Readers’ choice: Network management, Part 1

* Readers share their top picks for network management tools

Our readers have come through for us again. Many thanks to all of you who responded with your recommendations for your favorite network management tools. Because of the overwhelming response from readers, we’ll cover your favorites in both this week’s and next week’s columns.

Our readers have come through for us again. Many thanks to all of you who responded with your recommendations for your favorite network management tools. Because of the overwhelming response from readers, we’ll cover your favorites in this week’s and next week’s columns.

SolarWinds Engineer’s Edition

This was recommended by several readers. One reader said, “In less than an hour, I had the licensed version downloaded from the Web site and installed. Not long after that, I was able to produce reports for line utilization... Line utilization and basic response time are great, plus data is stored so that I can go back a week or a month or a year.”

Another reader especially likes the Switch Port Mapper: “I have saved several hours of work this year because of this tool.” Yet another reader says, “Not cheap, but a really slick package.”

NetWatch Suite from Crannog Software

This was also recommended by several readers. One reader reports that the software consists of “simple yet effective point solutions that have outpaced all our larger NMS products in both usage and effectiveness.”

Another user says, “NetFlow Monitor is a low-cost solution to the issue of traffic visibility, while NetWatch allows us to custom-build all our network maps through quick and simple point-n-click procedures.”

It requires little or no training and maintenance, according to other users.

WhatsUp Gold from Ipswitch

One user says, “It packs much of the functionality of very expensive products with a price tag that is very affordable.”

Another reader reports, “We were able, within a few minutes of installation, to auto-discover most of our network equipment and begin sending status alerts to our text phones. In addition, we monitor for services that should not go down and Web content changes.”

Yet another user uses it “to report simple service-level agreement compliance and to keep my users honest about how many outages really happen.”

Protocol analyzers

One reader recommended WildPackets’ Etherpeek NX 2.0 as a protocol analyzer: “Great functionality at a bargain price.” He says that it has helped him solve intermittent, complex application problems.

Another recommended tool is Sniffer Distributed from Network Associates. A reader says, “I don’t think we could live without this tool in our tool kit.”

Packeteer PacketShaper

One user says, “We’ve loved how granular the reporting and configuration is when applied to applications or hosts. It has allowed us to take a fully congested 768K bit/sec WAN link and effectively get more out of it.”

NMIS (Network Management Information System)

This was recommended by a couple of readers. It’s free through an open-source GNU GPL license, and it runs on Linux. One reader says that the support is “better than any support I ever had.” He likes the user-friendly Web interface that has a dashboard, which “shows the status of all my 200 networking devices in a page in a brief, hierarchical and colored way… I can easily locate the root and the extension of the problem.”

Observer from Network Instruments

This tool is another reader’s choice because “it’s the most functional and diverse platform offered today.” The reader also says he could not do the same job with another product.

Stay tuned for more user-recommended network management tools in next week’s column.

Learn more about this topic

SolarWinds Engineer’s Edition

WildPackets on EtherPeek NX

Crannog on NetWatch

NMIS

Network Instruments on Observer

Packeteer on PacketShaper

Sniffer Distributed product details

Ipswitch on WhatsUp Gold

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