Irrespective of the nature of 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 the entire network, companies can use a free network monitoring software for Windows or Linux to detect threats, leaks and issues.
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.
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List of 10 Best Free Open Source Network Monitoring Tools
- Spiceworks Network Monitor
- Observium Community
- Icinga 2
- Pandora FMS
With numerous free and open source network management tools available in the market, it might be difficult to choose the one that suits your business requirements. Therefor we present a list of ten best Free Open Source Network Monitoring Tools in the market:
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 IT infrastructure monitoring 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.
Nagios Monitoring Software USP
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.
Features of Nagios Monitoring Software:
- 1. Network Management
- 2. Host Monitoring
- 3. Open Source Plugin
- 4. Reports
- 5. Live Network Status
- 6. Contact notification
- 7. Parallelised Service Checks
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.
Spiceworks Network Monitor USP
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.
Features of Spiceworks Network Monitor:
- 1. IT Management
- 2. Customised Access
- 3. Application Performance Management
- 4. Service/Contract management
- 5. Network Security
- 6. Troubleshooting
- 7. Alerts
- 8. Diagnostic Tools
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 Intelligent Application and Service Monitoring 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.
With Zenoss, customers can readily adapt to constantly changing data centres and infrastructures, thus allowing them to eliminate issues and accelerate business outcomes.
Features of Zenoss:
- 1. IT Services
- 2. Network Monitoring
- 3. Server Monitoring
- 4. Storage Monitoring
- 5. Application Monitoring
- 6. Cloud Monitoring
- 7. Converged Infrastructure
- 8. Virtualization
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.
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.
Features of Observium Software:
- 1. Auto-Discovery
- 2. Extensive Device Support
- 3. Multi-Platform
- 4. Threshold Alerting
- 5. Traffic Accounting
- 6. Independent Polls
- 7. Stores Measurements
- 8. Bypass Round-Robin Limitations
- 9. External Integration
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.
Icinga 2 USP
What makes Icinga 2 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.
Features of Icinga 2:
- 1. REST API
- 2. Graylog Integration
- 3. OpenTSDB Writer
- 4. IDO Database (DB IDO)
- 5. Graphite Writer
- 6. InfluxDB Writer
- 7. Elastic Stack Integration
- 8. Log Rotation
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 management 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.
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.
Features of Zabbix:
- 1. Visualisation
- 2. Effortless Deployments
- 3. Metric Collection
- 4. Notification and Alerts
- 5. Problem Detection
- 6. Distributed Monitoring
- 7. API Integration
- 8. Security and Authentication.
Pandora FMS is an open source and free network monitoring software for Windows and Unix servers that helps businesses monitor and analyse their IT infrastructure. Apart from this, this tool can also be run on virtual interfaces for reinforcing networks on miscellaneous platforms.
Pandora FMS provides useful features such as SNMP support, latency monitoring, ICMP polling, network overload and system breach. IT professionals can use these tools to monitor other physical factors such as temperature of the connected devices and create logs.
Pandora FMS comes with a plethora of features for IT professionals to efficiently keep track of multiple devices, applications and servers. It also helps in setting up various parameters and protocols for automation of the processes.
Pandora FMS USP
It can be used as a free home network monitoring software as well as businesses and can be seamlessly integrated with other plug-ins through eHorus. eHorus enables users and professionals to control servers and network remotely, through any machine or console.
Features of Pandora FMS:
- 1. Network Monitoring
- 2. User Experience
- 3. Server Monitoring
- 4. Application Monitoring
- 5. Inventory Management
- 6. IOT Monitoring
- 7. Remote Control
- 8. Server Level Agreement
LibreNMS is one of the top open source network tools that uses the SNMP protocol. It can be implemented on a plethora of popular platforms such as Windows, Linux and FreeBSD. It is compatible with various network devices too, such as Juniper, Cisco, Foundry, Brocade, HP, etc.
LibreNMS is a free and open source network monitoring tool that uses Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Therefore, it is mandatory for the devices to have SNMP agent installed and enabled.
It provides quick and detailed performance reports of network, servers and connected device. It equips IT professionals with tools to monitor live network performance for optimal functioning of the server. The software can be used for monitoring as well as safekeeping all devices; from servers to connected routers.
Features of LibreNMS:
- 1. Network Auto-Discovery
- 2. Responsive UI
- 3. Unix Support
- 4. Horizontal Scaling Support
- 5. Integration
- 6. API Support
- 7. Auto Updating
- 8. Customisable Alerting
Cacti is based on RRD Tool’s graphing and data recording that uses server data collection and network monitoring to create reports on networks, devices and servers for small as well as large organisational environments.
