Cloud technology has made it easier to set up and manage multiple servers for business purposes and applications. To meet increasing demand, many enterprises today choose to run large numbers of servers in the cloud or in their data centers. Monitoring technologies are now crucial as a result. This post will discuss the top server monitoring software and tools currently available. We will also discuss how you can choose the best monitoring tool for your needs.
What are Server Monitoring Tools?
Server performance monitoring tracks the performance of your server resources by gathering and analyzing metrics. Here is where monitoring software comes into play–It ensures that your applications run smoothly and that you have sufficient resources to run their processes. It monitors key server components.
- CPU: In order to maximize CPU utilization, the percentage should not exceed its maximum often and peak in a short time. It’s an indication that the system isn’t having enough headroom if the CPU is constantly maxed out or close to its maximum during peak periods.
- Use memory: If you see this indicator reaching its limit, it might be worth considering scaling up your servers horizontally or adding RAM.
- Storage: It is vital to be aware of storage usage in production systems. If there is not enough space, then system crashes can occur.
- Network: You can monitor network bandwidth and throughput to see how traffic is delivered to your server.
10 Best Server Monitoring Tools
There are many different types of server management tools. Each one focuses on a different aspect of monitoring. This section will discuss the top 10 server monitoring software and tools and highlight features.
Also read: 10 Best Network Mapping & Topology Software
1. Sematext Monitoring
Sematext provides unified monitoring tools for your servers and apps as well as stacks in multi-cloud environments. It provides easy-to-use dashboards that provide information about metrics, events, and logs. This allows you to gain valuable insights into server performance. You can also monitor server processes, all system packages, and their versions, uninstalls and installs, and other information.
The monitoring tool provides everything you need to troubleshoot faster and better. It includes alerting, anomaly detection, alerting, and correlation across all components, clusters, and containers. This monitoring solution provides an overview of your entire infrastructure from a top-down perspective. It also supports all server-related metrics such as CPU, memory, disk usage, and load.
Server monitoring doesn’t just focus on monitoring system metrics. Sematext also provides log autodiscovery which allows you to easily set up log collection and parsing as well as dashboards and alerts. Sematext is a comprehensive observability platform that allows you to send notifications to many different systems, including PagerDuty and Slack.
- Metric correlation between app performance and database traces, and log analytics
- Integrations support for all major cloud providers, Kubernetes, and containers
- Very simple GUI-based metric setup and log aggregate
- Alerts and support for anomaly detection
- Documentation for agents who are no longer active
- For sending custom metrics, agents for particular integrations may not be the best choice. Other tools may be used to send metrics to Sematext’s Influx Line Protocol compatible API for metric ingestion.
- Transactional tracing support is limited
Sematext offers a cost-effective pricing model that is based on how many agents/nodes are in your system. It also offers a free 14-day trial with no strings attached.
2. Prometheus and Grafana
Prometheus and Grafana have become very well-known open-source tools for monitoring server performance. To send Prometheus metrics, you’ll need to install several data-gathering tools known as exporters. Grafana allows you to create amazing dashboards with those metrics.
Because this is a DIY solution, it takes a lot of configuration and complexity to set up a server monitoring system with Prometheus or Grafana. It is possible to do it if you have the right skills. Prometheus will run on your infrastructure so you don’t have to send your metrics to third-party vendors.
Grafana and Prometheus support server monitoring alerts, with many channel integrations, including Slack and PagerDuty, and Microsoft Teams.
Grafana and Prometheus are an open-source combination that gives you great flexibility while providing excellent server performance monitoring.
- Open-source and free with a huge support community
- Support for push-and-pull metric scraping models and automatic service discovery
- Support for custom metrics. A large number of exporters are available to export Prometheus metrics from different sources
- Prometheus is complex and time-consuming to manage; operational overhead if your employees are not familiar with the tool
- Manually configure and manage Prometheus exporters
- For graphs and alerts, manual setup is required
Grafana and Prometheus are open-source, free server monitoring tools.
3. SolarWinds Server & Application Manager
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor provides reliable monitoring for virtual servers in the cloud, hybrid, and on-premise environments. It can provide insight into your server usage and application performance, depending on the environment.
