With the rise of enterprise networks over the past few decades, and in recent years with the increase in virtual, cloud, and edge networks, monitoring tools have become increasingly important. In most businesses today, monitoring network traffic in a hybrid IT environment is critical for proactive network management. Whether detecting anomalies in behavior, consuming bandwidth, responding to new threats, or charting trends using historical data, monitoring tools will remain essential in the future.
What is a network monitoring tool?
Network monitoring tools are software applications or hardware appliances designed to help network administrators maintain consistent visibility into historical and real-time traffic on local, cloud, virtual, and edge networks and their components.
Network monitoring considers the behavior, traffic, and health of standard network components, such as endpoint devices, firewalls, routers, switches, and servers. Administrators can use network monitoring tools to enhance visibility and deepen performance control, fault tolerance, and system or account activity.
Network monitoring software features
- Detect and diagnose network-specific events for resolution
- Establish network performance baselines for regular audits
- Track network performance, activity levels, and downtime trends
- Visualize network performance and trends with graphical tools
- Record and analyze historical and real-time events
- Identify network devices and systems for continuous visibility
- Control alert policies to notify stakeholders of unusual activity
- Use actionable data to identify needed remedial actions
Database monitoring such as SQL Server monitoring has long been used to track the flow of data in enterprise systems. In contrast, Application Performance Monitoring (APM) is the latest solution to how users interact with applications and the increasingly complex application ecosystem.
At the same time, monitoring solutions for databases, applications, networks, and specific IT systems are complementary and critical to visibility across the enterprise environment.
What is Network Detection and Response (NDR)?
In the evolution of endpoint security solutions, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and its managed version (MDR) are all too familiar. Today, the advent of XDR overshadows a key component of a comprehensive solution—Network Detection and Response (NDR).
NDR goes beyond traditional EDR in monitoring, detecting, and responding to internal cyber threats. NDR solutions typically provide administrators with visibility and control for insider threat detection, user behavior analysis, and more.
This article will cover 15 of the best network monitoring tools for 2022.
The network performance monitoring market includes tools that leverage a combination of data sources to provide an overall view of network performance (including on-premises, cloud, multi-cloud, hybrid, and other enterprise networks).
Auvik is a fast-growing network management software company that provides tools such as IT asset management, traffic analysis, and performance monitoring through its cloud-based solutions. Customers can choose between Auvik’s Essentials and Performance plans, both of which offer unlimited users, network sites, endpoints, and support. The Essentials plan covers monitoring and alerting, but larger companies will appreciate Performance’s additional tools for forensic traffic data, ML-based application visibility, and network traffic analysis.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Auvik has 23 reviews in the network performance monitoring market with an average score of 4.8/5 stars. Comments highlight the ease of setup and integration of standard APIs, component monitoring capabilities, and intelligent network traffic analysis.
- AES-256 encryption of data at rest and TLS v1.2 encryption in transit
- Tools for remote management, global dashboards, and geographic IP tracking
- Access to the 24×7 DevOps team for technical support and remediation of active threats
- Logical secure access including role-based access control, 2FA, and SSO
- Automatically configure backup and recovery for elastic policies and controls
Assembled by Broadcom subsidiary CA Technologies, DX NetOps provides network visibility and actionable intelligence for monitoring the digital user experience. Broadcom’s broad IT solutions stack includes several AI-based observability products for operational intelligence, application performance and unified infrastructure management, and network monitoring. Given the potential for bundling between Broadcom’s monitoring services and Symantec’s broader cybersecurity suite, AIOps is worth considering.
In Gartner Peer Insights, Broadcom has an average score of 4.5/5 stars out of 75 reviews in the IT infrastructure and network performance monitoring market. Reviews highlight product features such as endpoint monitoring and topology mapping, as well as the availability of third-party resources.
