As an IT manager, you’re all too aware of those frantic 8 AM texts and phone calls telling you something’s broken.
And there’s almost nothing worse than that sinking feeling of knowing the entire office is waiting on you to wave your magic wand to fix it.
Thankfully, you already know there’s a better way to stay on top of your network’s overall health. Complete with system alerts to let you know when and why things are about to go haywire… included.
However, choosing the best network monitoring software is much easier said than done. And as an IT specialist, you’re no stranger to doing your research before you invest.
Especially when you’re investing your boss’s money.
So, to help make the decision easier, we reviewed eight of the top network monitoring tools depending on what you need as well as what to consider when making your final decision.
The Best Network Monitoring Options to Consider:
- Datadog – Best overall network monitoring software
- Nagios – Best open-source network monitoring
- Icinga – Best for small to midsize businesses
- ITRS OP5 – Best for hybrid enterprise networks
- Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard – Best free network monitoring
- Vallum Halo Manager – Best network monitoring equipment
- NetCrunch by AdRem – Best visual network monitoring software
- Ninja RMM – Best for remote network monitoring
#1 – Datadog Review — Best Overall Network Monitoring Software
Datadog is a cloud monitoring and security solution, making it easy to deploy from anywhere. You can use it inside of any stack or app, small or large, at scale.
The software is trusted by thousands of customers worldwide, including some well-known brands like Samsung, Whole Foods, Peloton, and 21st Century Fox.
Datadog has a wide range of network monitoring tools and benefits to accommodate various use cases. Use it to monitor traffic between your services, containers, availability zones, and more. With just a few clicks, you can analyze your network health using volume, latency metrics, and errors.
In addition to the monitoring capabilities, Datadog doubles as an all-in-one troubleshooting platform. You can debug faulty communication logs, identify issues between networks, infrastructure, or applications.
For businesses running hybrid environments, Datadog allows you to unify your cloud and on-premises network monitoring from a single source of truth. In addition to live network monitoring, you’ll also benefit from mapping tools and an in-depth analysis of your network.
Datadog quickly integrates with 400+ applications. It’s lightweight and easy to onboard.
Network performance monitoring starts at $5 per month, and network device monitoring starts at $7 per device per month. Datadog has other plans for things like serverless monitoring, APM, log management, infrastructure, security, and more.
Try Datadog free for 14 days.
#2 – Nagios Review — Best Open Source Network Monitoring
Nagios is an enterprise-grade solution for network monitoring, server monitoring, application monitoring, and IT infrastructure monitoring. It can also be leveraged for log monitoring and SNMP monitoring.
As an open-source software, Nagios is always improving thanks to its massive community of contributors and supporters. Millions of users across the globe trust Nagios, and there are thousands of plugins, add-ons, and extensions that are constantly growing.
Nagios has hundreds of solutions and tools available, depending on the needs and challenges faced by your business.
Nagios XI is one of the most popular products offered by this provider. It’s a central solution for network monitoring, log monitoring, and application monitoring. The software is highly customizable and provides full visibility into your IT operations and network processes. It has an integrated web-based interface, making it easy for anyone to use.
With Nagios, you can monitor routers, switches, network performance, uptime, availability, traffic, and more.
Nagios XI starts at $1,995 for a standard license. Try it free for 30 days.
#3 – Icinga Review — The Best For SMB Network Monitoring
Icinga is a top solution for any business that wants a simple way to monitor network availability and performance. The software gives you access to the most relevant information and alerts you if there’s a problem.
The software is robust enough to monitor any host, application, data center, or cloud networks.
Icinga is safe, secure, simple to configure, and easily adapts with your existing DevOps tools. This allows you to create a custom monitoring solution designed to fit your specific needs.
There are plenty of modules and tools for you to choose from, depending on what components of your network need to be monitored. From host systems and virtual machines to certificate monitoring and business process monitoring, Icinga has it all.
It’s not quite as in-depth and advanced as some of the other tools on our list. But it’s still an excellent choice for SMBs.
Try Icinga free for 30 days.
#4 – ITRS OP5 Review — Best For Hybrid Enterprise Networks
ITRS OP5 is a fully scalable and highly customizable monitoring solution designed for hybrid enterprise environments. You can use this tool to monitor networks, servers, and storage, both on-premises or in the cloud.
200,000+ IT professionals trust ITRS OP5. It’s commonly used in industries like telecommunications, entertainment, media, and gaming.
The software provides a unified view of thousands of devices and interfaces in your network from a single source of truth. It’s easy to inspect any element to see what’s happening within your network at a given time.
Top features and benefits of ITRS OP5 include:
- SNMP monitoring
- Network visualization
- Business service management
- Event correlation
- REST API
- Performance monitoring
- Network performance reporting
- Web-based configuration and mobile app
If you have a large-scale hybrid network, ITRS OP5 will be the best solution for your business. Request a demo and try it free for 30 days with unlimited devices.
#5 – Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard Review — Best Free Network Monitoring Tool
With the Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard you can monitor real-time connectivity between your IT infrastructure, remote sites, and business-critical sites.
It’s a free tool that makes it easy to troubleshoot and identify problems with your internal network, ISP, or web applications.
The software will notify you with alerts in real-time if your remote sites are unable to reach websites or infrastructure devices.
