What are some free Windows Server monitoring tools?

Our admins can't get everything they need from native monitoring tools. What free tools can we use to monitor the overall health of Windows Server?

Microsoft offers some native tools for monitoring Windows Server. But often, administrators want or need to dig a little deeper in the environment to keep an eye on performance, memory consumption, capacity and overall system health. Now they can turn to a variety of freeware tools for help. Here's a look at some free third-party monitoring tools for Windows Server.

Nagios. This set of open source tools features a management suite that originally began as a a network management system. Gradually, however, Nagios was beefed up to include monitoring capabilities for data center systems, including Windows servers. Nagios monitors the performance of Windows services, such as Internet Information Services (IIS), Exchange Server and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). The tool alerts admins if a service slows or stops.

Windows Health Monitor. Windows Health Monitor from ManageEngine can manage up to 10 Windows servers to track server memory consumption, disk use, bandwidth capacity and application performance. Admins set threshold levels and receive notices if the server resource use exceeds preset levels.

Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) Management Utilities. This tool is a set of interface specifications for computer subsystems that provides management and monitoring independent of the host system's CPU, firmware or operating system. IPMI Management Utilities performs common server management functions, such as viewing a firmware log and working with out-of-band communications, so network problems have minimal affect. IPMI lets admins manage a computer that is powered off or unresponsive.

CN=Monitor. CN=Monitor offers a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP, Directory Server Monitoring tool. Because directories act like traffic cops on enterprise networks, performance is key to delivering quality service. CN=Monitor verifies system replication, examines clusters and load balancers, evaluates system schema, and monitors cache size. The tool also evaluates trends and generates email alerts when needed. The system enables companies to ensure server configurations perform to specified levels.

New Relic Servers. This software as a service monitoring tool examines which servers have capacity issues, allowing admins to take corrective action before a problem arises. Processes are prioritized by memory or CPU consumption. The system monitors server health availability in cloud, physical or hybrid environments, and can work on more than 690 billion metrics per day across more than 4 million applications.

About the author:
Paul Korzeniowski is a freelance writer who specializes in Windows computing issues. He has been covering technology issues for more than two decades, is based in Sudbury, Mass,, and can be reached at
[email protected].

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