In intranet or internet networks, it is very common for unauthorized access to critical or production servers. It can lead to leaks of confidential business information, remote control of servers, hacking of critical databases, and more.
According to the Global Statcounter report, the Windows Server market share was 31.44% as of December 2021, which is the highest of all operating systems globally.
Due to the enormous penetration of windows servers across businesses and companies, upkeeping activities, including maintenance, monitoring, security, etc., are becoming growing concerns. In this section, we look at the best Windows server monitoring software to keep your server safe and prevent major failures.
Why monitoring Windows Server is essential?
By monitoring Windows servers, admins can proactively track and respond to errors, issues, and downtime, and these steps will help prevent major breakdowns and outages and avoid breaches of the SLA (Service Level Agreement).
When monitoring software is not used, administrators would become reactive and respond to problems after an incident occurs and then look for bottlenecks to find solutions to fix them.
In some situations, critical incidents occur when Windows servers are not monitored in real-time. For example, if an unknown IP address tries to gain access to a server and gains unauthorized access, the entire security of the domain and network can be compromised, resulting in huge losses for small businesses to large enterprises.
Windows server monitoring carries great value for problem management and incident management but actually helps in the overall management of project operations. It also helps businesses and companies meet their SLA obligations and avoid severe penalties and loss of credibility.
In a nutshell, the benefits of Windows monitoring are as follows:
Monitor server health to reduce crashes and outages
Increase availability of servers, applications, and related services
Quickly identify and fix errors, failed services, and processes
Help maintain smooth operations to increase trust in the company/product or service
In this post, we will look at the widely used platforms for monitoring Windows servers to prevent major incidents and maintain a robust infrastructure.
Sysguage server monitoring software helps monitor and access all hardware resources used to start a windows server. It is one of the easiest software to organize, monitor, and review reports and take necessary actions whenever needed.
Its user-friendly dashboard helps ease the operation and management of Windows servers by locating higher usages and bottlenecks. Pre-configured metrics help enable and initiate monitoring instantly, and you can even customize counters to suit your infrastructure needs.
This is a client-server model wherein the server package is installed on the server, and metrics can be accessed from any system on the network via its client interface software.
The client interface helps configure server monitor counters, set up email notifications for any threshold violations, monitor performance through various reports, and much more.
System administrators can monitor up to 200 resource counters on Windows servers, including memory usage, disk activity, network activity, processor threads, and TCP/IP protocol. Along with these resources, NAS (Network Attached Server), SQL Server, and IIS Server can be monitored.
Its reporting engine offers various types of notifications and reports, including audio error notifications, emails, Excel reports, PDF reports, and more.
To get an early track record of Windows servers, consider purchasing the easy-to-manage Sysguage Server software, available for $125 with one year of support.
Opsview can help observe, analyze, monitor, and automate end-to-end IT services, applications, and solutions. Opsview supports databases, virtual environments (AWS, Azure), operating systems, networks, websites, and more.
Opsview platform monitoring provides comprehensive coverage of Windows and related services and applications in one centralized dashboard, to name a few:
Hardware Monitoring: Monitoring CPU, Disk Queue, Paging Files, Physical Memory, Windows Events, etc.
Event log monitoring: application, system, and security logs
Services: Active Directory Monitoring, DNS, IIS, Exchange, SQL, Azure, Terminal Services, etc.
If you are an IT administrator or systems administrator looking for a monitoring and management solution for your IT infrastructure, Opsview easily integrates into your environment, regardless of scale, type, product, and depth. Prices are host-dependent and start at 4.5 euros (Enterprise Edition) per host/month.
PAESSLER is one of the oldest companies since 1997 and offers monitoring solutions for all companies and industries of all sizes. This software is trusted by 5 lakh users worldwide.
PAESSLER AG Network Monitor is a comprehensive software, and windows server monitoring is one of its features.
PRTG uses multiple technologies like WMI (Windows management instrumentation), Windows performance counters, SNMP, packet sniffing, and Netflow to collect and present monitoring metrics of Windows server in its centralized dashboard.
It is a comprehensive software that helps monitor the entire range of servers, including database, email, web, and virtual servers, and their critical parameters like uptime, CPU and memory usage, disk activity, traffic bandwidth, etc.
It monitors Windows server hardware resources and helps with basic troubleshooting activities like tracking patches and updates of server and warning about incomplete updates and its built-in alerts send notifications when resources exceed thresholds, etc.
It is one of the fastest monitoring software, as administrators have to enter IP range to track, and its built-in auto-detection and predefined sensors will start auto-discovery. Its industry-standard defined sensors will start monitoring your servers instantly.
Remote monitoring with mobile app
Event Log Monitoring: Monitors Windows application and system logs and triggers alerts when errors occur.