Spiceworks Connectivity Dashboard also makes it easy to monitor the end-user experience by identifying slow applications and downtime on a visual interference. It’s simple; if the cell pattern turns orange, the apps are slow. If the cell pattern turns red, they’re down.
The tool also comes fully integrated with other Spiceworks tools, like the cloud help desk and inventory solutions.
It’s easy to deploy, and best of all—it’s free.
#6 – Vallum Halo Manager Review — Best For Monitoring Network Equipment
Vallum Halo Manager is a fully customizable network monitoring tool. It’s easy to deploy without a central server or third-party database installation.
It runs using a decentralized architectural approach, making it a bit unique compared to other platforms on our list. But this methodology makes it easy to scale.
Use Vallum Halo software to monitor network equipment like servers, databases, applications, workstations, and more. This will give you insight into the availability and complete health of your network equipment.
Everything from device availability to IP address availability, CPU and memory load, disk capacity, and system processes can be monitored with this software.
Vallum Halo Manager is 100% free to use for up to 15 devices. If you have more than 15, it’s just $5 per month per device.
#7 – NetCrunch by AdRem Review — Best Visual Network Monitoring Software
NetCrunch makes it easy to monitor your network and total IT infrastructure with simple visualization tools. You’ll benefit from maps and dashboards that are easy to configure.
If you don’t want to navigate through complex reports and data to understand your network performance, NetCrunch by AdRem will be a top choice for you to consider.
For such a simple solution, the software is completely customizable. You’ll benefit from agentless monitoring, alerts, and a policy-based configuration.
With NetCrunch, you can install and configure the software in just a few minutes. There’s no complex onboarding process, so you can start gaining insight into your network immediately.
There are a wide range of solutions for you to choose from. NetCrunch has tools for network infrastructure, SNMP devices, and performance monitoring. You can also choose the monitoring suite, which is an all-in-one package that includes everything the software has to offer.
Request a quote online and start your 30-day free trial.
#8 – Ninja RMM Review — Best For Remote Network Monitoring
Ninja RMM is a complete solution for remote monitoring. It’s trusted by 4,000+ IT professionals and MSPs (managed service providers) across the globe.
The software is great for those of you who need a quick, simple, and effective solution for IT management.
With Ninja RMM, you’ll benefit from network monitoring and management for devices like routers, switches, firewalls, printers, and more. The software also has endpoint management tools for servers, workstations, and laptops. It has features for IT automation, scripting, alerting, virtual machine management, patch management, asset management, credential exchange, and more.
Ninja RMM has built-in remote access functionality, making it easy for you to take control over your endpoints from anywhere.
For IT pros and MSPs alike, Ninja RMM will be a top choice to consider. Contact their team to request a free quote.
When Does It Make Sense to Invest In Network Monitoring Software?
Any business with network components should be investing in monitoring software. These tools will ultimately become the first line of defense when network performance declines or applications go down.
There are lots of different network monitoring tools with functionalities for varying use cases.
Overall, the solution will provide you with the full health and visibility of your network and any devices on that network.
In many cases, network monitoring tools are designed for larger businesses, SMBs, and enterprises. But even small businesses can benefit from IT network monitoring. All managed service providers (MSPs) definitely need network monitoring software.
It’s too early to invest in network monitoring if you don’t have any critical devices on your network. If you can afford some outages, downtime, or poor network performance, then you don’t necessarily need the software. You can always wait for a problem to occur, and repair it after the fact.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Network Monitoring Software
Choosing the right network monitoring software for your business can be challenging—there are so many factors that must be taken into consideration as you’re shopping around. Fortunately for you, we’ve simplified this process by identifying what you need to keep an eye on as you’re evaluating potential solutions.
Follow the methodology that I’ve outlined below, and weight these elements according to your personal needs.
It’s rare to find two organizations with identical network monitoring needs. Even across similar business sizes and industries, each organization will have slightly different problems or challenges that must be addressed.
Look for a network monitoring tool that allows you to customize your dashboard, policy rules, and everything else required to run a robust network and IT infrastructure.
How will you know if a network component is running slowly? When will you find out if an application is down?
Make sure the software has alerting functionality. Without it, you’ll have to identify problems on your own (which is nearly impossible to do at scale). The best network monitoring software will alert you before an issue occurs so you can prevent problems from happening ahead of time.
Identifying a problem with your network or endpoint within your network is only half of the battle. You need to be able to fix that problem as well.
Try to find a solution with built-in troubleshooting functionality. Managed service providers and IT managers typically like to have a remote monitoring solution, as these will come with remote access tools for troubleshooting.
Network monitoring is a broad term. It encompasses a wide range of potential devices or components that need to be managed.
There are certain software solutions that are designed for server monitoring, while others are better for virtual machines and applications. So it’s important to have a firm grasp on what you need to monitor and manage as you’re shopping around.
Businesses that need to monitor servers in a hybrid enterprise environment won’t necessarily be using the same software as an SMB that needs to monitor workstations and printers.
What’s the best network monitoring software on the market today? We recommend Datadog. It’s flexible enough to accommodate the needs of most businesses.
However, Datadog isn’t for everyone. Make sure you follow the methodology described above as you’re shopping around. Consider the recommended use cases highlighted for each review in this guide as well.
This will help you find the best network monitoring solution for your business.