Last year we compiled a list of 80 Linux monitoring tools. Encouraged by the success of that list, we’ve been meaning to do the same for Windows for some time now. Well, the time has finally come.
This is not meant to be a detailed review, not least a comparison or evaluation. Think of it as a starting point in your search for the perfect monitoring tool. The way we’ve cut and sliced the list should hopefully make it easier for you to pinpoint the tools you want to investigate further.
Everybody knows Windows Task Manager. But do you know how to use it to its full potential? Typically, you’d monitor CPU and memory usage, but you can go much further. In fact, you can monitor any Windows performance counter. This application is pre-installed on all Windows servers. Want to know more about monitoring CPU resources with Task Manager? Check out this article.
It allows you to monitor CPU, Memory, Disk and Network usage. It offers high level I/O monitoring (it includes per process information) in a similar fashion to iotop. If you are troubleshooting your system with Resource Monitor, you should check out this troubleshooting guide.
This is the standard Windows monitoring tool for standalone servers, also known as: perfmon.exe or perfmon.msc. It’s great for those times when you need more than what Task Manager has on offer. Performance Monitor helps you monitor any performance counter with historical data. The basics are covered in this article.
Included with Windows 7 onwards. You can launch Reliability Monitor from Control Panel > System and Security > Action Center. This hidden gem reports on problems and tracks any change in your system, things like installing or updating apps, for example. Read more about Reliability Monitor here.
SysInternals is a comprehensive set of tools for Windows administrators. It’s a must have tool. You can download it from the Microsoft website for free. Process Monitor is great in keeping an eye on your file system and registry activity.
System Center is a complete suite of tools that help you manage, deploy, control, monitor and tune Microsoft software (Windows, IIS, SQLServer, Exchange, et cetera). It now supports Microsoft Azure too. System Center Operations Manager is the component that provides the monitoring. Alas, MSC is not free.
Typically used together with Nagios, Cacti is a graphing solution built with RRDTool. RRDTool offers data storage and graphing functionality. Cacti provides advanced graph templating, multiple data acquisition methods and user management features.
This is the most popular Nagios fork. Icinga improves on its scalability and also offers a full REST API. It is usually deployed alongside graphing systems, like Graphene or Grafana and storage systems like Graphite or InfluxDB.
Opsview was built on top of Nagios to provide a complete monitoring platform. The open source option has been discontinued, and OpsView is now a paid-for product.
Op5 is another open source attempt to provide a complete monitoring platform around Nagios. It provides alerting, graphing, storage and data collection.
Zabbix is the obvious open source alternative to Nagios. It offers alerting, graphing, storage and collection, all in one product.
Like Cacti, Munin is built on top of RRDTool. It won’t scale to hundreds of servers easily, it doesn’t offer many features, but you can get up and running quickly and easily. It’s a good option if your monitoring requirements are pretty basic.
This is a Zenoss monitoring platform build with Python Zope. It now has OpenTSDB as its storage backend. Zenoss offers extensive support for network monitoring and works equally great with Linux and Windows servers.
Observium is a network focused monitoring platform. It supports Linux and Windows servers, alike.
Centreon is a comprehensive monitoring platform. They are now transitioning from MySQL and RRDTool, to ElasticSearch and InfluxDB.
Ganglia is a scalable and distributed monitoring system, used in high-performance computing systems such as clusters and grids. It is based on a hierarchical design targeted at federations of clusters.
Pandora FMS is a monitoring software for IT infrastructure management. It includes network equipment, Windows and Unix servers, virtual infrastructure and a whole host of different kinds of applications.
This is a unified monitoring platform for network devices, Windows, and Linux servers. NetXMS is a Java application with a desktop UI (rather than a web UI).
OpenNMS is a complete monitoring platform. Unlike Nagios, it supports SNMP, WMI and JMX, out of the box (Nagios requires 3rd party tools).
VMware vRealize Hyperic is now a component of VMware vRealize Operations. It monitors operating systems, middleware and applications running on physical, virtual and cloud environments. Open source development still takes place on GitHub.
Bosun is an open-source, monitoring and alerting system built by the folks at Stack Exchange. It features an expressive domain-specific language for evaluating alerts and creating detailed notifications. Bosun is written in Go, and uses OpenTSDB, Graphite, and ElasticSearch as backends.
These commercial tools are usually deployed as on-premise monitoring servers.
SSC Serv is the commercial collectd agent for Windows. It was created by folks behind collectd.
KS-HostMonitor offers multiple remote checking methods, flexible actions, logs analyzer, SNMP and WMI support, together with reports. It offers both Windows and Web clients.
Total Network Monitor is a commercial network monitoring software. It offers performance graphs, alerting, actions and logs.
