Automate your network monitoring with one of these comprehensive products
When I first installed ipMonitor, I found the UI—which Figure 3 shows—confusing. For some reason, it took me forever to find the setting for how often the product would check individual system monitors (which turned out to be every 300 seconds). However, after using ipMonitor for several weeks, I found it to be extremely easy to use, offering enough monitoring options to keep a good eye on the network. With ipMonitor, you can adjust the default scan so that any service or performance option will always be selected in future scans. In addition to the expected (and previously mentioned) monitors, ipMonitor offers a Windows event log monitor that you can configure to check for events that you want to be alerted about.
On the downside, ipMonitor doesn't contain any type of alert tracking/assignment system. If you have only one network administrator, this should be no big deal, but larger IT departments will probably find that the inability to acknowledge/assign/clear alerts is a problem. Unless the administrators remember to communicate outside the system, multiple administrators could receive the same alert and start working on the same problem. Perhaps devising an agreed-upon way of responding—for example, if you get the alert, it's your responsibility to take care of it, or dividing up the network devices so there's no question about who should respond—would do enough to prevent this situation.
I've just made my decision about which of the three products will best suit my environment. I'm going with ManageEngine OpManager, licensed for 50 devices, for a few reasons. First and foremost, I want to be able to monitor as many aspects of our environment as possible because I realize it's the best way to avoid unexpected outages. OpManager definitely offers the most breadth in this area. The second reason is budget. I’ll continue to use our existing up-or-down monitoring tools for our workstations and printers, so I can avoid paying for the additional licensing. Third, I really like the way the people at ManageEngine have designed OpManager to take advantage of new technology, and I feel it's worth paying the annual service and support fee to get the updates as this product develops.
Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold Premium
Pros: Provides the most accurate information of all three products; lets you create custom monitors; offers comprehensive VMware monitoring tools, integrates with AD
Cons: Not as many built-in monitors as the other products; more expensive than the other two products (until you get up to 500 nodes)
Rating: 4.5 of 5
Price: $7495 for 500 devices, $2,695 for 100 devices; $2,195 for 25 devices
Recommendation: For IT shops that have a large VMware installation or a desire to create their own monitors
Contact: Ipswitch • www.ipswitch.com • 800-793-4825 or 781-676-5700
ManageEngine OpManager Professional
Pros: Best overall UI; more built-in monitors than the other two products; lowest pricing for 50 or fewer nodes
Cons: Didn't monitor all devices accurately in my tests, so it might require some troubleshooting to get it completely functional
Rating: 4.5 of 5
Price: $7194 for 500 devices, $2394 for 100 devices; $1194 for 50 devices; $714 for 25 devices
Recommendation: IT shops looking for the maximum amount of built-in functionality (with the exception of AD integration) will appreciate OpManager Professional. In the 26- to 50-device range, it's about half the price of the other two products.
Contact: ManageEngine • www.manageengine.com • 888-720-9500 or 925-924-9500
Pros: Unlimited devices at a very low price; easy to use
Cons: No multiple administrator communication mechanism
Rating: 4.0 of 5
Price: $1,995 for unlimited devices (25 monitors free)
Recommendation: If you're on a tight budget and you need to monitor a lot of devices, or if your monitoring needs aren't terribly complex and you're OK using an outside-the-system way of communicating between administrators, SolarWinds is for you.