IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Hands-on review: Paessler PRTG Network Monitoring Tool

By Sean Mitchell
Mon 21 Sep 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Every Kiwi business regardless of its size is struggling with the explosion of devices on our networks. From company-owned equipment like computers, employees’ own devices and some we hadn’t even thought about - like TVs and coffee machines on Wi-Fi.

Paessler PRTG is a lightweight agentless network monitoring and notification solution.

The solution seems ideally sized for the New Zealand market, with support for small organisations and scalability right up into enterprise.

You, like I did, can try the solution out without limitation for 30 days at no charge. When the trial finishes it turns into freeware with a limit of 100 network sensors.

I downloaded the free trial and installed it on a Windows 10 PC. The download was just 150MB and installation was very quick.

The solution is actually broken into two applications the core software and then a probe application. In a typical setup you’d be installing the core server and the probe app on your Windows Server, with additional probes installed elsewhere on your network. These probes could be on servers or PCs at remote branch offices, on your collocated servers in an ISP’s data center or even just distinct parts of the network. You’d only have one instance of the core server with each of the probes reporting back to the mothership regularly.

One of the many advantages of this spoke and hub type of model is that in the instance a branch office network is disconnected, then the probe at that remote location keeps collecting local data and when reconnected, it uploads the backlog back to the core server, enabling both sides of the issue to continue data collection. Too often we only see one end of the issue, making diagnosis difficult.

After install you can access the solution via a Windows client or via a browser. I definitely had the best experience using Google Chrome and stuck with the browser access from here on in.

The setup process is smooth and involves a reasonably detailed checklist to best describe your network, access, privileges etc., after which it starts the network discovery phase.

In my test it took just under 15 minutes to discover every device on the network. Almost all of them luckily had a form of SNMP turned on.

It really helps to enable SNMP on as many devices as you can on the network. This turns useless IP addresses in the devices list in PRTG into useful full-featured devices with lots of info to monitor. Almost every enterprise-grade device connected to a network has some form of SNMP that can be enabled.

Many of these devices did need SNMP login information to be input into PRTG as part of the setup, although it was well worth the effort for the rich info collected.

Some of the more complicated networking devices have so much information that is available to monitor via SNMP that you can download what are called MIB files from the manufacturer. These MIB files then help PRTG to map a list of available information to monitor from the device.

Over 200 pre designed sensors are built in to ease the setup process. See the full list here.

I was shocked at how much information was available across the network. An example was a simple printer, which had an incredible stream of information available; everything from very useful information like paper and ink levels through to less useful fuser temperature information and all of which was real time.

Another example is a 24 port switch, which provided over 50 data points inside its SNMP feed for PRTG to monitor.

If you take that example and extrapolate across just a small network, you can then start to collate hundreds or even thousands of data points.

Clearly most organisations wouldn’t want to monitor each network port on each switch nor every toner level in each printer. That’s where Paessler’s tool is really clever.

It organises your network by the probe, then by device and finally by the stream of different data available from that device. You can choose which, if any, of these are to be monitored. On one device like a server you might be monitoring many tens of channels while on a printer you might not bother monitoring it at all.

Each stream of information you monitor from a device is then called a sensor. Then Paessler actually licenses their product based upon the number of sensors in your custom-made monitoring solution.

These sensors can then be setup to notify you in a plethora of different ways from emails, txt, smartphone notifications etc. One can take it even further and create rules that if a notification isn’t acknowledged in a specific amount of time then other people or systems are notified. You can easily imagine a weekend solution here.

Cleverly, when setting up the devices you can show which ones are dependent upon others. So that when a central component is having issues you don’t receive hundreds of notifications from everything that’s dependent upon that device.

This is really important as a flood of notifications could bury the real core issue and also encourage IT department team members to ignore notifications.

The more I look the more I discover. There are tools for designing your own visual dashboards and displaying them on smart TVs. Plus options for scheduled maintenance and adding other non-network feeds. Within the idea of adding non-network feeds to monitor, almost anything is possible. Local weather feeds could alert your data center engineers, overwhelming call centre stats could notify HR that more team members are needed, senior management could be notified of major sales and even highly specialised information like monitoring pupil attendance in a school.

Beyond just monitoring there numerous other actions that can be taken other than just notifications. A perfect example of which is saving power by using PRTG to turn off computers after a specific time of the day.

Paessler’s solution is awesome; I highly recommend that anyone running a network needs this tool. Start small and stick with monitoring the most critical elements of your organisation first. Then only your imagination will limit what you can monitor from there.

