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I would like to have a real time visual status screen displaying the current CPU usage (and possibly memory consumption) for a number of remote machines. These machines will be reachable only using TCP (not UDP etc) and the graphical client will need to run on Windows. Does anyone know of such a tool?

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"Real-time" is tricky. It will cause a substantial amount of network traffic and will require a very high-end collection server. Typically, stats like this are sampled at 5 minute intervals. Is this good enough for you or do you really need real-time? – MDMarra Oct 8 '12 at 15:54
@MDMarra, I do not need hard real time, if I could get a 1 minute average I would be happy. – SoftMemes Oct 8 '12 at 15:55
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Cacti, Opsview, SCOM, and plenty of other pieces of monitoring software can do this and will display the results in a web browser or Windows console. Keep in mind that even at 1 minute sample intervals, you'll be creating a lot of traffic and causing additional load processing the SNMP/WMI requests on the boxes being monitored. The "standard" value for samples like this are 5 minutes. You can absolutely set them to be more frequent, but be cautious.

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Thank you. Can you recommend a product that is free and easy to set up? I'm looking at doing this for, initially, only a couple of boxes. – SoftMemes Oct 8 '12 at 16:23
Both Opsview and Cacti are free. "Easy" is a relative term. I didn't find Cacti hard to set up, but I could imagine someone that's not comfortable in Linux or with SNMP might. Just read the install guides for a few products. You should get a feel pretty quickly. Also, this is pretty quickly turning into a "shopping" question, which is outside of the scope of Server Fault. Take a look at the faq if you're unsure. – MDMarra Oct 8 '12 at 16:27

You might look into nagios (there is both a free and paid support versions).

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You can try to use Nagios. If you need notification when a some service or host become unavailable i think that Nagios is best solutions.

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If the collection server is Windows you can also look at Spiceworks. Also free.

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