The best SNMP monitoring tools currently available

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Tools

Paessler PRTGOpManagerSolarWindsWhatsUpGold Nagios

What is SNMPSNMP Versions

SNMP is one of the most basic technologies for monitoring your network, and there are several SNMP monitoring solutions available on the market. Our Newsroom Consultants have chosen and compared what they consider to be…

The best SNMP monitoring tools currently available.

1. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

PRTG Network Monitor by Paessler is a comprehensive, all-in-one monitoring tool that runs on Windows and with which you can monitor your entire IT infrastructure. PRTG supports SNMP monitoring of SNMP v1, v2c, and v3-enabled devices in real-time and is vendor agnostic. Particularly practical is the fact that PRTG offers a lot of preconfigured SNMP sensors (the basic monitoring elements in PRTG) for many known vendors such as Dell, Cisco, HPE, NetApp, or Synology that can be deployed out of the box.

With the auto-discovery function of PRTG, you can scan your entire network for devices that have SNMP enabled. PRTG then creates suitable SNMP sensors so that your initial monitoring setup is completely automated. Customizable dashboards and maps give you a clear overview of your network monitoring via SNMP.

SNMP is widely seen as a legacy protocol, and Microsoft and Google even pronounced that SNMP was dead. This might be correct in a way, since SNMP is not actively worked on anymore. However, the benefits of SNMP are still undeniable, particularly for network monitoring.

As SNMP is still the common network monitoring language, most network components across all vendors have a built-in SNMP capability. With SNMP, you are able to monitor really diverse network parameters from CPU load, disk usage, bandwidth, traffic, overall uptime, to environmental parameters like temperature etc. And SNMP is still unparalleled regarding its low performance impact.

PRTG can be deployed as an SNMP trap receiver as well by using the preconfigured SNMP Trap Receiver sensor. This sensor creates alerts if it receives SNMP traps from your monitored devices. Several filter options let you filter the received trap messages, for example according to severity, so that you are only alerted if necessary.

The comprehensive feature set of PRTG is complemented by the free tools that Paessler offers for SNMP monitoring. For example, you can use the SNMP Tester to find communication issues in case your SNMP monitoring configuration does not work. With the MIB Importer, you can import MIB files into PRTG.

SNMP Trap Receiver

Licenses for PRTG start at around $ 1,699, which is cost effective compared to other monitoring solutions as all functionalities are included in one license.

Download the free 30 days version

2. ManageEngine OpManager

OpManager is the network monitoring solution from ManageEngine that lets you monitor the performance and health of your servers and network devices. OpManager supports SNMP monitoring of devices that have SNMP v1, SNMP v2c, or SNMP v3 enabled. With the network device discovery feature, you can detect such devices in your network.

In contrast to the other monitoring solutions, OpManager only uses asynchronous SNMP trap messages to get management information about monitored devices and therefore relies on passive SNM monitoring. A benefit of OpManager is that you can also use it as an SNMP trap processing engine with which you can forward received SNMP traps to other NMSs.

Additionally, ManageEngine offers free tools to complement basic SNMP monitoring functionalities. With the SNMP Trap Viewer, you can troubleshoot trap query issues in real time. The SNMP MIB Browser can even be used as a complete tool for SNMP monitoring with functionalities for loading MIB files or performing SNMP operations.

OpManager

Prices for licenses of OpManager are based on the number of devices in your network. Depending on how large your network is, the costs can quickly rise to thousands of dollars. Download

3. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

SolarWinds offers various software solutions for different monitoring tasks in your IT infrastructure. SNMP monitoring is done with the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) that lets you monitor and analyze the availability and performance of devices in your network. NPM supports the real-time monitoring of SNMP v1, v2c, and v3-enabled devices from multiple vendors.

Together with the Orion Discovery Wizard, NPM can be deployed as an SNMP scanner to discover devices that have SNMP enabled on the network and create maps to visualize network topology and device relationships. You can also use customizable dashboards to display performance metrics of your network devices collected via SNMP.