This solution can monitor your entire infrastructure and servers. Remote server monitoring, automatic server services monitoring and monitoring, server health monitoring, application monitoring, monitoring server inventory, monitoring server processes, and monitoring server applications are just some of the capabilities. The box provides coverage for databases, containers, and applications, as well as alerts and more than 1,200 dashboards.
- Monitoring support from end-to-end with correlated metrics
- Application dependency mapping and service discovery automatically
- Help and recommendations regarding server capacity planning
- Alerts are not affected by anomaly detection
- No support for identity federation with the LDAP
- The dashboard has limited reporting and generic filters
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor fees are per-host and per month. You can also get a 30-day trial for free.
Dynatrace, a complete server performance monitoring tool, is available as both a software-as-a-service (SaaS) and on-site. Dynatrace can monitor server metrics and logs. This should be sufficient for most monitoring requirements.
Dynatrace setup is simple. It takes only a few minutes to convert your metrics into beautiful dashboards that provide insight into your servers’ memory, CPU, and network health, right down to the process level.
Dynatrace can provide process-specific metrics. It monitors your servers and uses artificial intelligence to automatically comprehend the details of your entire application architecture. This includes the evaluation of performance issues, availability, and other issues.
Dynatrace has minimal overhead and complexity. It is an excellent monitoring tool for your company’s infrastructure spread across multiple cloud platforms.
- On-premises version available
- All-in-one platform that supports infrastructure, application performance, and business analytics.
- AI-powered alerts and anomaly detection
- Some limited dashboard functionalities
- It is difficult to use and requires additional training
- Documentation is not up to date
Dynatrace charges vary based on how much data is ingested each month. You can try Dynatrace for free for 15 days.
Datadog monitors your network, infrastructure, apps, and logs with its server monitoring system. Datadog’s most notable feature is its ability to provide a single view of monitoring, with correlated metrics that are associated with server log discovery or traces. This feature is very useful when debugging performance issues with your servers. Monitoring server metrics along with application data can help you uncover hidden causes of lag such as overburdened hosts and contested databases.
Datadog installation is simple. You just need to install the metric-collecting agent. Once the agent has been installed, you can view server health and monitor metrics in real-time via beautiful dashboards. You can reduce alert fatigue caused by noisy hosts by setting up conditional alerts that use a combination of events and metrics.
- Log aggregation and Analytics Support
- Alerts and support for anomaly detection
- Custom Datadog integrations and support for custom metrics
- No self-hosted solution
- It can be difficult to use and overwhelming for novice users
- Lack of support for JSON Log Processing results in limited log analytics
Datadog’s cost is variable depending on the number of hosts/hosts you have installed. You also need to buy each feature separately. It is free to use for 14 days, and you can monitor unlimited servers.
6. New Relic
New Relic provides a comprehensive view of your entire infrastructure from one place. New Relic is a newer monitoring tool that focuses more on server and container monitoring. It combines all your correlated metrics into a single data plane. This allows you to quickly pursue an inquiry and see exactly how everything connects.
It is equipped with an open and flexible integration platform that allows it to support and integrate many systems including Prometheus and Kubernetes as well as AWS, Azure, and GCP.
New Relic’s server monitor software is easy to set up in less than five minutes. You can also gain instant insight into your system. With its easy-to-use SDK and out-of-the-box integrations with other systems, customization is simple. New Relic is a great choice if you have a lot of containers and Kubernetes-related workloads.
- Support for correlated metrics
- Alerts and proactive anomaly detection
- Integrations for cloud providers of top quality; support for open standard integrations
- No self-hosted solution
- Steady learning curve
- Alert management requires less control
- A pricing model that charges users and data
New Relic offers different packages each month depending on the amount of data consumed and the number of users. Unlimited free plans allow for 100GB data intake each month.
7. ManageEngine OpManager
ManageEngine OpManager provides server performance monitoring software that is easy to use and affordable. It focuses more on the network. It offers advanced server and network monitoring capabilities such as network traffic flow visualization, and end-to-end server network monitoring.ManageEngine OpManager, which is used by VoIP users, can monitor and report on the VoIP performance of your servers. This will give you insights into how to improve it.
Monitoring support is also available for any device that has a network connection. This includes servers, switches, routers, load bales, firewalls, and printers.
