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Network Monitoring Program: Pay or not to Pay?

You can find a lot of programs that help system administrators to perform the company's local network monitoring process

Today you can find a lot of programs that help system administrators to perform the company's local network monitoring process. There are both commercial (all of them have different functionality and therefore different price) and free software among them. Some managers ask: why do they need to buy the software if a company can save money and use the free one? What is the difference between the commercial and free network monitoring programs? Does using the free software really help to cut down the company's expenses?

1. The functionality of commercial network monitoring programs is much richer; they offer a wide choice of settings, monitoring checks, notifications, protocols, reports, diagrams, and other features. All this makes the company's network operation more stable, even if it is rather complex and include a lot of hosts. In comparison with the commercial software, the free one offers only the minimal packet of settings to perform the monitoring of the most important network systems only. But every technician knows that there are no unimportant details in networks' operation of any complexity. Even the least important server's or database's downtime can lead to the serious downtime of the entire company's department.

2. Any commercial network monitoring program's user can be sure that he will get the qualified technical support in time by email or telephone. In addition, the commercial software developers always pay much attention on bug reports and fix them within the shortest possible period of time. The program's repute, the company's image, and the developer's prosperity depend on the operation of the software that they offer. Using a free version, you will be never sure for 100% that your questions will meet answers, and bug reports will be considered, or at least noticed. If some troubles happen, you will meet them face to face alone.

3. Except fixing bugs, the commercial network monitoring software developers always work at improving its quality, functionality, and stability. Thus, the program is constantly in progress, and new updates are always released. The free utilities might not be updated at all, and its version history might stop on the v1.0.

4. Often, the commercial program developers take into account users' feedback and can modify the current software to meet the customer requirements, for instance, add new features. If the software is free, developers hardly will make the individual modifications.

5. The last but not the least point for using the commercial network monitoring software is absence of frustrating advertising. It is obvious that the free software developers want to get profit as well. That is why some of them solve the problem by attracting a lot of advertisers. Advertisements can appear at the moment of program's launching or during its operation. It can differ from obtrusive banners to frustrating pop-ups. This does not allow a user to concentrate on his work but irritates him a lot.

Any system administrator or IT manager should remember that the network monitoring is not only the monitoring of all network devices' physical availability or controlling the services' and processes' operability. It is the detailed checking of parameters important for the network functionality such as the CPU load and the whole system's productivity. That is why the whole organization's operation and operation of its employees and customers depend on the network monitoring software that IT managers choose. When choosing between the free and commercial software, remember, that if you buy cheaply, you pay dearly. In this particular case, the price of mistake might be too high. You must decide for yourself, what is more important for you: to purchase modern and good quality software, but pay a little bit more, or save money and get a mediocre program without any support.

More Stories By Dmitriy Stepanov

Dmitriy Stepanov is a CEO at 10-Strike Software, Network Inventory, Network Monitoring, Bandwidth Monitoring Software developer. 10-Strike Software is a software developing company. They offer their high quality networking products since 1999. 10-Strike Software specializes in producing Windows network software for corporate users.

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Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.