Network monitoring is very important for all sizes of business. IT has become so core to most businesses operations that it is crucial to know that the network it operating at optimum performance and to be alerted to issues as soon as they occur. It is also important to be able to track the performance of the network over time to assist with planning and to avoid potential problems before they occur.
Historically, network monitoring was confined to large enterprises and was provided by systems such as HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli. However, over the years network monitoring solutions have been developed for medium and smaller businesses as well that have become increasing easier to use and cheaper to implement.
Examples of products targeted and medium and large companies include HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM), Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, which is specifically geared towards managing and monitoring Microsoft systems. Small and medium business monitoring products include GFI Network Server Monitor, SolarWinds ipMonitor and ActiveXperts Network Monitor.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of open source network monitoring solutions. One of the most popular of these is Nagios which has been developed over several years and is used to monitor everything from small business with a few servers up to large enterprises with thousands of systems spread all over the world. The benefit of the open source methodology means companies are able to develop and amend the application to fit their specific requirements. Additionally, several systems have been developed which use Nagios as a core and build on its features - these include Groundwork Open Source, Centreon and OpsView.
There are also several other open source network monitoring solutions and these include Hyperic HQ, Zenoss and Zabbix. Additionally, there are now some network monitoring platforms that are free, but not open source. These are often supported by advertisements and include products such as Spiceworks.
Network monitoring is also provided as a service by many companies which means customer don't have to install and manage their own network monitoring infrastructure. Dotcom-Monitor, Hitachi Software Engineering and Dimension I all offer these services.
Network monitoring is also important is areas outside of industry, such as universities. An example would be the JISC Monitoring Unit/a>. Additionally, network monitoring is often the subject of research, such as the Nprobe project at Cambridge University.
Further examples of network monitoring within educational institutions are:-