- Continuous feedback loop for improving data management across DevOps
- Monitor mainframes, networks, infrastructure, applications, and digital experiences
- Dashboard with analysis of services, alerts, logs, and performance metrics
- Network monitoring for cloud, SD-WAN, and traditional core networks
- Service Orchestration and Automation for Complex IT Environments
Catchpoint was launched in 2008 as a dedicated monitoring tool provider as organizations began to dabble in cloud services. Today, the New York City-based provider’s mission is to monitor the end-to-end digital experience of hybrid network users through its Catchpoint platform. Customers can choose individual monitoring solutions for endpoint, network, synthetic monitoring, and real user monitoring (RUM), or bundled with the Catchpoint platform.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Catchpoint has 108 reviews in the network performance monitoring market with an average score of 4.7/5 stars. The review highlighted the quality and timeliness of technical support, ease of deployment, and service delivery monitoring capabilities.
- Visibility to third-party providers, local ISPs, CDNs, APIs, and DNS
- Comprehensive global monitoring via cloud, wireless, broadband, last mile nodes, and more
- Actionable alerts, reports, and insights for reducing MTTR and MTTD
- Protects against DNS cache poisoning, DDoS attacks, and BGP route hijacking
- Monitor employee VPNs to assess performance, reachability, and security
More than just a cute logo, Datadog provides a powerful solution for monitoring, performance metrics, and alert notifications for today’s IT environments. Founded in 2010 by veteran SaaS and DevOps industry leaders, Datadog focuses on optimizing service-oriented architectures that help organizations monitor user journeys and explore service relationships. Administrators can group traffic by container, team, or office, and filter data by tag, device, or host.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Datadog has 211 reviews in the IT infrastructure monitoring tools market, with an average score of 4.5/5 stars. Reviews highlight interactive dashboards, levels of customization, troubleshooting, and ease of use and implementation.
- Visibility across on-premises, IoT, digital experiences, cloud, and hybrid networks
- Isolate and resolve network issues and identify high-traffic teams
- Visualize network traffic across data centers, containers, and applications
- Integrated metrics for identifying issues with cloud service providers
- System-wide DNS performance and health tracking with multiple metrics
Dynatrace provides a full-stack application performance monitoring and digital experience platform for modern hybrid environments. With Dynatrace, administrators can access infrastructure monitoring capabilities for entity relationships, behaviors, logs, metrics, and vulnerability profiles. Built-in capabilities include optimizing KPIs and user experience, automating processes, and enriching DevSecOps communication and collaboration.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Dynatrace has an average score of 4.6/5 stars out of 90 reviews for the IT infrastructure and network performance monitoring market. Reviews highlight the monitoring capabilities of servers, storage systems, and databases, as well as the availability of third-party resources.
- Change tracking to automatically monitor new machines and network equipment
- Track inbound and outbound process connections through network interfaces
- Root cause analysis to determine the impact on customer experience and remediate
- Capacity planning by identifying resource-intensive processes at the host and process level
- Health metrics such as RAM, CPU, disk, and network health in a single dashboard
ExtraHop is a cloud-native cybersecurity vendor that specializes in monitoring today’s hybrid workloads and state-of-the-art network detection and response (NDR) solutions. Through the Reveal(x) 360 platform, customers can optimize visibility for a core, remote, edge, and cloud deployments, detect threats in real-time, and automate investigation workflows. With Reveal(x) Advisor, organizations can get help from on-demand analysts with deployment, application mapping, and SOC or risk optimization.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Extrahop has an average score of 4.8/5 stars from 133 reviews in the network performance monitoring market. Reviews highlight response to product issues, quality and availability of end-user training, and product features such as IT operations analytics and diagnostics.
Features of ExtraHop
- Identify and deploy Reveal(x) to monitor selected hybrid or multi-cloud networks
- Machine Learning for Network Traffic Behavior Analysis and Investigation
- Cloud-based records warehouse with search, query, and drill down
- Cloud service provider packet mirroring for agentless visibility and granularity
- Tools for digital forensics, incident response, compliance, and threat hunting
The youngest company on this year’s list, Kentik has been an emerging network monitoring vendor since 2014. Kentik Network Observability Cloud includes various network tools for ingesting, enriching, and integrating traffic in hybrid IT environments. Kentik’s solutions secure core, edge, and cloud networks while adding DDoS and botnet protection, supply chain analytics, and synthesis.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Kentik has 94 reviews in the network performance monitoring market, with an average score of 4.8/5 stars. Reviews highlighted the quality of technical support and vendor responsiveness, seamless onboarding, and meaningful data visualizations.
