The problem is that we are spoilt for choice! My requirements are pretty basic, yet making a decision and wading through all the information/trialling etc was proving quite a challenge!

The feature set I’m looking for is pretty basic;

  • connectivity (probably through ping)
  • network throughput/bandwidth usage
  • website availability
  • sql server availability
  • disk space
  • cpu utilisation
  • disk queue length

The number of monitors/sensors/servers initially will be quite low, but i’m always nervous about purchasing something which is going to end up costing me substantial amounts if/when it needs expanding (always prefer unlimited licenses!).

And perhaps most importantly, I was really hoping to find something which sites on top of a Microsoft SQL Server backend database. This will make ad-hoc queries much simpler and allow me to pull data into existing SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports.

  • The top players in the industry appear to be Whatsup Gold & IPMonitor, both of them hold a pretty hefty price tag.
  • We then have a few big players with no price tag… Spiceworks & Nagios. I’ve used Spiceworks before, and find it too bloated (it does everything OK, but nothing very well… not to mention the adverts. Nagios sounds quite complex to get up and running, although a potential contender.
  • ServersAlive looked like an option with a very reasonable price tag. Although it doesn’t directly support a SQL Server backend, it does support the logging of “state changes” to SQL Server. Unfortunately the software looks incredibly dated- i’m not too sure it’s being actively maintained/developed.

And none of these use SQL Server as a backend database. Maybe I should just build something myself… my requirements are pretty basic… Luckily before making a purchase or starting to roll my own, i found this page on wikipedia;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_network_monitoring_systems

I took a quick look at the website for each tool listed as supporting MS SQL Server backend db and quickly found myself down to NetXMS (http://www.netxms.org/).

I installed the server along with a linux and windows agent (fairly effortless) and it’s all looking rather promising. I’ve started by setting up a few basic monitors and will hopefully find time over the coming weeks to add;

  • Additional monitors
  • Alerts
  • Poke around in the database (pull some data into SSRS)
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