Compare 8 IT monitoring tools
Choosing the right computer monitoring tools can make the difference between system setbacks or success, so create a strategy and take the time to consider all available options.
IT monitoring helps organizations understand if the software and hardware in their IT environment is performing as expected. This information is nearly impossible to collect, track, and translate as an organization without creating a strategy. Turn to computer monitoring tools for help.
To choose a tool, determine what information or metrics should be tracked and why. Reasons include monitoring data, boosting application performance, tracking system health issues, and long-term planning. Start by comparing features, benefits, and costs to determine which software will work best for the organization.
The following list of computer monitoring tools is in no particular order.
IT and DevOps teams use Datadog to review performance metrics and event monitoring for infrastructure, platform, applications, and cloud services. Datadog uses an API to support over 450 integrations, such as Kubernetes, AWS, Azure, Chef, and Jenkins. It also automates log data tagging and correlations.
The tool allows IT administrators to create customizable and detailed dashboards, but only provides a few predefined options. The software can be deployed on-premises or installed as a SaaS application.
Datadog can be difficult to learn, like Grafana, due to the number of features and graphical concepts provided by each. Organizations and IT administrators should spend as much time as possible familiarizing themselves with all aspects of the tool. Additionally, organizations should consider that Datadog and Grafana require administrators to find a way to distribute configurations among machines.
Datadog is free for up to five hosts and one day of data retention. A Pro account costs $15 per host, per month, and an Enterprise account costs $23 per host, per month.
Zabbix is an infrastructure monitoring tool that shines with the flexibility of the monitoring system. The tool covers a wide variety of IT components, such as virtual machines, servers, cloud services, and networks. It provides metrics for network, CPU load and disk space consumption.
Zabbix is ideal for companies looking for a customizable tool, as it provides automated and personalized dashboard templates. It also provides an API that allows administrators to create new applications, automate tasks, and integrate with third-party software. This provides better extensibility and access to Zabbix features and monitoring data.
IT administrators can use Zabbix for agent-based and agentless monitoring. It can run in the cloud or on-premises, but does not have a hosted SaaS application. Zabbix is open source and free to download.
Dynatrace is an infrastructure-focused monitoring platform for cloud, on-premises, and hybrid environments. It has customizable dashboards that provide easy and quick access to data. Administrators can configure the platform to monitor network health, storage, CPU, and memory. Dynatrace works with cloud services, such as AWS and Azure.
Systems can host Dynatrace as a SaaS application or deploy it in a hybrid cloud environment. Dynatrace can integrate with and track OpenShift, Docker, and Kubernetes.
Dynatrace pricing starts at $11 per month for the digital experience monitoring package and goes up to $69 per month for the full stack monitoring.
Grafana is an open source monitoring system that works as a web application. It excels as a virtualization tool and provides interactive graphics for administrators, although the organization and design of the dashboards are limited to those available from Grafana Labs and its community.
Grafana can integrate with a number of data sources and visualize metrics for AWS CloudWatch, Azure Monitor, Microsoft SQL Server, InfluxDB, and Elasticsearch.
Grafana has an open API, but must integrate with other tools, such as Prometheus, Azure Monitor, or MySQL, to collect data. The tool can also only display data from one data source at a time, making it difficult to compare multiple data sources at the same time.
However, Grafana and Datadog are similar in that they both have a steep learning curve for new users. To use them, administrators must find a way to distribute the configurations made from one machine to many. But DevOps tools like Salt can help administrators avoid maintaining these tools manually.
Grafana is free on GitHub. The Pro version provides additional features, such as retaining metrics and data source permissions for 13 months, and starts at $49 per month. An advanced version is available for custom data usage with on-demand pricing.
Nagios is an open source IT infrastructure monitoring system. It was originally designed to run on a Linux operating system, but now it can run Unix variants and Windows operating systems.
Nagios allows IT admins to spot issues before they become a problem. The system can run both self-initiated active checks and passive checks with external applications. It checks application, network and server resources and sends notifications if systems reach critical levels. This ensures that IT admins can resolve any issues before they get out of control. The system can also run agentless and agent-based configurations.
Two popular Nagios software tools include Nagios Core and Nagios XI. Nagios Core is free and suitable for small businesses. Nagios XI is more suitable for large enterprises as it includes additional features, such as detailed graphs, reports and capacity planning. The standard edition of Nagios XI starts at $1,995 and the Enterprise edition at $3,495.
Prometheus is a monitoring and alerting toolkit for microservices, containers, and distributed applications. It is a time series database that can run in Docker or Go applications.
Prometheus is strongest in its metric data collection capabilities. It records measurements in real time and works to quickly diagnose problems to ensure smooth operation for customers. But the tool requires additional coding of client libraries to define and define specific metrics.
It also does not provide long-term storage, so administrators must create and manage a storage pool.
Prometheus is a self-contained service, which means it does not rely on remote services, such as network or storage. Prometheus is open source and free to download.
Both Grafana and Prometheus are time series data tools, so they can integrate for microservices, container-based systems, and applications.
AppDynamics is an infrastructure monitoring tool for servers, storage, and network components. With its comprehensive observability platform, AppDynamics collects and analyzes data with a set of APIs from open source tools and agentless third-party services.
AppDynamics gives administrators a comprehensive view of server components, such as server memory, CPU, and disk usage. Once the information is collected, AppDynamics translates it into detailed dashboards. The tool works in both cloud and hybrid environments, on-premises or in SaaS mode.
AppDynamics’ Infrastructure Monitoring Edition costs $6 per month, per CPU core, and provides infrastructure monitoring only. The Premium edition costs $60 and the Enterprise edition costs $90.
New Relic is an application performance monitoring tool that collects, analyzes and reports performance metrics to IT administrators. The tool provides real-time metrics on CPU, memory, disks, and network status. Administrators can view collected data on dashboards that the system automatically creates to track tracking information.
New Relic uses application alerts and reports consisting of detailed error analysis. This means administrators can find out the exact location and specific details of an error.
It provides cross-app tracing, so instead of switching between different apps to monitor information, all information is in one place. New Relic supports Java and external environments. However, the platform does not provide agent management, which may incur additional costs for some organizations.
New Relic offers a free version for people who want to try out the tool. It also offers a Standard plan for $0.25 per GB, as well as Pro and Enterprise plans with pricing provided upon request.