The IT department has been growing over the last few years and we are to the point where we need to get some software to capture and report information from the computers, servers, managed switches and routers.

Approximate # of devices:

  • Servers 10
  • Workstations 150
  • Routers 7
  • Managed switches 15
  • non-managed switches 5

Items that we would like to capture:

  • Network Performance Monitoring
  • Bandwidth Guage
  • SMNP Real-Time Graphing
  • Real-Time Interface Monitoring
  • Mapping of network
  • Auto detection of changes in hardware (Routers, switches, workstations)
  • Inventory management (Hardware & software reports)
  • It also acts as a management tool to remotely view a workstation

We have a mix of Adtran and Cisco devices in our network. Budget is about $5000 and we want to make the best use of the money.


We are currently evaluating Orion NPM from SolarWinds.

Orion NPM Highlights:

  • Monitors and analyzes real-time, in-depth, network performance statistics for routers, switches, wireless access points, servers, and any other SNMP-enabled devices
  • Simplifies network issue investigation with drill down maps and Top 10 views of your global network
  • Gets you up and running in less than an hour with do-it-yourself deployment
  • Scales to accommodate growth and management needs with a hot standby engine, multiple polling engines, and additional web servers
  • Enables advanced alerting for correlated events, sustained conditions, and complex combinations of device states
  • Monitors the energy consumption of Cisco® EnergyWise-enabled network devices and displays policies that regulate energy consumption
  • Extends management capabilities to NetFlow traffic analysis, VoIP monitoring, IP address management, network configuration management, and application and server performance

I use ipMonitor from Solarwinds.
Excellent product for smaller budgets. The interface is beautifully layed out, and reporting is solid.


"OpenNMS" is the best tool to work and its free


Admin Arsenal can take care of the remote management and inventory collection. It's free to try and would only take a bit out of your $5,000 leaving you with a healthy balance to get your network management/monitoring tool. It also provides software deployment and server monitoring.

With your budget you're pretty much out of contention with CA-Unicenter or HP Openview, though there are a number of opensource network management tools out there.

Hope that this helps.


SpiceWorks, WhatsUpGold, and Solarwinds NPM tend to be popular choices, and are nicely packaged and pretty reasonably priced (SpiceWorks is free). SpiceWorks has good inventory management, SolarWinds has some nice add-ins for the core package like NetFlow analysers, Wireless AP monitors etc that you can use to extend the monitoring capabilities as/when you need it. Check out their online demo.

You can go with the OpenSource offerings like OpenNMS, MRTG etc etc, but these sometimes can be a bit more fiddly to get up and running.

If you're after Windows Server and desktop monitoring, System Center Essentials is pretty good for smaller shops with less then 30 servers, but not strong on the SNMP bandwidth monitoring side.


Nagios will also do, one of the best monitoring tools that runs on linux and has beautiful scalability options. Try it you may like it!

* Network Performance Monitoring
* SMNP Real-Time Graphing
* Real-Time Interface Monitoring
* Bandwidth Guage  
answer: polymon.codeplex.org see also polymonrt.codeplex.org  Edit Note:I can now display solarwinds style utilization guages using Polymon and PolymonRT.  Will post howto later today.

* Inventory management (Hardware & software reports)
* It also acts as a management tool to remotely view a workstation
answer:  OCS Inventory NG with UltraVNC integrated

* Mapping of network
answer:  The Dude  http://www.mikrotik.com/thedude.php

* Auto detection of changes in hardware (Routers, switches, workstations)
answer:  OCS Inventory for workstations, ??? for routers/switches

Note that Zabbix is a network/system monitoring system that has the network map view integrated. You might check it out as well.


You might want to look at something like HP OpenView or CA's Unicentre.

You might find OpenNMS does what you're looking for and is free, but will have a steep learning curve, which may turn out more expensive in the short term.

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