- Access to a constantly updated multi-source threat intelligence database
- Detect and neutralize DDoS attacks & automate mitigation processes Overtime
- Analyze real-time and extensive historical data for troubleshooting and forensic analysis
- Built-in security with application segmentation, MFA, and encryption at rest and in transit
- Track RPKI to detect leaks, prevent hijacking and verify secure traffic routing for BGP
LogicMonitor is an industry-recognized name that provides a cloud-based infrastructure monitoring platform for applications, databases, containers, servers, storage, contextual logs, and more. The LogicMonitor Pro core package comes with essential tools for hybrid infrastructure monitoring, including intelligent alerting, topology mapping, and extensive integrations. For organizations covering more than 200 devices, LogicMonitor Enterprise supports the NBAR2 protocol, dynamic service monitoring, and anomaly detection.
On Gartner Peer Insights, LogicMonitor has 93 reviews in the IT infrastructure and network performance monitoring market, with an average score of 4.8/5 stars. Reviews highlight ease of deployment, monitoring of component and service delivery, and flexibility for customization.
- Access to over 2,000 preconfigured integrations such as Azure, ServiceNow, and Oracle
- Role-based access control and strong user authentication controls such as 2FA and SAML
- Sandbox for testing custom modules before deploying to the environment
- Comprehensive transaction coverage using ping checks, multi-step tests, and service checks
- SOC2 Type 2 standard and ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified platform
ManageEngine offers more than 110 products and tools, including application performance, and server, and network monitoring solutions. ManageEngine OpManager Plus includes a range of tools for bandwidth and traffic analysis (NetFlow Analyzer), network performance monitoring (OpManager), as well as tools for firewalls, IP addresses, switch ports, and configuration policies. Part of the ManageEngine family, Site24x7 is another solution with APM capabilities, web application monitoring, website performance, and Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM).
On Gartner Peer Insights, ManageEngine received 682 reviews in the IT infrastructure and network performance monitoring market with an average score of 4.5/5 stars. Reviews highlight granular visibility on the dashboard, custom notification policies, technical support quality, and user profile management.
- 2,000+ built-in network performance monitors to track key metrics and health
- Multi-level thresholds for customizing network performance expectations and alerts
- Monitor latency, RTT, packet loss, hop-by-hop performance, and more
- 200+ performance widgets to customize the admin dashboard
- Support for virtual (VMware, Xen, Nutanix) and physical (Windows, Linux) servers
Nagios provides enterprise monitoring capabilities, but it is probably best known as one of the most popular open source network monitoring solutions. Nagios’ extensive set of solutions covers monitoring of websites, protocols, operating systems, servers, power, email, and more. For additional support and advanced features, customers can choose from Nagios XI for infrastructure monitoring, Nagios Fusion for managing multiple global locations, Log Server for traffic data discovery, or Network Analytics for bandwidth monitoring and traffic analysis device.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Nagios received 235 reviews in the IT infrastructure and network performance monitoring market with an average score of 4.4/5 stars. Studies highlight continuous monitoring capabilities of servers and networks, interface configuration, product support, and capacity planning.
- User-friendly web GUI for customizing layouts and preferences for individual users
- Access multiple APIs to integrate with in-house or hundreds of third-party plugins
- Integrated capacity planning insights for proactively upgrading legacy systems
- Alert escalation strategy to ensure stakeholders remediate detected threats
- Distributed Operations Server to monitor and manage client remote locations
PRTG Network Monitor is Paessler’s well-known network monitoring software. The vendor’s flagship solution spans the hybrid IT environment of SMB organizations across systems, flows, devices and applications. For larger organizations, PRTG Enterprise Monitor can monitor thousands of devices in a distributed environment, providing auditable data collection and service-based SLA monitoring through the ITOps Board.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Paessler has an average score of 4.6/5 stars out of 530 reviews for the IT infrastructure and network performance monitoring market. Reviews highlight ease of deployment and use, component monitoring, IT operations analytics, and historical data retention.
