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Collection of free software for network monitoring and servers

Collection of free software for network monitoring and servers

We have compiled another list of great free tools to monitor servers and the network. They are very important for any business, leading the work through the web site or the network.

Mantra in the world of real estate — location, Location, Location. For the world of system administration of the sacred text should be: Visibility, Visibility and more Visibility. If every second throughout the day, you thoroughly know what you are doing, your network and servers, you are like a pilot who is flying blind. You will inevitably face disaster.

Monitoring server and network allows you to be aware of all the issues as they arise; and this, in turn, allows you to make the right actions. Below is a selection where you can find some of the best tools for monitoring servers and networks. We propose to evaluate and choose those that most appeal.


Cacti provides the ability to create advanced graph templates, multiple data collection methods, as well as a new look at the user management functions. All this is wrapped in an intuitive and simple interface that makes sense for LAN-networks, to complex networks with hundreds of devices.

Cacti is a free program that is part of the LAMP-a set of server software that provides a standardized software platform for constructing graphs on the basis of almost any statistical data. If a device or service returns numeric data, they are likely to be integrated into Cacti. There are templates to monitor a wide range of equipment from Linux and Windows servers, to routers and switches Cisco, — basically everything communicates in SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol, simple network management Protocol). There are also collections of templates from third-party developers that further extend the already vast list of compatible with Cacti hardware and software.

Despite the fact that the standard method of data collection Cacti is SNMP also can be used by Perl scripts or PHP. Framework a software system cleverly separates into discrete instances of data collection and graphical display, making it easy to reprocess and reorganize the existing data for different visual representations. In addition, you can choose some time frame and individual parts of the graphs by simply clicking on them and dragging.

For example, you can quickly view data of the past several years, to see whether the current behavior of the network equipment or servers is abnormal, or these indicators appear regularly. And using Network Weathermap, PHP plug-in for Cacti, you without excessive efforts be able to create maps of your network in real time, showing congestion of communication channels between network devices implemented with the help of graphs that appear when you hover your mouse on the image network channel. Many organizations using Cacti, display these cards around the clock on a 42-inch LCD monitors mounted on the wall, allowing it professionals to instantly keep track of information about network traffic and channel status.

Thus, Cacti — it is a Toolkit with extensive capabilities for graphical display and analysis of trends in network performance, which can be used to monitor virtually any monitored metric that is represented as a graph. The solution also supports virtually unlimited opportunities for customization that can make it overly complex in certain applications.


Observium is a platform of automatic discovery for monitoring network SNMP-based, written in PHP which includes support for a wide range of network equipment and operating systems including Cisco, Windows, Linux, HP, Dell, FreeBSD, Juniper, Brocade, NetScaler, NetApp and many more.

Observium is a program for monitoring network equipment and servers, which has a huge list of supported devices using the SNMP Protocol. As software specific to LAMP, Observium is relatively easy to install and set up, requiring regular installations of Apache, PHP and MySQL databases, Apache configuration, and the like. It is installed as its own server with a dedicated URL.

You can log in to the GUI and start adding hosts and networks, as well as to set ranges for auto discovery and SNMP data that Observium could explore the surrounding network and gather information about each discovered system. Observium can also discover network devices using protocols CDP, LLDP, or FDP, and remote agents host can be deployed on Linux, to help in data collection.

All this collected information is available through easy to use user interface that provides advanced capabilities for statistical display of data and charts and graphs. You can get anything from the response time of ping and SNMP to graph bandwidth fragmentation, the number of IP packets, etc. depending on the device, these data can be accessed up to each discovered port.

As for the servers, then they Observium can also display information about the status of CPU, memory, storage, swap, temperature etc. from the event log. You can also include data collection and graphic display of the performance for a variety of services including Apache, MySQL, BIND, Memcached, Postfix and others.

Observium works fine as a virtual machine, so it can quickly become the main tool for obtaining information about the servers and networks. This is a great way to add automatic discovery and graphical representation of the network of any size.


The project Ntop — now for the “new generation” better known as Ntopng — I passed a long way of development over the last decade. But call it what you want — Ntop or Ntopng — in the end you will receive a top-notch tool for monitoring network traffic in a pair of quick and simple web interface. It’s written in C and completely self-sufficient. You run one process that is customized for a particular network interface, and that’s all he needs.

Ntop provides easily digestible graphs and tables showing current and past network traffic, including Protocol, source, destination, and history of specific transactions, as well as hosts on both ends. In addition, you will find an impressive array of graphs, charts and maps network usage in real time, as well as a modular architecture for a huge number of add-ons, such as adding monitors NetFlow and sFlow. Here you can even detect Nbox hardware monitor that is built into Ntop.

In addition, Ntop enables the API to a scripting programming language Lua, which can be used to support extensions. Ntop can also store the host data in the RRD files for the implementation of ongoing data collection.

One of the most useful applications of Ntopng is to control traffic at a specific location. For example, when your network map of the network of channels highlighted in red, but you don’t know why, you can use Ntopng to receive minute-by-minute report on the troubled network segment and immediately know which hosts are responsible for the problem.

The benefits of such network visibility is difficult to overestimate, but to get it very easily. In fact, you can run Ntopng on any interface that has been configured on the switch level to monitor another port or VLAN. That’s all.

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