Since Cacti is a free and open source network monitoring tool, it lets IT managers to design customised scripts and design platform support for SNMP. It also provides graphical monitoring interfaces such as easy graphs and charts which can be compared with the periodic performance logs. This helps in accurately monitoring the performance curve over time.
Cacti provides interactive modules such as unlimited graphs, which lets users monitor specific areas on the network using SDEFs and data sources. The open source network monitoring tool provides graph sequencing feature, which allows IT teams to create a personalised monitoring interface so that it can be monitored conveniently.
Features of Cacti:
- 1. Graph Data Manipulation
- 2. Flexible Data Sources
- 3. Custom Data-Gathering Scripts
- 4. Data Gathering
- 5. Built-In SNMP Support
- 6. Graph Templates
- 7. User Management
- 8. Network Discovery
- 9. Graph Aggregation
Prometheus is another open source network monitoring software which assists in analysis and reporting. It provides users the necessary equipment to create a robust framework with the help of its native toolset.
The free network monitoring software helps in data collection on the various wired and wireless devices by using SNMP pings to keep a check on bandwidth usage of the network. PromQL collects and creates reports of the information and helps in generating visuals such as graphs and tables for better data representation.
Prometheus offers a key element for the development operations workflow: monitoring cloud as well as local network infrastructure and programs. Moreover, the tool provides state-of-the-art performance analytics to report any issues in the network or any connected device and help in problem forecasting.
Features of Prometheus:
- 1. Dimensional Data
- 2. Query Resolution
- 3. Visualisation
- 4. Storage
- 5. Alerts and Notifications
- 6. Multiple Integrations
Benefits of Free Open-Source Network Monitoring Software Tool
There are numerous free and open source network monitoring tools available in the market today with a variety of features and upgrade options. However, it is crucial to identify the best free network monitoring software that suits your requirements.
The best network monitoring software will ensure that the network doesn’t face any issues by providing assistance in identifying and fixing blockages. Given below are various other benefits of an open source network monitoring tool.
- 1. Outage Management
There are various reasons why network outages occur. It can be an internal software problem or an external problem such as an error from the source. A good network management tool helps identify where the bottleneck exactly lies. This helps in efficient resolution without having to resort to trial and error, which might intensify the issue.
In fact, a robust network management software can help in taking precautionary measures, so that the issues don’t arise, in the first place. The reporting tools that come with any good free and open source network monitoring software help the IT team of an organisation to stay ahead of the issues.
- 2. Fast Troubleshooting
If the network is down the business is, in effect, losing money. The longer it takes to fix the network, the lesser business-related interactions get executed. The free network monitoring tools help in monitoring the network maps and expedite the troubleshooting process. In addition, there are free wireless network monitoring software available which help IT professionals to monitor a network remotely.
- 3. Automation
It is crucial to keep constant vigilance on the network for identifying bottlenecks and threats. However, often IT teams have complex workload and numerous workflows to look after. With the help of a network monitoring tool, this process can be automated.
With features such as live grid monitoring and report generation, the performance can be easily checked from time to time, without having to dedicate a lot of time.
- 4. Growth Management
With upgrades and new advancements in technology such as cloud-based servers, wireless devices and remote network, the organisational IT ecosystems are expanding. Therefore, monitoring these devices becomes crucial.
Open source network monitoring tools can be customized to match the requirement of your organisation and can focus on specific tasks, such as IPv6 transitions, graph monitoring and much more.
- 5. Security Management
If you are just starting your business, you don’t require a heavy-duty web application firewall . An open source network monitoring tool can provide the first-tier security to your network. There are customisable solutions such as open source network monitoring tools for windows and open source network monitoring software for Linux available in the market.
These can be configured to monitor critical events such as data breaches and unauthorised devices. You can also see unusual traffic or data transfer with the reporting tools provided by any free network monitoring software. Windows, Linux or any of the popular server operating systems can be secured with free network monitoring software.
- 6. Timely Upgrades
Upgrades are a crucial aspect of any open source network monitoring software as they help organisations to be up to date with all the new processes. Network monitoring tools provide periodic insights about various modules in a network about how efficiently they are performing.
With the help of their trend analysis feature, IT teams can analyse an equipment’s performance and decide whether it needs to be upgraded or not.
- 7. Service Level Agreement Reporting
As IT service providers and consultants, it is reputation is a crucial aspect. If your services are suspended often, it can impact the credibility of your organisation. With the help of open source monitoring tools, you can hold up your services to the service level agreements between the company and the customer.
Get any of these 10 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?