ManageEngine OpManager monitors your network continuously and provides a comprehensive insight into it and allows you to take control of it. ManageEngine OpManager will be a good fit for organizations that place a lot of emphasis on network monitoring, particularly if they are telco-based.
- Monitoring of the entire network from end to end
- Monitoring physical devices (e.g. routers and switches)
- Monitoring and troubleshooting VoIP performance
- There is no cloud-based SaaS version.
- Network correlation and application performance monitoring are not available
- Management of continuous patch updates causes operational overhead
Each customer determines ManageEngine OpManager’s pricing. You can monitor up to 3 devices with the free version.
AppDynamics, a business-first platform for observing your digital transformation, provides the most important insights to help you monitor server performance and improve application monitoring. It allows you to identify issues in application server performance that could impact business performance. You can also view correlated server metrics and application metrics to see the complete picture of cloud investments that are supporting business.
AppDynamics offers a wide range of metrics and dashboards. AppDynamics can integrate with third-party alerting tools like ServiceNow, PagerDuty, and Jira.
AppDynamics can be a great solution if your company is more business-oriented. Stakeholders are always looking for economic value in any digital infrastructure investment. AppDynamics’ “business-first” mentality allows stakeholders to see how cloud infrastructure investments affect business KPIs such as revenue and correlated server and application performance metrics.
- Correlation between application performance metrics and server- and network performance metrics
Alerts and detection of anomalies
- Business-first platform for observability and capacity-planning recommendations
- Advanced features require a steep learning curve
- Inadequate tutorials and documentation
- Versions that are self-hosted are not available
AppDynamics charges per core. AppDynamics offers a free 15-day trial.
Also read: Top 5 Network Traffic Monitoring Tools
9. Sensu Go
Sensu Go is an observability platform, that supports server performance metrics. It allows you to identify gaps in monitoring the visibility of correlations among metrics, logs and tracing. Sensu can seamlessly integrate existing monitoring technologies like Nagios and Telegraf, Prometheus, and StatsD.
Sensu Go’s key feature is its ability to support monitoring as code. This tool allows you to define monitoring workflows by sharing declarative configuration files with your team members. You can also write tests, manage version control, and edit and review in a proper GitOps fashion.
Sensu supports multiple clouds and all related infrastructure. It is a great server monitoring solution if your company follows GitOps principles.
- Support for monitoring code, useful for GitOps practices
- All major cloud providers supported
- Integrable with existing monitoring platforms such as Prometheus and Nagios that support open standards
- Support and documentation for community plugins are lacking
- Complex UI, the learning curve to manage
- Inadequate documentation
Sensu Go is completely free for up to 100 nodes. After that, you can subscribe to different node bundles.
10. Nagios XI
Nagios XI provides comprehensive software to monitor enterprise servers and network performance. Nagios XI, the business version of Nagios was built on top of the open-source server performance monitoring tools. It has more functionality and takes less time to administer. Nagios is a server monitoring tool that focuses on network traffic, application performance, and server metrics. It uses agents to collect data from both network elements and components.
Nagios can also be connected to network switches and other components by querying their status via the Simple Network Management Protocol. It uses the Windows Management Instrumentation protocol to communicate with Windows-based products and gather data.
Nagios can be downloaded as a bundle that includes specific packages for each product, which is compatible with either Windows or Linux. After the tool has been downloaded and installed, you will need to complete a series of initial setups. After the agents are deployed, data should start coming into Nagios as well as its standard dashboards.
This solution is flexible and adaptable, so it’s a great fit for many businesses. However, this high customization comes with extra complexity and maintenance overhead.
- Support for network-related parts like switches and routers
- High customization; allows for custom metrics
- Monitoring of both Windows and Linux servers
- A limited number of default dashboards
- Complex UI; not user-friendly configuration
- Operational overhead and maintenance
Nagios XI can be used in small environments for free, but you will need to purchase an annual license after installing seven monitoring nodes.
Last Line – Server Performance Monitoring Tools
To keep your applications running smoothly, you need real-time monitoring of the server. It is crucial to have a complete understanding of the status of your server and how it affects your architecture. Operating an in-house monitoring system can be costly and have a large operational overhead. This is often underestimated. SaaS monitoring allows for operational compliance and cost savings. You can avoid revenue loss from a performance or bug problem that affects your commercial services by having faster debugging.