Tools for Monitoring and Patching Your Network

Being Proactive with your network is vital to preventing untold amounts of downtime. Imagine the time, cost, and headache saved if you already knew that hard drive was failing before all the data was lost, or how if you knew the moment that your email server’s CPU fan had failed? This is why 24/7 proactive monitoring is offered with GeekOut Technologies managed support solutions. For those of you who are interested in DIY monitoring, there are a variety of free tools to help you accomplish this and I’ve compiled a list of them:


Spiceworks is a newer tool designed for networks with up to 1000 devices. It can discover, inventory, and monitor devices on the network. Spiceworks is Windows only and does not have a client or agent component so I haven’t found a good way to use it with arrangements such as branch offices. Despite the limitations, it is relatively simple and can be a good tool for technology departments in small to medium sized organizations that have a dedicated IT department.


Zabbix is a truly free and open source monitoring solution. Zabbix can monitor just about any server or desktop with agent or agentless setup (the agent allows for more options of course) and also supports some automated responses to problems such as restarting Apache if web services crash. Zabbix can be complex and is generally used in large to extremely large organizations.


Zenoss represents one of the hardcore monitoring options and offers trend predictions to assist in planning. Zenoss is aimed predominantly at enterprise level monitoring and offers a high degree of functionality. One of the major draws to Zenoss is the extensibility it provides through the use of Zenpacks which are essentially add on modules which extend functionality. Given that it is aimed squarely at the enterprise market, Zenoss is not for the faint of heart or those without abundant IT experience but if you can surmount the learning curve it offers a wealth of capability.


Nagios, like Zenoss, is another hardcore enterprise offering. Nagios is very powerful, offers agent and agentless monitoring, and allows certain automated responses such as service restarts if it recognizes a service has crashed. Like Zenoss, there are plugins available for Nagios to allow it to do even more; unfortunately, Nagios, like Zenoss, has a reputation for being difficult to set up properly for those who aren’t highly competent with advanced IT.

OpenRSM/Monocrat /

OpenRSM and Monocrat, an application based off of OpenRSM, are both Windows network offerings that allow simple monitoring of Windows computers for small to medium sized networks.  Inventory and grouping is also included; however, where they stand out from other monitoring solutions is in their ability to deploy updates and software to Windows based systems.


There are other monitoring solutions available such as Cacti and OpenNMS among a slew of others. The choice really depends on the abilities of the IT person setting it all up. Of course, as previously mentioned you can have all the benefits of 24/7 monitoring provided hassle free with a managed support contract from GeekOut Technologies!


Isaac Johnson

Isaac has been in professional ministry since 2002, holds an M.Div. from Moody, and his goal is to equip churches to reach digital natives.

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