A downside of NPM is that you cannot use it as an SNMP trap receiver to monitor SNMP traps to get information about issues and events, including their severity. For this purpose, you need the SolarWinds Log Analyzer.

NPM

While NPM pricing for a perpetual license starts at around $ 2,800, costs can quickly add up for the different software modules you need for more extensive SNMP monitoring tasks. Download

4. Progress WhatsUp Gold

WhatsUp Gold by Progress (formerly Ipswitch) is a Windows-based tool for monitoring the status and performance of applications, servers, and network devices. The monitoring solution supports real-time SNMP monitoring of devices that have SNMP v1, SNMP v2c, or SNMP v3 enabled. With its automated device discovery, WhatsUp Gold also uses SNMP to query each device for more detailed information and generate customizable and interactive network topology maps.

In addition to the basic SNMP monitoring functionalities, WhatsUp Gold offers web-based SNMP management tools, for example the SNMP MIB walker, to find out what SNMP objects a device supports, or the SNMP MIB Manager to identify errors in MIB files.

WhatsUp Gold can be deployed as an SNMP trap receiver (or listener). However, this needs some configuration work in the WhatsUp Gold console. In addition, it is not possible to use the SNMP trap listener functionality of WhatsUp Gold if the Microsoft SNMP Trap Listener is enabled.

WhatsUp Gold

A major drawback is the licensing of WhatsUp Gold that is a mixture of device-based or point-based subscriptions or perpetual licenses excluding add-ons for different features, which is quite confusing and can quickly become cost intensive. Download 

5. Nagios

If you prefer open-source software for your SNMP monitoring, Nagios is the tool to go to. Nagios is Linux-based and highly customizable as it offers free SNMP plugins and add-ons to extend basic SNMP monitoring capabilities. This is quite a benefit for IT System Administrators who like to have their network monitoring exactly tailored to their needs. However, this can also be a drawback as the configuration can take a lot of time and often requires specialized know-how.

With Nagios, System Administrators are able to manage SNMP traps by configuring the tool as both an SNMP trap receiver and, as a plus, an SNMP trap sender. Nagios can read the SNMP traps it receives from monitored devices and create alerts in case of a problem. It can also be used to send SNMP traps to other network management systems for processing.

Nagios

Nagios supports monitoring via SNMP in their free product Nagios Core, but documentation for setting up SNMP monitoring, expert support, as well as wizards for the configuration of SNMP monitoring are only available for the commercial product Nagios IX, which starts at around $ 2,000. Download

Download the full version for 30 days

What is SNMP?

SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol and as the name implies, it is an IP-based application layer protocol used for network management, and more particularly, for network discovery and network monitoring.

It consists of various key components that serve different functions. On the one hand, there is the managing system that includes one or more SNMP managers that run so-called network management station (NMS) software. On the other hand, there are the managed devices that run pieces of software called SNMP agents. Managed devices can be anything from servers, routers, switches, firewalls, etc. to IoT devices.

An SNMP manager usually fulfills administrative tasks such as sending requests to and receiving responses from an SNMP agent, but it can also actively change the configuration of a managed device. The SNMP agent collects and stores local information about the managed device it runs on and sends this information to the SNMP manager if requested. It can also actively push data packages about specific events, so-called SNMP traps, to the managing system without an explicit request. In this case, the SNMP manager also acts as an SNMP trap receiver.

A very important component for SNMP communication is the Management Information Base (MIB), a text file that contains hierarchically organized data that a managed device can collect. This data consists of variables that are clearly identifiable by the so-called object identifiers (OID). SNMP can read and translate these variables for the SNMP manager, and, consequently, the SNMP monitoring tool.

SNMP versions

SNMP comes in three different versions which all have their benefits and drawbacks.

  • SNMP v1 is the most basic SNMP version. While it is quite universally applicable as most SNMP-enabled devices support it, it also has major security limitations. In addition, SNMPv1 only supports 32-bit counters.
  • SNMP v2 is the most used SNMP version. In contrast to SNMP v1, it also supports 64-bit counters; however, it has the same security limitations.
  • SNMP v3 provides authentication and optional data encryption. However, this also results in more overhead and needs more configuration work.
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