Customizable metrics/measures to meet specific infrastructure needs
Historical graphs of the previous 365 days
The full version of the PRTG software can be installed and used free of charge for 30 days, after which the software automatically reverts to its free limited edition. The paid version has a permanent license and subscription. Its price starts at $1750 for monitoring 500 aspects and 50 devices.
ManageEngine Application Monitoring software has over 120+ awards for various IT management software, including Gartner’s 2021 Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring. The Windows server monitoring is one of the features of ManageEngine Application Monitoring software.
Application Monitoring software is wide-ranging monitoring software that monitors hardware and software resources of Windows servers, Windows clusters, SQL, web servers, virtual servers, website statistics, and more.
The software takes care of basic troubleshooting actions such as threshold alarms, email or SMS notifications for Windows events related to applications, system, security, file replication services, DNS server, server restart, disk space issues, and more.
On the reporting front, various reports can be pulled from the dashboard, including capacity planning reports that help predict overutilization and underutilization of the server to prevent a server overload or crash.
Scheduled Windows tasks can be monitored to optimize performance
Event log monitoring to detect network anomalies, data breaches, and network breaches
Collects network performance statistics such as incoming traffic, outgoing traffic, network errors, speed
Forecast usage trends based on server usage and performance
This software is available in two versions: Professional and Enterprise. Users can use the license in both subscription and perpetual editions. Subscription license fees start at $395. This software can be used for free for 30 days. There is also a free version with limited features.
SolarWinds Microsoft monitoring covers all Microsoft products and services such as Windows Server, SQL-DB, Hyper-V, Azure, and more.
The extensive platforms such as Azure Monitor and AWS IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are monitored by Solarwind servers and application monitoring software (SAM). SAM tracks the entire Microsoft IT stack, including performance, uptime, capacity, and resource utilization.
SAM prognostic indicators easily detect when server resources reach critical warnings and thresholds, which is one of the important criteria for taking precautions to avoid crashes and disruptions.
The SAM monitors physical components and applications, including high CPU usage, disk usage, network load balancing, print services, remote desktop services, FTP services, and more. The software also tracks performance metrics related to paging file usage, CPU time, pages/second, disk queues, and more.
One of the advantages for enterprises having heterogeneous environments is the Solarwind software, which offers customizable server monitoring using APIs and around 1200+ monitoring templates.
Basic troubleshooting, including detecting hardware errors, restarting the server, and monitoring server health, is performed using SAM.
In a nutshell, Solarwinds’ centralized SAM console can closely monitor Windows Server, Active Directory, IIS, Exchange Server, Dynamics CRM, Skype for Business, SQL Server, SharePoint, DHCP, and DNS.
Help build an IT asset inventory by identifying and collecting hardware and software assets.
Identify Active Directory performance issues and fixes
Monitor DNS for availability and performance issues
Helping server size based on estimation and determination of server capacity
SAM price starts at $1,663 for an annual subscription. The software can be tested in your environment for 30 days free of charge.
Nagios XI is an enterprise server and network monitoring software trusted by millions of users ranging from small businesses to the Fortune 500. It provides full IT infrastructure monitoring with transparency, performance, and customization with ease of use.
The software covers all infrastructure components, including applications, services, operating systems, network protocols, system metrics, and network infrastructure.
The software also offers integration with hundreds of third-party add-ons to monitor almost all applications, services, and internal systems, making it compatible with heterogeneous environments.
The software is built with four monitoring engine that provides the highest degree of monitoring server performance with high efficiency and scalability effectiveness.
Nagios XI provides full real-time monitoring of critical Windows services such as system metrics, processes, performance counters, event logs, Internet Information Server (IIS), Active Directory, DHCP, Exchange Server, DNS, and more.
The software tracks the complete end-to-end server hardware, including network statistics, hard drive usage, CPU utilization trends, and memory performance.
System administrators can also take advantage of advanced user management, easy setup, automatic discovery, system upgrades based on capacity planning, and more.
A centralized and dedicated dashboard that provides general information about network hosts, services, and devices.
Granular performance data of Windows operating systems
Comprehensive monitoring of Windows processes from start to finish, including instances
Monitors network adapters for unexpected bandwidth over a period of time
The Nagios XI can be purchased in standard and corporate editions starting at $1,995. This software does not have a subscription license model but can be used free of charge for 30 days prior to purchase.
Zabbix is a professionally developed open-source software to monitor and track any metric from any source in IT infrastructure. Zabbix software monitors the health and integrity of servers, virtual machines, network parameters, applications, services, databases, websites, and the cloud.
Zabbix agent needs to be installed for deep monitoring of Windows servers while other infrastructure components can be monitored via protocols like SNMP, TCP, ICMP, etc.
The software helps to monitor, track and present every granular detail of servers such as CPU, memory, file system, physical disk, etc., through XML-based templates to measure performance for efficient server infrastructure management.
