Internet has become a critical component of businesses today. Irrespective of the nature of a business, be it offline or online-based, internet has become a crucial tool to nurture collaboration, access resources and streamline workflow across departments. As a result, monitoring the status of internet network has become a pivotal component of a company’s daily functioning. To effectively manage entire networks, companies can use a free network monitoring software to detect threats, leaks and issues.
A network monitoring software is used by IT teams to supervise a computer network & identify issues. The software can detect changes in server performance and notify users of the same. It offers an in-depth view and analytical insight into a network’s real-time status on a centralised dashboard, which helps in preventing network delays and downtime.
Not every company has the requirement or financial capability to purchase a network monitoring software. If your company has 10 employees, it makes more sense to opt for a free/open source network monitoring software.
List of 6 Best Open Source & Free Network Monitoring Software
Nagios is an open source & free network monitoring application which monitors network systems, and entire infrastructures. It’s a solution which monitors servers, switches & applications and, and alerts users in case of network changes or threats. Originally called NetSaint, Nagios was originally designed for Linux servers, but has since been programmed to run across platforms.
Nagios can be integrated with other third-party platforms at your company. Integration capability allows you to expand on its benefits and use it to its full potential. Since Nagios is open source, users are free to make adjustments & changes, as per their network requirement.
The only downside to Nagios is that upon increasing the host number in a network, updates take longer, leading to system delay. Additionally, Nagios is best utilised by someone with coding experience, as a layman would face challenges while installing & using the application in its raw form.
Why Should You Use It: Nagios is an excellent tool for companies to manage their network thoroughly. It allows users to stay aware of each network component’s status, whether it’s active, malfunctioning or shut down. Nagios comes with different types of alerts which informs users of various failures within the network. This allows users to identify and solve issues quickly.
2. Spiceworks Network Monitor
Spiceworks Network Monitor is a free software that allows system admins to monitor network devices through a centralised dashboard. With Spiceworks Network Monitor, users can stay vigilant about device and server performance, including SNMP-enabled devices such as switches & routers. Aside from network monitoring, the software also comes with free IT management tools and has over six million IT admins and developers in its network.
Spiceworks assures that users will have total visibility over their IT network, so issues can be identified and resolved quicker. Email alerts are sent by the software in case of issues & problem, for quick resolution.
On the downside, Spiceworks works on Windows servers only. If you use a different operating server, you won’t be able to use Spiceworks. Also, Spiceworks features ads so it might be distracting for some users.
Why Should You Use It: Spiceworks doesn’t limit the number of devices that can be monitored within a network. There isn’t a limit to the number of users that can access the tool either. Additionally, Spiceworks offers free help desk & phone support, as well as, access to the Spiceworks community forum. Spiceworks Network Monitor can be used to monitor servers, SNMP devices, switches, and services. Lastly, users can also connect this solution to other free tools like Blacklist Checker, Connectivity Dashboard and IP Lookup, to improve efficiency and functionality.
Zenoss is a network monitoring platform which is used by enterprises to effectively monitor every component of a network, including storage, compute, network, converged infrastructure, and unified communications systems. Zenoss gives customers the ability to gain insights on IT performance and to map out their IT ecosystem using real-time analytics.
Zenoss can only work for users with up to 1,000 functioning devices. For those needing more, Zenoss offers a paid version with added features.
Why Should You Use It: Zenoss provides users a centralised dashboard which allows IT administrators to easily monitor availability, configuration, inventory, performance, and events. With Zenoss, customers can readily adapt to constantly changing data centres and infrastructures, thus allowing them to eliminate issues and accelerate business outcomes.
4. Observium Community
Observium is a network monitoring platform which provides administrative support for a range of devices, platforms, servers and operating systems. Observium works on operating systems powered by Cisco, Linux, Windows, HP, Dell, Juniper, FreeBSD, Netscaler, Brocade, NetApp and more. With this tool, users get a powerful yet intuitive interface to assess the health and working status of their IT network.
Observium is very low-maintenance and comes with auto-discovering capabilities. Every six months, software updates are deployed to fix patches & commonly reported problems. Observium also comes with a paid edition, which means that certain key features are missing from its free version. Real time software updates, support, traffic accounting system and an alerting system, are some of the features that are missing from Observium’s free version.
Why Should You Use It: Observium can be used by users to map out their entire IT networks using discovery protocols. This is particularly easy as Observium Community is capable of automatically recognising hundreds of devices. Observium network monitoring tool is best suited for small companies or by companies with non-critical IT assets & networks.
5. Icinga 2
Icinga 2 is an open source free network monitoring solution which tracks the performance of your network resources, informs users in case of outages and, auto-generates reports highlighting performance data. It uses both MySQL and PostgreSQL and is also Nagios backwards compatible.
Icinga 2 is highly scalable, extensible and can fit into any company’s IT infrastructure. The solution is capable of monitoring large, complex network environments that are spread across multiple locations.
Because it’s open source, it’s advised to have it accessed by someone with coding experience. Such a person can access the software & customise it to its full capability.
Why Should You Use It: What makes Icinga a very suitable network monitoring tool is that the interface is constantly being updated by the developers. Icinga 2 comes with a configuration format which is highly intuitive to write, executes effectively and can easily adjust to your company’s changing & developing network environment. This makes it a highly user-friendly solution for IT admins and teams.
Zabbix is a free open source network monitoring solution that can be used to keep an eye on IT networks, virtual machines (VMs), servers, and cloud services. Zabbix gives users discernible metrics to properly monitor network components including utilisation, CPU load and disk space consumption. Its monitoring capability can be configured using XML based templates that contain the elements which help with effective monitoring.
Zabbix supports devices running on Linux, Mac OS X, Hewlett Packard Unix (HP-UX), Solaris and other operating systems. Monitoring Windows powered components is possible using Zabbix Agent. An added disadvantage is that it’s a software made for enterprise-level organisations so small companies can’t use Zabbix to its full potential.
Why Should You Use It: Zabbix is capable of using MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, SQLite, IBM DB2 or Oracle to store data. While Zabbix has been developed for enterprise-level businesses, it offers high scalability and can easily process over 3,000,000 checks per minute. It does so by using mid-range hardware and by collecting gigabytes of historical data regularly.
Get any of these six free network monitoring software and effectively manage your IT ecosystem & configure it to perform at full throttle. If you think that we missed an important free network management application, how about letting us know in the comments below?