One day soon, it might well become the leading network monitoring system.