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Well, we had "What tool do you use to monitor your servers?", and I wondered, do you (and should you) monitor your clients (desktops and laptops)? What tools are useful for this?

It seems to me that one should monitor the clients -- to guage how well they are performing, perhaps to keep an eye on battery life and power usage, perhaps watching hard drive, network, CPU and maybe even GPU usage, and, indeed, to see if lab users avoid a certain machine or if it never shows up on the network.

Please state which platform(s) a given tool works with, and the licence or cost, if it is easily determined.

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just make sure to ignore all the warning about devices becoming unavailable because they're powered-off :) – warren Nov 2 '09 at 10:36

We use ZABBIX to monitor 10 servers and 100 clients.

ZABBIX is an enterprise-class open source distributed monitoring solution.
ZABBIX is software for monitoring of your applications, network and servers.

You can monitor things like bandwidth, cpu usage, total memory, free memory, number of processes, free space on the hdd, uptime, etc. It has some very good templates for monitoring Exchange, SQL, Linux.

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Interesting. I was just setting up a Zabbix server. Do you monitor laptops with it, too? – Clinton Blackmore Jun 9 '09 at 21:44
Yes. I monitor Desktops, Laptops, Servers (Windows, Linux). There is an option Auto-discovery for a certain IP range. It works really well. – Jindrich Jun 9 '09 at 21:58

You might want to look at an 'Asset Management Tool' that usually delivers the services of monitoring client's software/hardware. There are a few posts about these kinds of solutions:

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Munin. If it's good enough for the servers, it's good enough for the workstations. :) As far as I'm aware it's Linux only, but I can't see why you couldn't write a Windows version. It's free, which is nice.

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I use Zenoss Core to monitor network equipment and Windows/Linux VMs via SNMP

Open source, the enterprise level is probably pretty costly. Anything that your SNMP agent will send it will pick up.

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We use Pandora FMS, very flexible albeit a little confusing to start off with but setup was easy, looks pretty (always a bonus) and it's open source + free.. runs on MySQL DB so stats can be easily generated if the built in report generators don't suffice

And has good ACL support

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We use well-known reliable combination of Nagios and Ganglia Monitoring System. each one has modules to check CPU load, temperature, disk usage, network activity (ethernet or ib), and even GPU load/temp.

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Splunk with proper apps. very flexible and powerful

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Spiceworks is pretty good. It had some performance issues in the past but the tool set is pretty solid for most things.

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I use Nagios for alerts (with a custom plugin which also sends alerts via XMPP / GoogleTalk)

For monitoring of system load/cpu etc I use cacti. Once set up, its very good and robust, but the cactii web gui is very confusing at first.

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