Click here to download the Paessler PRTG network monitoring tool now

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Digital
Ivanti puts spotlight on power of employee digital experiences
The report revealed that 49% of employees are frustrated by the tech and tools their organisation provides and 64% believe this impacts morale.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Infrastructure
New VMware offerings improve cloud infrastructure management
VMware has unveiled VMware vSphere+ and VMware vSAN+ to help organisations bring benefits of the cloud to existing on-prem infrastructure.
Story image
BitTitan
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Microsoft
Digital innovation could shape the future of NZ - Microsoft
With cloud technologies available to more people around the world than ever before, it is not only businesses who will benefit from using them.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?
Story image
MarTech
Martech experts reveal the “buzz” on personalisation
In the digital age, innovative technology must be leveraged to power an efficient and effective relationship marketing strategy.
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Salesforce announces latest generation of MuleSoft
Salesforce has introduced the next generation of MuleSoft, a unified solution for automation, integration and APIs to automate any workflow.
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
SAS acquires Kamakura to propel risk technology innovation
Underscoring SAS growth in the domain-specific solutions space, the acquisition will enable SAS to greatly enhance the breadth of its risk solutions portfolio. 
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Samsung
Monitors are an excellent incentive for getting employees back
The pandemic has taught us that hybrid working is a lot easier than we would’ve thought, so how can the office be made to feel as comfortable as home? The answer could be staring you in the face right now.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity named a Leader in Access Management
Ping Identity has been named a leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Access Management. 
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Hybrid workforce
How organisations can prepare for a post-pandemic workforce
The so-called 'new normal' office looks different to how it did pre-pandemic, and organisations need to take steps to better manage their post-pandemic workforce. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Data ownership
Brands must reclaim trust by empowering data ownership
According to Twilio's new State of Personalisation Report 2022, 62% of consumers expect personalisation from brands, and yet only 40% trust brands to use their data responsibly and keep it safe.
Story image
Revenue
Datacom announces revenue of $1.45 billion, fall in profit
Growing market pressures and border closures saw Datacom place increased focus on talent development initiatives for both existing and future employees.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Accenture shares the benefits of supply chain visibility
It's clear that gaining better visibility into the supply chain will help organisations avoid excess costs, inefficiencies, and complexity to ultimately improve their bottom line.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Advent One acquires Layer 8 Networks, complements hybrid cloud offering
The acquisition comes at a time of surging demand in hybrid cloud, network virtualisation and network security.
Story image
Great Resignation
New SAP study uncovers impact of 'the great resignation'
Coined in 2021, the phrase 'the great resignation' refers to millions of employees globally leaving their jobs. The phenomenon is real and impacting SMEs.
Story image
Financial results
Margins & revenues up at New Zealand arm of Acer Computer
We look at the local financial statements of Taiwanese manufacturer Acer Computer Inc.
Story image
eCommerce
Robust digital warehouse management crucial in Asia-Pacific
Thanks to a network of “cloud” stores, grocery and food delivery providers such as Foodpanda can arrange for these commonly requested items to get packed up and sent over in almost no time.
Story image
Electrical
Up to $2.4 million shortfall in the collapse of IndeServe
We delve into the liquidators first report on long-standing networking service provider IndeServes collapse.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
Infrastructure
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure expands distributed cloud services
“Distributed cloud is the next evolution of cloud computing, and provides customers with more flexibility and control in how they deploy cloud resources."
Story image
Metaverse
How the metaverse will change the future of the supply chain
The metaverse is set to significantly change the way we live and work, so what problems can it solve in supply chain management?
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Sustainability
Vertiv releases updates on ESG initiatives, sets sights on future
Vertiv has released its inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) report, the company’s first public report of its ESG activities.
Story image
Airwallex
How Airwallex helps businesses achieve globalisation success
As markets continue to shift, businesses need to be able to provide the same quality of service for customers regardless of where they are located around the world.
Story image
Robotics
Evonik relies on Getac F110 tablet to control autonomous robot
The aim of the project is to evaluate the practicality of an automated robotic maintenance and inspection solution in the chemical industry.
Story image
Microsoft
ASI Solutions named finalist of Microsoft Surface Partner of the Year
"ASI Solutions has a strong Microsoft focus, building value by helping customers maximise investment in modern workplace solutions."
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Public Cloud
Public cloud services revenues top $400 billion in 2021
"For the next several years, leading cloud providers will play a critical role in helping enterprises navigate the current storms of disruption."
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.