- Provides stakeholders with flexible notification options, including email and HTTP requests
- Real-time mapping and automatic discovery of network components for increased administrator visibility
- Monitor distributed networks by installing remote probes with a managed PRTG license
- Automatic failover handling between master and master nodes within a cluster of nodes
- 250+ pre-configured sensors for custom IT infrastructure monitoring
Four decades after its launch at MIT, Progress Software offers an impressive IT business application stack and industry-leading infrastructure monitoring solutions in WhatsUp Gold. Progress WhatsUp Gold comes with a full suite of tools for network mapping, application performance, and log and configuration management to simplify network monitoring workflows and reduce MTTR.
Progress has also increased its monitoring capabilities with the September 2021 acquisition of Kemp Technologies, adding emerging network performance monitoring vendor Flowmon under the umbrella of its solutions. Flowmon provides anomaly detection, volumetric attack & attack detection, data storage, and traffic analysis for security operations capabilities.
Progress and Flowmon solutions have an average score of 4.5/5 on Gartner Peer Insights, with 108 reviews in the network performance monitoring market. Reviews highlight product features such as auto-discovery, mapping network graphs, and adequate notifications.
- Use Failover Manager to customize fail state policies and automatically switch to backup
- Monitor a range of network components including routers, wireless, virtual, and storage
- Option to alert stakeholders via web, email, SMS, or Slack for timely remediation
- ML-powered threat detection for anomalous traffic between the perimeter and endpoints
- DDoS protection with mitigation tiering and dynamic threshold adjustment
Despite news of a sophisticated attack & attack in December 2020, SolarWinds solutions remain a top consideration for monitoring and performance tools. The Austin-based IT vendor provides enterprise monitoring and management tools for networks, systems, databases, services, applications and security to 99.6% of Fortune 500 companies. SolarWinds offers customers a variety of options to purchase tools such as configuration management, device tracking, topology mapping, and log analysis as standalone products or as bundles.
On Gartner Peer Insights, SolarWinds received 670 reviews between the IT infrastructure and network performance monitoring markets, with an average score of 4.4/5 stars. Reviews highlight the ease of service delivery monitoring, diagnostics, and implementation and configuration for large-scale environments.
- Performance monitoring of applications, VMware hosts, servers, and networks
- Investigate logs and events to collect data to determine the root cause of problems
- Automated monitoring, traffic analysis, and change management for hybrid networks
- VoIP monitoring for WAN performance insights and QoS metrics
- User device tracking, IP address management, trend analysis
Viavi Solutions spun off from telecom provider JDS Uniphase in 2015, is a newer name, but it has more than four years of experience in IT services. In 2022, the Arizona-based vendor specializes in network performance monitoring and threat analysis through its Observer platform. Observer products include integrated environmental traffic, data analysis, threat detection and response, and robust on-premises appliances.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Viavi has 79 reviews in the network performance monitoring market with an average score of 4.8/5 stars. The review highlights the vendor’s ability to understand customer needs, technical support quality, and product features such as utilization metrics, data visualization, and endpoint monitoring.
- Tools for network security forensics, root cause analysis, and wire-speed packet capture
- End User Experience (EUE) analysis of each network transaction
- Passive full duplex network TAP for copper, aggregation, switching, and fiber optics
- Unified Communications Analytics for Application Performance, Trending, and Troubleshooting
- Role-based access control using Observer Management Server (OMS)
First released to the open source community in 2004 by founder Alexei Vladishev, Zabbix was officially launched the following year to develop and extend the functionality of the solution to an enterprise audience. The Latvia-based company now has offices on four continents, and its namesake solution comes with a long list of features for deployment, integration, service monitoring, and data visualization. Zabbix’s enterprise security features include configuration change tracking across all client devices, secret vaults, flexible permissions, and encryption.
On Gartner Peer Insights, Zabbix received 284 reviews in the IT infrastructure monitoring tools market with an average score of 4.5/5 stars. Reviews highlight the quality of the peer-to-peer user community, network and server monitoring capabilities, and ease of use and customization.
- Identify business-level impact through root cause analysis and SLA monitoring
- Collect metrics and analyze cloud services, log files, databases, applications, and IoT sensors
- Protect sensitive data access by defining metric allow and deny lists
- Threat detection using machine learning, trend prediction, and smart thresholds
- Install for on-premises or cloud networks in minutes with the component discovery