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What Windows Server monitoring tools are right for my budget?

Windows Server monitoring tools range in cost from less than a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Here are some options to consider.

Businesses find a wide variety of tools when they need to monitor the performance of their Windows servers. The products can be broken down into two categories. First are specialized systems that monitor server performance. These products come from small, niche vendors and typically have a low price tag. Second are the unified management products, which come from the industry behemoths. They monitor every item in the data center and are quite costly, sometimes running up to seven figures. Consequently, a business's pocketbook determines which type of solution best meets their needs.

LogicMonitor ($4-19 per host, volume dependent)

LogicMonitor automates server monitoring discovery and configuration functions; LogicMonitor will determine the version of Windows Server running on the server and apply the appropriate thresholds. The monitoring toolkit examines system and network resources consumed by Windows servers. Reports outline how CPU, memory, network and disk perform for all servers in the data center. The product also outlines user logon and logoff times and the time spent in different session states: active, idle, disconnected and remote.

SolarWinds (starts at $2,995)

SolarWinds' Windows Server & Application Monitor evaluates various components: servers, virtual layers and more than 150 applications, including SQL Server, Exchange and Active Directory. The product includes monitoring, reporting, alerting and asset inventory in one product. Adding a Windows Management Instrumentation element requires clicking on a server icon, browsing the list of available counters and selecting the ones needed. Customers can also customize alerts, reports and dashboards for their needs.

EventSentry (starts at $85)

EventSentry was originally developed as a free event log monitoring application and released in the spring of 2001. Near the end of 2002 the solution, which starts at $85, became a commercial product. The system features real-time event log monitoring. Customers define which event log messages interest various members of the data center team. For example, database server-related messages are sent to the database administrator and other critical messages go to the network administrator.

Microsoft System Center (price varies; Datacenter edition: $3,607)

Microsoft's System Center monitors the health of physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. Techies find the Operations Manager console familiar, and a connection between it and Microsoft's Virtual Machine Manager enables granular monitoring of private cloud infrastructure resources. A built-in network topology discovery feature identifies and monitors the health of network devices. The System Center Management Pack for Microsoft Azure allows for monitoring of Microsoft Azure resources.

CA Unified Infrastructure Management for Windows Servers (price varies)

CA UIM for Windows Servers analyzes the performance and availability of core Windows servers. This option monitors resources like CPU, memory, disk and event logs, and enables management of remote processes and services, such as automated and manual start/restart/stop. The solution's end-user experience monitoring function evaluatesapplication response time on a Windows server or the performance of a business' entire IT infrastructure.

Windows Server monitoring tools come in all shapes and sizes. For smaller businesses, niche vendors offer appropriate products. For larger enterprises, well-known management suppliers have developed comprehensive management suites. Consequently, options abound for the Windows Server manager looking to gain more insight into the performance of the firm's systems.

Next Steps

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