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Top Cloud Network Monitoring Tools Compared

Top Cloud Network Monitoring Tools Compared
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Like many IT tools,  networking monitoring is moving to the cloud. Today there are a number of cloud-based tools that will help you keep track of various elements of your network, from topology discovery, reporting and event collection, to environmental monitoring, predictive analysis and even SLA monitoring.

Previously, we looked at the different features and functionalities of network monitoring tools, as well as the pros and cons of using these solutions in the cloud. As far as ease of deployment, scalability and costs are concerned, cloud-based network monitoring solutions definitely have some advantages over in-house tools. On the other hand, software deployed on-premises is more secure and can usually offer better performance. When using SaaS offerings you also need to consider the outside management; if your cloud provider has an outage, that downtime will have an affect on your operation.

MORE: Pros & Cons Of Cloud-Based Network Monitoring Tools

Despite these disadvantages, cloud solutions are still the better option for many organizations, especially those with a tight IT budget. Today we compare what we believe are the top four cloud network monitoring providers for the enterprise: Kaseya Traverse, LogicMonitor, and for SMB: Monitis and Uptrends Infra.

Kaseya Traverse

Of the four different network monitoring services compared in this article, the Kaseya Traverse product is the most feature rich option. Since the solution was originally designed around a local deployment model and only recently has been offered via a SaaS model, it competes well with the other options.

Traverse has existing support for a very large database of device types with built-in metrics that are specific to each device (the current supported list can be found at kaseya.com). The company also offers the ability to request additional metric support, should a specific device not be supported.

Traverse supports not only networking specific elements, but also has wide support for other devices from virtualization platforms to desktops and servers, to power and other environmental objects that are commonly found in data centers. To discover all of these devices on the network, Traverse supports topology discovery using a number of different methods including: CDP, EDP, LLDP, GVRP, LAG, ARP, and routing tables.

Traverse has a flexible dashboard-based management interface which provides a high amount of flexibility in how device monitors are laid out (Traverse referrers to them as containers). Each device metric is automatically configured with thresholds based on industry standards. When these thresholds are met, an alert can be configured to be sent via a number of different methods (email, sms, etc.) to the appropriate person or party. Traverse also has the ability to automatically adapt these thresholds based on the behavior of the specific devices; this information is gathered via the tool's predictive data analytics (which includes baseline analysis).

Another very cool functionality that is included is a correlation feature; it enables the ability to view events that Traverse sees that correlate to each other. This can greatly help with root cause determination. Additional analysis can be made using information gathered from NetFlow as the engineer drills down to the problem area of the network. Traverse also has support for Service Level Agreement (SLA) management and monitoring which can be very helpful for those potential clients that have multiple SLA's to monitor.

Kaseya's Traverse is offered as a subscription based license, which includes a base license cost plus an additional per device cost. This cost will change depending on the number of metrics being captured per device and the number of total devices being monitored. Traverse also offers network device configuration management (like Cisco IOS running-config/startup-config) which can be purchased separately.

Note: The legacy Kaseya product provided a Network Monitor (KNM) tool that was included; this will still be included and can share discovery and data between itself and Traverse. But it is simpler then Traverse in terms of capabilities.

LogicMonitor

Unlike Kaseya Traverse, the LogicMonitor platform was designed with the SaaS model in mind while also providing a number of the features that are included with Traverse. LogicMonitor does provide support for automatic topology discovery, but it is generally not recommend for setting up their platform because it can have a number of discovered devices that are not monitorable through their product (for example, printers).

All of the information that is gathered by LogicMonitor is done via a deployed data collector (Java). It is recommended that at least one collector exists at every main site. This collector performs the core parts of discovery and monitoring locally. This information is then sent via an outbound SSL session into the LogicMonitor cloud to populate the monitoring interface, making the configuration of open external ports unnecessary.

Data can be collected using a number of different methods including WMI, SNMP, Perfmon, JDBC, JMX, IPMI, Web page parsing, log parsing, custom scripts, and various vendor specific APIs. Like Traverse, LogicMonitor does support a number of different device types including routers, switches, firewalls, servers (like Windows, Linux, VMware, Xen and NetApp) and cloud platforms (like Amazon EC2); plus it offers support for any device that supports SNMP.

LogicMonitor also supports NetFlow collection and analysis; but its correlation abilities don't seem to be as evolved as the Traverse offering. Data that is collected is kept for a year so that historic analysis can be done.

One area where LogicMonitor really shines is in its support. When you're established as a client, you are assigned an account manager that is responsible for not only selling the specific LogicMonitor services, but also providing you with access to the appropriate training. This includes access to company engineers to walk you through the configuration of the software to ensure that what is being monitored is done in a way that you want. LogicMonitor also provides a service to create new data source objects should a device need to be monitored that is not currently in their set of supported devices. Generally, LogicMonitor estimates a three to four week lead time for these capabilities to be added once requested.

LogicMonitor is strictly a SaaS and charges per host (device); there is a minimum charge of $100/month and the price varies depending on volume from $19 down to $4 per device.

