How to Keep Your Network Humming

If your network has between 1,000 and 10,000 devices and computers, you have a midsized network. Here are six suites that deliver solid network management capabilities and won't bust your budget.

Credit: GIACOMO MARCHESI

If your network has between 1,000 and 10,000 devices and computers, you have a midsized network. Your servers, connections and other resources suffer the same problems as larger networks, but your budget for keeping the network healthy is less than what large enterprises enjoy. We tested six suites that deliver solid network management capabilities in your price range. (Read the story version.) Here are the results:

Argent Software Advanced Technology (AT) v3.1
Argent Software Advanced Technology (AT) v3.1

Company: ArgSoft Group LLC

Price: Starts at $4,000 for 10 servers

Pros: Sophisticated thresholds; excellent root cause analysis; many possible corrective actions

Cons: Obscure documentation; browser interface incomplete

Score: 4.6 (out of 5)

Longitude v8.1
Longitude v8.1

Company: Heroix

Price: $3,999 for 500 managed devices

Pros: Sophisticated alert thresholds; good SLA tracker; easy-to-use user interface

Cons: Requires a fast computer

Score: 4.4 (out of 5)

WhatsUp Gold (WUG) v16
WhatsUp Gold (WUG) v16

Company: Ipswitch, Inc.  

Price: Starts at $1,595

Pros: Good interface with instantly informative dashboard layout; Useful reports.

Cons: Inaccurate discovery; limited wireless device support.

Score: 3.8

HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC) Standard and Enterprise v5.2
HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC) Standard and Enterprise v5.2

Company: Hewlett-Packard

Price: Standard Edition for 100 managed devices starts at $6,819

Pros: Scales well; accurate discovery; excellent network topology map; good root cause analysis.

Cons: Limited corrective actions; obscure documentation.

Score: 3.7

Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) v10.4 and Server & Application Monitor (SAM) v5.2
Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) v10.4 and Server & Application Monitor (SAM) v5.2

Company: SolarWinds, Inc.

Price: NPM starts at $2,675; SAM starts at $2,995

Pros: Sophisticated thresholds; excellent network map; useful reports.

Cons: Sluggish (but well-laid-out) user interface; device dependencies are tedious to set up.

Score: 3.5

PRTG v12.4
PRTG v12.4

Company: Paessler AG

Price: Unlimited license $10,800

Pros: Accurate discovery; good root cause analysis.

Cons: No corrective actions; expensive; no dashboards.

Score: 3.2 (out of 5)