PRTG monitors network availability and usage. It uses SNMP, packet sniffing, WMI, Netflow and various other protocols. It can also monitor remote Windows and Linux servers. It’s available in both freeware and commercial editions.
GroundWork combines proprietary and open source software (Icinga, Grafana, Logstash, OpenTSDB, et cetera). It offers availability, performance and event monitoring, and it provides multi-context views of your infrastructure.
WhatsUpGold is a well known network, server and application monitoring tool, made by Ipswitch. It offers management capabilities and configuration management.
Idera Uptime Infrastructure Monitor is a multi-platform server monitoring solution. It supports multiple OS and virtualization technologies. It also offers server performance and availability alerts together with customizable dashboards.
PowerAdmin is a commercial monitoring solution for Windows and Linux. It offers SNMP, logs and services. Also comes with built-in remote access.
ELM Enterprise Manager is a performance monitoring and alerting software licensed from TNT Software. It provides events and log monitoring, in addition to compliance reports.
EventsEntry is a server and network device monitoring software with compliance reporting capabilities.
Veeam ONE is a monitoring and management control center for Windows Server Hyper-V.
CA Windows server monitoring analyzes the performance and availability of Windows server resources.
OpenView, now part of Operations Manager, is an HP monitoring product for enterprises. It is bundled inside their all-in-one management product.
OpenManage (now Dell Enterprise Systems Management) is an all-in-one management and monitoring product for enterprises.
Halcyon Windows Server Manager monitors Windows servers and performs predetermined actions, as required.
Topper Perfmon provides monitoring for the majority of Windows Server versions out there. Amongst other, it monitors processes, services and performance counters. It does this without installing any agent software whatsoever.
System Monita is another monitoring tool with Windows support. Made by Kiwis.
BMC PATROL and ProactiveNet Performance Management (BPPM) is an all-in-one enterprise management and monitoring product.
Now owned by LOGICnow, Max Management is a tool that helps MSPs manage their customers’ IT infrastructure. It not only includes monitoring, but management and support as well.
ScienceLogic also supports Windows monitoring, both on premise and on the cloud.
VeraX is a network and application performance monitoring tool by Vera Systems. It can monitor hosts, services and applications alike. It comes with visualization dashboards, events, alerts, and reports.
While this is not an extensive list, here are the most popular ones:
Ntop is an open source tool that captures, records and analyzes your network traffic at the application layer. This app proves useful when you need to know which applications or protocols are eating up your bandwidth.
NeDi performs auto-discovery of your entire network topology and connected devices. It is useful when you need a helicopter-view of your infrastructure, or to locate your network assets. NeDi is an open source tool.
The Dude network monitor is an application by MikroTik. It automatically scans all devices and plots a layout map of your network. It also provides device monitoring and alerting.
BandwidthD measures bandwidth usage for your subnetworks, and can also display graphs. BandwidthD is open source.
NagVis is an open source visualization addon for Nagios. It monitors the availability of complex IT processes, like a mail system or network infrastructure.
Proc Net Monitor is a free software that helps you monitor and analyze network activity for all running processes on your system, including open ports and active network connections.
The list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a few hardware monitoring options.
IPMIutil is an easy-to-use IPMI open source server management utility. It monitors: FRU inventory data, SEL firmware log, sensors, watchdog, power control, health, monitoring, et cetera.</>
CollectM is a Collectd agent for Windows. After collection, you can send those metrics to any graphing or alerting system that supports the Collectd protocol.
PerfTrap collects metrics from Windows servers and pushes them to Graphite servers.
If you are a Python fan, WMIagent is a great starting point for getting your WMI data (using Python scripts).
PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs) is a powerful tool that reads performance counters and analyzes them using known thresholds.
PolyMon is an open source system monitoring tool, based on the .NET 2.0 framework and SQL Server 2005. It also sends notifications for trends and alerts.
The Cloud Ninja Metering Block is an extensible and reusable software component. In fact, it’s more of a framework than a monitoring tool. It helps software developers track tenant resource usage in multi-tenant settings. It works on Windows Azure.
Enigma is a beautiful app that helps you keep an eye on all kind of important metrics (for example: performance, forecasts, feed readers or apps) right from your desktop.
Glint displays the system status of local or remote Windows servers.
Real Temp is a temperature monitoring program designed for all Intel single Core, Dual Core, Quad Core and Core i7 processors..
SpeedFan goes beyond CPU temperature and includes: voltage, fan speed, temperature and other S.M.A.R.T. info.
OpenHardwareMonitor is an open source, all-in-one, hardware monitoring application.
Also check out this Windows IT Pro Magazine article, on how to Get a Handle on Windows Performance Analysis.