14 Ways to do Server Monitoring from the Cloud
Posted by Jeffrey Huckaby 08/30/2010
Server monitoring is rapidly moving into the cloud. At conferences this year, such as HostingCon, I saw several new entrants into this crowded marketplace. Also, long time server monitoring software vendors, such as NimSoft, are releasing their server monitoring tools as SaaS solutions. The scope of monitoring capabilities, pricing, and ease of use varies considerably between these vendors but most offer free trials so you can take a test drive to see if they meet your needs.
Cloud or SaaS-based Server Monitoring Companies
AlertSite provides comprehensive monitoring solutions, including performance, availability and business transaction monitoring. Though I have not used them directly, I have had clients with AlertSite accounts. They can build some very robust monitoring solutions, especially for transaction, like shopping cart checkouts.
Bijk is a newcomer. I missed their presentation at HostingCon this year as I was getting ready for my own talk on Outsourcing IT Management. They can deliver real-time performance metrics for your site, including server metrics like CPU, apache status and more. I like that their pricing plans include all features regardless of the number of servers.
Dotcom Monitor provides 13 monitoring location worldwide, but what may set them apart is their VoIP monitoring service. Quite frankly, I don’t know too much about VoIP other than when there are network issues, I have to switch to my phone. So if you run VoIP services, you may want to check them out.
Monitis may sound like a disease but they are rapidly building a robust, cloud-based monitoring solution. I tried them a few months ago but found the interface and setup process clumsy. Perhaps, they deserve a second look as the tools they provide are impressive.
MonitorGrid will monitor up to two Windows servers for free. For a small operation, this could be all you need. Right now they only handle Microsoft servers, but thought I would include them in case you need MS Exchange monitoring or SQL Server monitoring.
Nimsoft is a market leader in all things monitoring. I notice recently that they have Nimsoft On-Demand. This could be worth checking out if you need the enterprise recognition of Nimsoft but don’t want to setup your own monitoring infrastructure.
OpManager has geared up to server the managed service provider market. They offer some very nice tools, but when I looked at their self-hosted product, I found it too Microsoft focused for our needs. They are certainly worth a look if you need robust infrastructure, network and server monitoring.
Panopta provides a free 30 day trial for 20 service monitors. They offer 60 second monitoring intervals. They are relatively new to the market, and I am not quite clear what all they can provide. I notice you can record server configuration within their portal which could be good if you manage a lot of servers in different locations.
Pingdom is probably one of the best on-demand monitoring solutions. While they do not offer the robust monitoring of some of the others, they offer very easy to use, multi-geographic monitoring solutions. We use them to monitor our own monitoring network.
ScoutApp appears to be a streamlined server performance and availability monitoring solution. They claim to have a 5 minute install process and then you configure everything through their web portal. I like their philosophy of “products don’t have to be complicated to be powerful.” I plan to check them out soon.
ServerDensity has been gaining ground in the hosting circles. I’ve see a few hosting vendors now start including their monitoring services by default. I have tried them and setup is easy. You just have to put a monitor on your site. They provide very basic performance monitoring and their interface is easy to use.
Shalb SPAE is a group I need to check out. They appear to do monitoring via SNMP but I need to dig more. They do web server monitoring, DNS monitoring and more all without external agents, which could be nice if you don’t permit 3rd party software on your servers.
Soasta is not quite a server monitor but a member of a growing group of cloud-based load application testing solutions. If you need to test your applications scalability, simulating load from the cloud is the way to go.
What’s your Favorite SaaS or Cloud-Based Server Monitoring Company?
rackAID is currently evaluating many solutions to beef up our server monitoring services. Cacti, a free, open source system is great, but we’ve not found it user friendly enough to include in our server management services.
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