Several days ago in my current working company, we've faced with a network intermittent downtime issue affecting the whole office. Without proper network/server monitoring tools, it is tough to identify to pinpoint where was the fault or cause of the issue as we had to isolate floor by floor to identify the issue where in the end we managed to found network looping issue in one of the network switches causing broadcast storm throughout the entire network. I strongly believe having a network monitoring tool is vital as it greatly helps our team in my office to quickly identify the cause of the issue.Refer below for some of the commonly used network/server monitoring tools which can implemented to greatly assists the team in identifying any issues within your network.
Solarwinds User Device Tracker software helps you keep an eye on and Track Critical network components, switches, routers, and more within their Easy to Use interface. They provide a nice Graphical Interface that constantly keeps all admins and engineers in your team updated with the latest utilization, load and port metrics for each of your networked devices. Some of other features that they provide are as follows:
- Manage Switch Port Usage, Capacity and Availability to Forecast Future Capacity Planning
- Quickly Track & Identify Network Devices by IP Address or even MAC Address, as well as Username or Hostname within your network.
- Network Mapping and Monitoring of your Wireless Network and Access Points, including Switches & individual Ports.
- Suspicious User/Device Detection
- Remote Port Activation/Deactivation via Dashboard (Shutdown/Start Ports Remotely)
- Historical Device Logon's and Connections
- Active Directory Integration for Endpoint Logins
- Extensive Multi-Vendor Networking Switch Support
Manage Individual/Multiple Network Switches and View Port Usage by Hour/Minute. As you can see, Solarwinds User Device Tracker is Extremely Extensive in terms of capabilities of Monitoring your networking equipment at a level that we should be monitoring at. They even give you insights into which Users log into which Devices and at what time – this data is great for Tracking and Compliance issues that may arise.
OpManager is another great Tool for managing Switch Ports and network Devices. They offer an affordable solution for not only monitoring network devices, but also for managing your Network Switches, Ports, Utilization and many more options. OpManager also has a Great GUI for quickly getting your network switches managed and understanding what is going on within them. As seen in the image above, adding additional switches is a breeze and some stats that they give you include:
- DNS Hostname
- Usage (as a Percentage)
- Used Ports
- Available Ports
- Total Ports
- and many more details
OPManager is a very well rounded tool that Competes with the likes of Solarwinds (which we reviewed above) and many of the software packages you'll read about below. Grab a free Trial and Get started managing your Network Devices Today!
Paessler has created a wonderful tool called PRTG and is synonymous with Network Monitoring and Server monitoring functionality. But, what many don't know, is that they also act as a Switch Management Solution as well. Some of the options they provide for managing network Devices include the following:
- Use SNMP Sensors to Probe Ports
- Packet Sniffing Sensors for Monitoring IP and filtering Traffic
- Netflow, Sflow and jFlow Sensors for Juniper, Cisco and Other Vendor Monitoring
- CPU Load Management
- Memory Sensors
- Ping Sensors
The important of understanding what Network Links are UP/DOWN as well as Capacity planning will prove to be crucial if growth is going to happen anytime in the future. On top of those benefits, understanding High bandwidth usage and receiving alerts for Suspicious or Rouge Activity can assist you in pinpointing which Computers/Devices on your network is potentially infected with a Virus or Malware. All of these software packages will help you keep track of Network Switch Ports from an Array of Network Monitoring Tools as mentioned above.
Most of the solutions above are free to try with limited number of hardware/sensors as its limitation and I see no harm in going ahead to implement this first.