Network monitoring tools: Features users love and hate

IT pros identify what they like, and don’t like, about network monitoring software from CA, Microsoft, and other vendors

Network monitoring tools: Features users love and hate
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Managing the health of the corporate network will directly affect the productivity of every user of that network. So network administrators need a robust network monitoring tool that helps them manage the network, identify problems before they cause downtime, and quickly resolve issues when something goes wrong.

Five of the top network monitoring products on the market, according to users in the IT Central Station community, are CA Unified Infrastructure Management, SevOne, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM), and CA Spectrum.

What do enterprise users really think about these tools? Here, users give a shout-out for some of their favorite features, but also give the vendors a little tough love.

Editor’s Note: These reviews of select network monitoring software come from the IT Central Station community. They are the opinions of the users and are based on their own experiences.

CA Unified Infrastructure Management

Valuable Features

“The most valuable feature for us is the way it brings silo products together that we've invested in over the years, and it allows us to consolidate our views for our customers.” — Zafir Y., architect at a communications service provider

“It gives a good baseline as to how we go about monitoring our clients, as each one is different but can fall into a specific category of infrastructure monitoring. Our organization knows how to get started with each client.” — Daniel B., enterprise tools architect at a tech services company

Room for Improvement

“We're unable to drill down to the specific data that we'd like. We're also not able to get some data, such as trends, that we want when trying to determine root causes of issues in our applications.” — Shahzada R., solution architect at a tech consulting company

“I would like to see improvements in the maintenance mode area. I would like to set only a probe from a robot or group in maintenance, or place profiles from probes in maintenance.” — Luis M., senior manager of IT infrastructure at an insurance company

You can read more CA Unified Infrastructure Management reviews on IT Central Station.

SevOne

Valuable Features

“Instant graphs, high-frequency polling and the ability to create reports on the fly are the most valuable features we currently use.” — LeadDataNwkEng159, lead data network engineer at a communications service provider

Room for Improvement

“It needs a platform to add portals. Some of the low-level features and how they work could use some improvements.” — Abdul-Bari K., senior software engineer at a communications service provider

You can read more SevOne reviews on IT Central Station.  

Microsoft SCOM

Valuable Features

“The agent is solid and reliable and does not require post-deployment maintenance/restarts, as required by other products I have used. Also, the way objects are discovered by class allows for quick overrides without much rework.” — QAEng325, quality assurance engineer at a consumer goods company

“No matter what it is you want to monitor or how you want to monitor, it can be done. You may have to create the code using VBScript or PowerShell, and XML, but it can be done. There are always lots of examples online that will save you lots of time.” — Stevan D., senior engineer at a retailer

Room for Improvement

“The dashboard is still not so great and, most of the time, a third-party tool is required for presentation. There is a lot of room for improvement here.” — Bharathy P., director at a tech company

“The product development team understands that main improvements for product should be: cross-platform and network monitoring features including stability and extensibility, wider support of dashboards and cool widgets, the web console should be greatly improved, along with more handy development tools including custom widget development.” — Mikhail D., senior IT manager at a tech services company

You can read more Microsoft SCOM reviews on IT Central Station.

SolarWinds NPM

Valuable Features

“I love the GUI. Almost everything is accessible through the web interface. It is very user-friendly. It is easy to drag and drop resources wherever you want them.” — Christopher G., lead network engineer at a tech services company

“I believe the ease of setup and use, from the initial installation to the discovery of devices, is the most valuable. The advanced alerting and notifications capabilities are helpful as well. Devices can be discovered automatically on a schedule, and grouped by vendor automatically, which makes it very easy to track down devices. The customizable dashboards and reporting are flexible and tend to come in handy as well.” — A.J. D., senior systems administrator at a healthcare company

Room for Improvement

“Real-time analytics is the major weakness of the SolarWinds NPM platform today. They've done a fantastic job enabling the collection of data. Users are now demanding the ability to generate their own graphs, views, and so on; all of this must be done by an admin today.” — Joshua B., infrastructure applications engineer at a healthcare company

“The module UIs can have different features based on what module you're in. I'd love to see feature parity between them. Selecting nodes, for instance. In NPM, you can use one criteria for grouping, while in NCM, you can group in multiple levels.” — Craig N., senior network engineer at a healthcare company

You can read more SolarWinds NPM reviews on IT Central Station.

CA Spectrum

Valuable Features

“The most valuable feature is its ability to monitor our network. We have a sizable network with over 4,000 nodes. Ultimately, at a hospital, network integrity is a patient care issue, so you want to make sure that the network is up as close to 100% as possible. Hospitals don't close, so it needs to support that.” — Lee M., IT manager at a hospital

“We can optimize the IT services we offer our users and get a quick view of the business impact. Then, we can adjust priorities and solve problems quicker.” — Edgardo S., head of IT operations at a bank

Room for Improvement

“There is room for improvement in the integration with non-CA tools and databases.” — Fabio A., technical consultant at a tech services company

“One thing I would like to see is that all the [CA] infrastructure management products look similar in terms of UI design, widgets, etc. We are a managed service provider (MSP) and would like our customers to have a seamless experience and not be able to notice moving between the various infrastructure management products.” — Frank T., operations support system manager at a telecommunications company

You can read more CA Spectrum reviews on IT Central Station.

To learn more about what enterprise tech professionals are saying about network monitoring software, read our full collection of reviews on IT Central Station.

This story, "Network monitoring tools: Features users love and hate" was originally published by Network World.

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