To monitor lots of systems effectively you need a systems management tool. Systems management tools enable network administrators to manage infrastructure and applications from one location.
Not enough time to read the whole post? Here is our list of the 9 best systems management tools:
- SolarWinds Systems Management Bundle (FREE TRIAL) A system monitoring bundle of four tools including a server monitoring tool, virtualization manager, storage resource monitor and web performance monitor.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL) A network monitoring tool with autodiscovery that can find devices and recommend appropriate sensors.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager An application and server monitoring tool with data on response time, availability, and CPU / memory utilization.
- Nagios XI Infrastructure monitoring tool with graphical displays, capacity planning capabilities, integrated APIs, and a community’s worth of add-ons.
- Zabbix Open-source system monitoring solution with out-of-the-box configurations for popular device vendors and network health/performance monitoring.
- OP5 Monitor Open source-network monitoring tool that can monitor SNMP devices, with configurable alerts and a reporting system.
- KACE Systems Management Appliance Systems management platform that can monitor devices, run vulnerability scans, deploy patches, and generate alerts.
- ConnectWise Automate Systems management tool with autodiscovery, automation, and virtual patching.
- WhatsUp Gold Performance monitoring tool with a customizable dashboard, strong visualization, notifications, and reporting.
The best systems management tools
SolarWinds Systems Management Bundle is a system monitoring bundle that includes four different tools: SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor, SolarWinds Virtualization Manager, SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor, and SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor. These tools automatically discover infrastructure and applications throughout your network.
Performance can be monitored through the PerfStack dashboard. The dashboard displays performance data as graphs and charts. There are also over 1,200 infrastructure monitoring templates to help you get up and running ASAP.
You can pick and choose which products you want to use in the bundle. SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is the server monitoring solution and costs $2,995 (£2,316). SolarWinds Virtualisation Manager is the virtualization management component that costs $2,995 (£2,316).
SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor is a storage management platform that starts at $2,995 (£2,316). SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor is a website monitoring tool that starts at $1,995 (£1,543). You can download a 30-day free trial.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is a network monitoring tool that can monitor infrastructure, traffic, and applications. PRTG Network Monitor automatically discovers devices by pinging IP ranges. Through the dashboard, you can monitor your network with real-time visualizations, including dials, maps, and charts.
The server monitoring capabilities of PRTG Network Monitor are particularly diverse. The product can monitor mail servers, web servers, database servers, and file servers. There are unique sensors for databases like MySQL, Microsoft SQL, and Oracle SQL.
To keep you updated on security events, PRTG Network Monitor has an alerts system with an API for creating custom alerts. Whenever the system detects problematic activity it sends an alert through email, SMS, or push notification. Push notifications are available for users who download the free Android or iOS apps.
There is a freeware version of PRTG Network Monitor for enterprises using less than 100 sensors. Then there is a range of versions that increase in price depending on the number of sensors you need to support. PRTG 500 starts at $1600 (£1,237) for 500 sensors and one server installation. You can download a 30-day free trial.
ManageEngine Applications Manager is a performance management tool for monitoring applications and servers. The tool is Windows and Linux-based. When using the platform, you can monitor metrics such as application response time, CPU/memory utilization, availability, and more.
Anomaly detection automatically identifies abnormal behavior. If the performance baseline of an application or server deviates from normal ranges the program notifies you immediately. For instance, if the server load is significantly higher, then you can react to the notification and monitor the event through the Anomaly Dashboard.
The Rest API enables you to send the information you’ve collected in ManageEngine Applications Manager to other monitoring tools. API integration means that ManageEngine Applications Manager can mesh with the rest of your monitoring environment.
ManageEngine Applications Manager is one of those systems management tools that require minimal configuration. To find out the price of the program you need to contact the company directly. You can download the free trial.
Nagios XI is an infrastructure management tool that provides a top-down perspective of network performance. Customizable dashboards give you complete control over how your network is monitored. There is a range of displays, including graphs and maps you can use to monitor network performance.
Features like automated capacity planning graphs keep you aware of the status of your current systems. Scheduling capacity planning reports help you to make sure that your usage requirements don’t exhaust your resources and put you out of action.
The extensibility of Nagios XI makes it a top-notch product. There are APIs for integrating with external applications and a range of add-ons developed by the community on the Nagios Exchange. The plugins on Nagios Exchange allow you to further customize your monitoring experience.
