Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm looking for a free or inexpensive Windows-based network monitoring tool for a small network. I'm familiar with Nagios, but we run a Windows-only shop and I don't want one oddball Linux machine to worry about. What options do I have?

(Note: I read this question, but I'm specifically looking for Windows software)

share

locked by Iain Aug 22 '12 at 8:25

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: help center.

    
Yeah... I know... you want Windows. I'm assuming that even a Linux VM is out of the question. What about one of the monitoring appliances? I think some companies make a Nagios appliance... On a side-note, I'm a Linux admin, but my group also runs a bunch of Windows servers, and even a few Mac Xserves and a few Solaris boxes. Just because your company designs and manufactures screwdrivers, and you have a million in stock, doesn't mean you should use one to put a nail in the wall. –  Jason Antman Jan 28 '11 at 2:49

17 Answers 17

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Try,

spiceworks

it's a web based 'free' network monitoring solution, i've used it before, it's quite good for some small business scenario.

share
    
+1 Spiceworks is great. –  Andy May May 29 '09 at 14:22
    
It's not perfect, but beggars can't be choosers. Thanks! –  user640 Jun 4 '09 at 15:03
    
SpiceWorks is both amazing for a Windows environment general reporting and monitoring tool but will also give you an integrated helpdesk and access to an amazing community of professionals in similar environments on which you can draw for additional assistance both with SpiceWorks and with IT in general! –  Scott Alan Miller Jun 6 '09 at 18:09
    
+1 Spiceworks, but many of the commented below are very good too. –  Carlos Nov 30 '10 at 10:48

I recomend trying the ManageEngine product line. There are full featured free version that cover small networks.

share
    
OpManager has a free edition which can monitor up to 10 devices. –  Cypher Jan 28 '11 at 2:58

You could try "The Dude"

It'll auto discover all your devices and monitor them as well.

http://www.mikrotik.com/thedude.php

It's just the name ...

share
    
+1 for "The Dude" if you are looking for something along the lines of "WhatsUp Gold" and don't want to be bothered with web servers and java. –  Peter May 29 '09 at 15:13
    
It can simply monitor if http is responding. –  Tubs Jun 3 '09 at 7:36

Microsoft Network Monitor is a free download. Try http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=983b941d-06cb-4658-b7f6-3088333d062f

JR

share
1  
I think the OP means something to monitor server availability rather than traffic analysis. –  Martin Rennix May 29 '09 at 14:40

I'm a fan of Hyperic HQ - the agent is Java based so it runs on many different platforms. The server runs on Windows with a MySQL database.

share

One of the best I've used is PRTG from Paessler. It is relatively cheap for a small number of servers. They charge based on the number of things being monitored (ping, free disk, cpu load etc). It's completely web-based and no agents are required. It comes with a load of predefined WMI queries and of course you can define your own (they supply templates you can modify). Plenty of charting and reporting available to impress management.

share

I like IPMonitor, it's cheap and you can monitor servers, switches, SMTP, any service or event and you can build dependancies so you won't get alerted by a hundred servers if it's just a switch that is down between your server with IPMonitor and the other servers.

share
    
SolarWinds or DeepMetrix? It looks like SW took up the name after MS bought DM (sad times). I ask because we're using DM and it's going to be time to switch soon.. –  Kara Marfia May 29 '09 at 15:07
1  
solarwinds, we've used it since sometime in early 2005 and for the price I haven't seen anything better. –  Rey May 29 '09 at 15:18

We run Cacti on a Windows XP machine.(virtual) It works great, and we haven't had much problems with it.

Screenshot of our main internet connection.

alt text

share

Personally, I've used IPMonitor (new user, can't Link yet) (It was it's own company, got bought by SolarWinds some time ago). I've also heard of Nagios (can't link yet) depending on what OS you use and how ninja you are with *nix and open source.

IP Monitor is pretty straightforward, offers logging and historical reporting, and even does things like remote restarts, etc. I manage a MESH Network, and it's pretty handy for keeping track of remote routers and backhaul links. The number of red cells (downed nodes) generally is a pretty good forecast of the quality of my day! :)

share

One thing to be aware of, is that three years after Vista and two years after Server 2008 came out, many system admin programs, including network monitors, don't work properly under the new security environment introduced by both OS's. This is known as the "Session 0 Problem" and it afflicts Windows programs that run as a service (many, many admin programs!)

I have to abandon a program I love for the poster's problem (and mine)--Servers Alive--since the current version has the "Session 0 Problem" and the developer doesn't know when the next version will be out.

My shop is a non-profit org for whom $1200, let alone the $10,000 for Orion, is very high for what it needs to do (essentially page me when something goes down.) Linux is the odd OS out for me.

If a vendor can't assure me that they've fixed the Session 0 Problem and made it fully compatible with Windows 2008 (R2), we're not going to put forth the money. That makes it especially hard to find a good program.

share

We use What's Up Gold (WUG) for internally and to monitor our clients sites. It's not free, but it's relatively inexpensive (I think about $1200), easy to set up, and monitors just about everything, disk space, CPU load, etc. With a little scripting we monitor connections to outside services such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Works for us.

share

Try ServerAssist (www.serverassist.com). It does agent-based and agentless monitoring of Windows and Linux machines, and is Windows-based itself.

share

IPSentry is another small, inexpensive but effective tool. I'm using it and it's pretty easy to configure.

share

We run GFI Network server monitor and have been pretty happy with it's results. Although to warn you they recently changed their pricing model so it may be a little more expensive than it used to be.

share

For more HTTP-specific monitoring and investigation, Fiddler2 is definitely worth a look!

share

My suggestions: 1. OpenDNS, you only need to redirect your DNS server to a OpenDNS server to enable filtering. It is free, however, you can only have one policy for the whole network.

  1. Untangle, basic web filtering is free. If you have a spare computer with two nic cards and a little bit of time after hours (this computer needs to sit between your firewall and your internet router/connection ) I would suggest trying this product: http://www.untangle.com/

  2. WFilter Enterprise, a windows internet filtering program with rich feature at an affordable price, it enables you to monitor and filter most internet usage from a mirroring port of your switch. It is very simple to setup when you have a manageable switch.

I recommend WFilter.

share

Total Network Monitor fits the bill quite nicely. It's shareware.

share