The best SNMP monitoring tools currently available

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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
2. ManageEngine OpManager
3. Checkmk
4. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
5. Progress WhatsUp Gold
6. Datadog
7. LogicMonitor
8. Nagios
9. Kaseya VSA

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 because 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 can monitor all sorts of 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.

Learn more here:

  1. What is SNMP?
  2. What are SNMP key components?
  3. SNMP versions

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.

What are SNMP key components?

SNMP consists of various key components:

  • The managing system that includes one or more SNMP managers.
  • The SNMP managers that run so-called network management station (NMS) software.
  • 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.

SNMP monitoring tools vendors

1. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

PRTG Network Monitor by Paessler is a comprehensive, all-in-one monitoring tool for monitoring your entire IT infrastructure. The software runs on Windows and is vendor agnostic. PRTG supports SNMP monitoring of SNMP v1, v2c, and v3-enabled devices in real-time. What’s really great 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.

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.

PRTG Network Monitor
PRTG Network Monitor

Licenses for PRTG start at around $ 1,350, which is very cost effective compared to other monitoring solutions as all features are included in one license. Download

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 these 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 the 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
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. Checkmk

Checkmk is a comprehensive IT infrastructure monitoring solution that offers its free, open-source Raw Edition next to an Enterprise Edition with more advanced features. The tool supports monitoring the availability and performance of network devices via SNMP v1, v2c, and v3. An intelligent auto-discovery feature scans your network for SNMP-enabled devices from multiple vendors and adds relevant aspects to monitor.

While the software needs the installation of an agent for comprehensive monitoring, this is not the case for SNMP monitoring, as network devices usually have a built-in SNMP agent. However, Checkmk explicitly recommends the use of their native agent in their documentation because it is way more performant.

For monitoring SNMP traps, Checkmk offers the fully integrated Event Console that has its own SNMP engine and therefore does not need any additional tools. The Event Console also helps to filter SNMP trap messages so that you are only notified about relevant events.

Checkmk
Checkmk

What’s great: for SNMP monitoring and its visualization, you can use the free Checkmk Raw edition, which is as easy to set up as Checkmk’s licensed edition – compared to Nagios, for example, which requires lots of manual effort. Download

4. 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.

SolarWinds-snmp
SolarWinds SNMP

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

5. 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
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

6. Datadog

Datadog is a modern SaaS-based management, monitoring, and security platform that also offers SNMP monitoring and supports all SNMP versions. To be able to collect SNMP data from your network devices that have SNMP enabled, you need to install at least Datadog Agent v6 in your on-premises network.

The tool offers an auto-discovery feature that scans your network for SNMP-enabled devices and automatically creates monitoring metrics for these devices based on Datadog’s out-of-the-box device profiles available for multiple vendors. Unfortunately, making use of the auto-discovery feature first needs some manual configuration, for example, you need to configure Datadog’s SNMP integration check with the subnets you want to discover.

Monitoring SNMP Traps is even more cumbersome to configure, for example, you need to manually set up different monitors for specific Trap events.

Datadog
Datadog

As SNMP monitoring with Datadog requires more manual work than other features that the platform has to offer, we recommend it only if you use Datadog for other monitoring purposes as well. For basic SNMP monitoring, you can make use of the Network Device Monitoring module, which starts at $7 per host per month, in addition to an Infrastructure Pro plan that starts at $15 per host per month and that you need for alerts. Download

7. LogicMonitor

LogicMonitor is a cloud-based infrastructure monitoring platform that also offers monitoring via SNMP. The tool supports monitoring of SNMP v1- v2c-, and v3-enabled devices and provides an SNMP Active Discovery feature to scan your network and create an according device inventory.

With the help of out-of-the-box LogicModules for SNMP monitoring, you can quickly monitor critical metrics of your network devices that are available using SNMP.

While LogicMonitor offers SNMP Trap monitoring in its portfolio, setting it up requires some manual effort, for example, you need to configure specific EventSources to be alerted when the LogicMonitor Collector receives SNMP Traps. To be able to decrypt SNMP v3 Traps, it is even necessary to configure the Collector’s agent configuration file. This makes SNMP Trap monitoring relatively unwieldy.

LogicMonitor
LogicMonitor

As with Datadog, we recommend SNMP monitoring with LogicMonitor only if you already use the tool for other monitoring purposes. You can monitor up to 200 devices with the Hybrid Monitoring Pro plan. Pricing is quote based. Download

8. 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

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

9. Kaseya VSA

Kaseya VSA is a Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) solution for endpoint and network management that also offers SNMP monitoring for network devices such as routers, switches, and printers.

What’s great is VSA’s “zero configuration” approach for SNMP monitoring as you just need to enable a check box to use this functionality. The solution then automatically discovers the according network devices and sets up monitoring via SNMP using predefined thresholds.

As an RMM software, the network monitoring functions of Kaseya VSA are very limited in scope. However, if you already use the solution for remote endpoint management, the easy configuration of its SNMP monitoring feature, the clear visualization in network topology maps, and the simple but efficient alerting system are a nice plus.

Kaseya VSA
Kaseya VSA

Pricing for Kaseya VSA is based on the number of managed endpoints, and you’ll need to get a custom quote for your infrastructure. Download

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