Monitoring and managing Windows networks is not an easy task. Microsoft does not offer any built in network management software. When it comes to sensitive networks, realtime monitoring is necessary so that the administrator can act as soon as any error occurs or even before that by analyzing the collected data. There are third party tools which offer to manage and monitor the Windows networks in real time.
The features that I like to have in a network management system are real time network monitoring, server and client monitoring, helpdesk for users to lodge complaints for the network administrators and technicians, software and hardware inventory tools etc. There are some tools that I have used in the past for managing my own office networks. Some of the tools are free while others are paid ones. I’m listing all the network management tools here.
Spiceworks Free Network Management Software
Spiceworks network management software is a free community supported network monitor for Windows. It contains almost all types of management software that an administrator would love to have including network monitoring, server and client monitoring, help desk, software and hardware inventory etc. You can also see and kill the processes in any Windows PC connected to the network remotely. The only down side of Spiceworks is that it doesn’t have a very good real time network monitoring tool. It reports the problem too late which can cause problems for the admins. But overall, its very easy to install and use. Perfect for small to medium networks. Spiceworks comes in the web interface so network administrators can easily access Spiceworks from the web.
OpsView is another free and open source network management software. It uses Nagios as its monitoring engine. Nagios is another very good open source network monitoring solution. In addition to other features, the latest version of OpsView also adds a mobile version of the tool. The enterprise version of OpsView features sms messaging, viewing and backup network device configuration, reporting etc. The benefit of OpsView is that it supports a wide range of platforms including Mac, Windows and Linux.
OpenNMS is another popular open source network management software for Mac, Windows and Linux platforms. It contains both network monitoring and network management capabilities. OpenNMS majorly focuses on fault and performance management. Some unique features of OpenNMS include automated and directed discovery, event and notification management and detailed reporting.
I have given three solution to network monitoring and network management tasks. If you are not satisfied with these tools and want to explore more tools, here are some of the tools that you may want to look at:
Zabbix (Open Source)
Verax NMS Express (Free with limited functionality)
Intellipool Network Monitor (Commercial)
If you want to suggest any other network management software, please let us know through comments below.