Its email-based notifications allow for quick response to server issues. This software provides the best results in terms of reporting and visualization of excellent capacity planning data.
Automatically set baseline based on historical data to bypass manual threshold setting
Early prediction of problem thresholds for a proactive approach
Automatically detects bottlenecks within the incoming metric flow
Export open issues in real-time to third-party systems for further analysis
Its web-based frontend ensures the health of the servers can be monitored and supported remotely. Zabbix can be used by small organizations to large companies and, importantly, free of cost. YES, Zabbix is free of cost. Its customer support is commercial.
Checkmk is a comprehensive monitoring software not only for servers but also for applications and networks. The software is easy to use as it was developed after years of research and customer feedback.
Its main engine has a massively scalable architecture that supports thousands of services, hundreds of websites and millions of devices disturbed across multiple locations.
The automation section of checkmk is versatile and includes automation of configuration using REST-API, automatic monitoring of Ephemeral infrastructure, rule-based 1-to-N configuration that minimizes configuration in complex environments, and automation of third party applications using API.
The software database contains 1900 plugins so that almost any software can be easily integrated. The appropriate indicators can be monitored and tracked in heterogeneous environments such as easy to manage incidents by integrating with third-party tools like Jira, Slack, PagerDuty, etc., and VictorOps.
Checkmk is one of the top-notch monitoring software suitable for small to complex infrastructure. One of its uniqueness is that it uses advanced analytics based on observational algorithms that predict thresholds based on historical events.
Easily identify hosts to update with hotfixes with outdated and vulnerable software versions.
Automatically detects relevant indicators and starts monitoring in minutes
Customizable dashboard based on admin requirements and can even be integrated with Grafana
Smart alert mechanism to forward alerts to specific admins instead of overloading all alerts
The software can be easily customizable to suit all hardware and software monitoring, troubleshooting, log monitoring, reporting, integration with ITOM/ITSM tools to streamline workflows, automate configuration, scalability, and more. Its price starts at 600 euro, and there is also a free version of the software that supports 25 hosts.
Icinga Infrastructure Monitoring can monitor large and complex environments across multiple locations. The platform monitors network resources, warns users of errors, and collects data for reporting purposes.
It is a full-stack monitoring suite that supports infrastructure monitoring, metrics and log files, monitoring automation, cloud monitoring, and more. You can look at the live demo at the Icinga demo link.
The software monitors Linux, UNIX, Windows servers on-premises and in the cloud, and immediately notifies administrators of errors and helps fix them. A centralized dashboard helps monitor the entire infrastructure, collecting and analyzing data to identify faults at a glance.
Its scalability model adapts easily to your current infrastructure and offers endless possibilities for configuration, automation, scaling, etc. Icinga even communicates with DevOps tools to create custom monitoring solutions to suit your infrastructure needs.
Proactively notify errors before interrupts are made
Provides entry point for proper RCA (Root Cause Analysis)
Offers various plugins for easy integration with other services/products
Administration and user management to control software usage for better management
Icinga can fit into a large heterogeneous environment. The software covers six key infrastructure areas to provide valuable insights, alerts, visual imagery, and analytics to support end-to-end coverage and improve business results. Prices are available upon request for a quote.
Syskit Monitor is a tool for monitoring and managing enterprise servers. It is used to monitor virtual applications on Citrix, Share Point, SQL and Windows servers, RDP sessions, and Gateways.
Apart from monitoring, the software also assists in user activity auditing. Main functions include monitoring server performance in terms of CPU, memory, and disk usage, SQL transactions, IIS connections, remote connections to servers, and more.
The software also tracks server usage in terms of access duration, concurrent connections, and usage efficiency. Syskit also tracks user activity related to server connections, user logins/outlets, etc.
This software is available free for 30 days. Its price starts at $199 per server per year.
The monitoring of Windows servers has become an important task for companies of all sizes and from all sectors.
Windows server monitoring is important to help organizations take proactive steps to detect problems, prevent them before they occur, and avoid bigger issues before high-priority incidents arise.
Windows monitoring software helps to detect a variety of server issues, including RAM (Random Access Memory) leaks to address performance issues, prevent attackers from gaining access, block updates from unreliable resources, easily find bottlenecks, and most importantly, help with troubleshooting, and get the server online faster.
The technology is advancing at much faster space, so in today’s world automation is replacing manual tasks, so software or tools helping in automation would prove to be good replacement over manual activities ensuring higher uptime of the servers and hence entire server dependability like applications, services, processes, etc. are enhanced to meet company’s goals and targets.
I have been in the IT industry for more than 20 years. I have served Fortune 100 company in a senior role looking after projects related to US Banking, BFS, Mortgage, Insurance, and FMCG. Apart from IT, I like to read books, especially spirituality… read more