There are two versions of Nagios XI available to purchase; Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition. The Standard Edition starts at $1,995 (£1,512) with features including configuration wizards and reports. The Enterprise Edition starts at $3,495 (£2,703) and includes features like capacity planning reports, audit logging, and more. You can download the free trial.
Zabbix is an open-source system monitoring solution. Zabbix blends server, cloud, application, and network monitoring into one platform. You can monitor network health, bandwidth usage, and configuration changes. The visualization capabilities are vast with everything from charts and graphs to cluster displays (logical maps of clusters).
Templates provide you with out-of-the-box configurations, graphs and discovery rules for a range of vendors. There are templates available for Cisco, Dell, Intel, Juniper Networks, Huawei, Netgear, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and more. There is also a range of additional templates and modules that can be found on the community site.
Zabbix is recommended for enterprises that want a low-cost tool with premium functionality. Zabbix is available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Oracle, Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Raspbian. You can download the software for free.
OP5 Monitor is an open-source network and SNMP monitoring tool. OP5 Monitor has an auto-discovery feature that automatically discovers devices connected to the network. Once the program discovers your SNMP-enabled devices, you can start to monitor performance and availability. There is out-of-the-box support for a range of vendors to reduce the level of configuration needed.
However, you can configure your own alert rules and notifications and configure notifications for networks, databases and OS resources. For example, if key resources are running low on disk space or CPU load is unusually high then the software will send you a notification.
Reports allow you to further analyze your network activity. There is a range of reports including alert summary, alert history reports, availability reports, SLA reports, and more. Reports can be saved as PDF or CSV files.
You can request pricing from the company directly (the price will depend on the number of devices that you are looking to support). Download the 30-day free trial.
KACE Systems Management Appliance is a systems management platform that allows you to monitor computers, laptops, servers, tablets, printers, storage, and more. The software helps you to manage resource allocation, manage your inventory of IT assets, and perform software license management.
The platform doesn’t just give you more visibility but also allows you to perform tasks like vulnerability scans and patching. Checking for vulnerabilities and remotely patching devices saves you time and reduces vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited by an attacker. There are also alerts that notify you about performance events.
KACE Systems Management Appliance will work well with enterprises that want to manage IT assets from a single location. However, you will have to contact the sales team to view the pricing information. You can download the free trial.
ConnectWise Automate is a systems management platform that combines infrastructure monitoring with automation capabilities. ConnectWise Automate automatically discovers devices so they can be monitored. There are remote control sessions so you can automatically record remote sessions to monitor user activity and comply with auditing requirements.
ConnectWise Automate has an alerts system so that you receive notifications about performance issues and security events. Notifications ensure that you never miss any vulnerabilities or other issues that could affect your network.
Systems patching is one of the most useful features included with ConnectWise Automate. With the patching feature, you can patch Windows devices remotely. Patching devices remotely make your IT management process more efficient.
ConnectWise Automate is a platform designed for environments where administrators seek to automate network monitoring tasks and reduce manual administration. To view the price for ConnectWise Automate you will have to contact the company directly. You can download the free trial.
WhatsUp Gold is a performance monitor available on-premises and in the cloud. WhatsUp Gold automatically discovers your entire network and plots it on a virtual map. From the map, you can see how physical devices and virtual machines connect to each other throughout your network.
You can monitor your network through the dashboard. The dashboard is customizable, with the option to have different displays for different users. From the dashboard, you can view performance metrics, graphs, and charts.
Customizable notifications allow you to keep track of performance issues as they occur. The tool sends notifications through SMS, email, Slack, IFTTT posts, or web alarms to tell you about emerging events. There are also automated responses such as service restarts so the system can start the troubleshooting process for you.
WhatsUp Gold is ideal for those enterprises who need a complete and accessible network monitoring solution (there is even a mobile app for iOS and Android where you can monitor performance away from your desk!). The software can be purchased as an annual subscription or a perpetual license, but you’ll have to request a quote from the company directly. You can download the free trial.
Choosing a systems management tool
Centralizing the management of IT assets makes it easier to stay productive. Maintaining your infrastructure helps to mitigate security and performance concerns so that your employees can work freely without being held back by downtime or sluggish performance.
Choosing the right systems management tool can be the difference between a normal productive day at the office or going back to the dark ages! All of the tools listed in this article are suitable for system management in modern IT environments.
If you’re looking for complete systems management packages, then the SolarWinds System Management Bundle or Paessler PRTG Network Monitor are great starting points. The latter would also work well in environments that desire a freeware product. If you want to go the open-source route then Zabbix is another excellent unified monitoring solution.