Do You Need a Free or Paid Network Monitoring Solution?

Many organizations find it difficult to understand whether they need a free or paid network monitoring solution. Network monitoring itself needs to be a priority in general, so this decision requires careful examination. We’re used customer review outlets to compare the strengths and weaknesses of a paid tool versus a free tool.

Top Free Network Monitoring Solutions

Three free network monitoring solutions stand out in this space – Paessler PRTG Network Monitor, Spiceworks Network Monitor, and Zabbix.

Paessler solution offers fault and flows analysis, packet sniffing, and more. They feature centralized monitoring, with its dashboard used as the central interface where everything is summarized. This always gives network administrators a complete network overview. Paessler also offers a paid solution with a deeper set of options.

Spiceworks network monitor comes with free support and a large user community. Its dynamic dashboard hosts real-time updates on network related issues. They also offer in-house training to ease your transition.

Zabbix is an open-source, real-time, network performance monitoring solution available as a software and virtual appliance download. The configuration and setup of the tool is fairly easy and ensures a low learning curve.

The Case for Paid Solutions

These free solutions provide SMBs access to powerful tools. Each comes with strengths comparable to a paid solution but have key limitations. Essentially, they won’t be effective at managing a large network.

Based on user reviews from G2Crowd, enterprises gravitate toward paid solutions while mid-market companies (51-1000 employees) prefer free tools. This points to the improved scaling ability of paid solutions. They support areas like data centers, network environments, remote locations, and more. Managing network growth shouldn’t require changing vendors, especially for an enterprise. Paid vendors place more emphasis on scaling, as well as automation.

As network infrastructure grows in complexity, enterprises must focus on simplification through automation. Network automation solutions provide automation for areas like configuration, management, testing, deployment, and operations of network devices. Thus, mundane network management tasks become automated.

Network automation provides a variety of benefits, including increased control, faster speeds, and more. Automation reduces the complexities of a modern network by manual tasks, as it parallels the benefits of DevOps for development.

Doug Atkinson

An entrepreneur and executive with a passion for enterprise technology, Doug founded Solutions Review in 2012. He has previously served as a newspaper boy, a McDonald's grill cook, a bartender, a political consultant, a web developer, the VP of Sales for e-Dialog - a digital marketing agency - and as Special Assistant to Governor William Weld of Massachusetts.

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