Monitis

Compared to Traverse and LogicMonitor, Monitis is geared more towards the SMB market (vs the enterprise market). Monitis is deployed using an agent installed on either a Windows or Linux host and can be used as a collector of information on the monitored network.

Monitis has monitor (Sensor) support including:

  • Uptime: HTTP, FTP, DNS, MySQL, UDP, IMAP, SIP, HTTPS, Ping, SSH, TCP, POP3, SMTP, SOAP;
  • Server/device monitors: CPU, Linux Load, Process, Disk I/O, SNMP (Beta), HTTP, Service (Beta), Memory, Drive, System Events, Bandwidth, Ping, HTTPS;
  • Application monitors: Java/JMX, MySQL, Oracle, Tomcat; 
  • End user: Transaction, Full Page Load, Web Traffic;
  • Cloud monitor: Amazon EC2, Rackspace Cloud, GoGrid;
  • Other tools: Load Tester, Vulnerability Scanning, SSL Certificate and Custom.

The Monitis management and monitoring interface uses a dashboard format allowing for a number of different monitor sub-windows (widget-like) that can be arranged to the needs of the user. Monitis also includes support for simple reporting as well as the ability to alert users of monitored events using email, SMS or RSS.

As for notification services, Monitis offers several methods to get your alerts sent out including phone notification with a live voice, email, text/SMS, Google Talk IM, Twitter and URL callback. The most interesting of these methods is the live voice feature, as it harkens back to the days of getting a phone call from your Ops staff when something goes red in the monitoring system; there's something about the persistence of a live person trying to reach a systems administrator versus missing an automated text that could go unnoticed.

Pricing information can be found for Monitis by filling out the form at: monitis.com/monitoring-plan-builder

Uptrends Infra

The least mature of the reviewed solutions, Uptrends Infra is a product that has some promise with a well implemented web performance monitoring predecessor. Uptrends Infra allows a few different network device types to be monitored with a focus on servers (including support for both Linux and Windows) and websites. Like Monitis, the Uptrends Infra service looks to be geared more towards the SMB market and is not able to go feature to feature with either Traverse or LogicMonitor.

For security, Uptrends Infra provides agent communication over HTTPS and any insecure traffic is prohibited. Password related information, such as credentials used to log into networking services are also encrypted with public key cryptography and are unreadable by the vendor. Additionally, Uptrends Infra offers an alternative to storing password information in the cloud by storing credentials on the monitored servers where the agents are installed.

Uptrends Infra does support the monitoring of other devices using ICMP (ping), TCP/UDP (connect) or using SNMP; however the SNMP implementation is manual and requires OID configuration knowledge.

Uptrends Infra works similarly to Monitis in that an agent (collector) is installed locally and can be used to run tests from inside the network; currently the agent can be run on a Windows or Linux machine.

Uptrends Infra is priced competitively with Monitis and will certainly not break the bank of any SMB; to find current pricing information check out uptrendsinfra.com/pricing.

Cloud Network Monitoring Tools Compared

The four cloud network monitoring tools that we chose to feature in this guide fit into two different groups: those focused on enterprise environments, and those that are better suited to the SMB market. The Kaseya Traverse and LogicMonitor solutions are geared more towards the enterprise market; that is not to say they couldn't be used at smaller organization, however their in depth feature support will come in useful in larger environments, and will cost additional money. Monitis and Uptrends Infra on the other hand are ideal solutions for small to medium sized businesses, in both their feature set and price points. 

All of the four options we covered are reasonably easy to set up (or include the setup in their service, such as LogicMonitor) and shouldn't take much time to configure for any type of environment. The big advantage of these cloud network monitoring tools is that this exceptionally short deployment time is almost impossible with in-house, internally build monitoring systems.

Here is a quick reference comparison of Traverse, LogicMonitor, Monitis and Uptrends Infra showing which basic and advanced features are supported.


Kaseya TraverseLogicMonitorMonitisUptrends Infra
Topology DiscoverySupportedSupported
(But not recommended)
Not SupportedNot Supported
Element Baselining Supported
(Automatic and Manual)
Supported
(Manual)
Not SupportedNot Supported
Device MonitoringSupported
(Adaptive)
SupportedSupportedSupported
ReportingSupported
(Historical and Trending)
Supported
(Historical and Trending)
Supported
(Simple)
Not Supported
Event CollectionSupportedSupportedNot SupportedNot Supported
Environmental MonitoringSupportedSupportedSupported
(SNMP – Manual)
Not Supported
Predictive AnalysisSupportedNot SupportedNot SupportedNot Supported
Root Cause AnalysisSupported
(Including correlation)
SupportedSupported
(Minimal)
Not Supported
Alarm ManagementSupportedSupportedSupported
(Basic)
Supported
(Basic)
SLA Monitoring and MeasurementSupportedNot SupportedSupported
(Limited)
Not Supported
Configuration ManagementSupportedNot SupportedNot SupportedNot Supported
Netflow Analysis and CollectionSupportedSupportedNot SupportedNot Supported

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