Keeping watch over a network is something that every enterprise needs to be doing.
Monitoring physical and virtual hardware resources, such as availability, CPU usage, and storage usage let you know when there’s a problem that needs your attention.
With the range monitoring tools on the market, it’s easier than ever before to monitor your network.
Here is our list of the eight best hardware monitoring tools:
- SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (FREE TRIAL)– Server and application monitoring tool that monitors device status, CPU, memory, fan speed, temperature, and disk space.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL) – Free network monitoring tool that can automatically identify devices. It comes with pre-configured sensors for hardware monitoring and a threshold-based alerts system.
- SolarWinds RMM (FREE TRIAL) A remote monitoring and management tool that enables central IT departments to manage the hardware located on remote sites.
- ManageEngine OpManager – Network monitoring software that can monitor CPU, memory, disk utilization, I/O reads and writes, temperature, fan speed, and more. Includes performance graphs and an alert system.
- Zabbix – Open-source network monitoring tool that monitors device status, CPU, memory utilization, disk space, temperature, fan state, and more. It comes with out-of-the-box monitoring templates and an alert system.
- HWMonitor – Free hardware monitoring software that monitors hardware health, voltage, temperature, and fans. The Pro version comes with graphing and remote monitoring for multiple devices.
- WhatsUp Gold – Network monitoring software with autodiscovery that monitors device availability, temperature, fan status, power supply, and more.
- Open Hardware Monitor – Free open-source hardware monitor for Windows that measures device temperature, fan speed, load, voltage, and clock speed.
The best hardware monitoring tools
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is a server and application monitoring tool that can monitor device status, CPU, memory, fan speed, temperature, and disk space. You can also monitor hardware configuration changes and see how the settings of the device change over time.
There is a range of diagnostic features that help you to optimize your storage usage. From the SolarWinds AppStack dashboard, you can monitor resource contention on the server and control virtual machines. Email and SMS alerts keep you in the loop about any changes to your environment.
Capacity planning helps you to monitor the usage of storage resources to prevent bottlenecks. You’ll not only be able to see when you hit capacity but use forecast charts to see when resource performance will start to degrade. The capacity planning feature makes sure that your storage stays prepared for your needs at all times.
SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor is a platform designed for enterprise users looking for a simple hardware monitoring solution for servers and applications. The tool starts at $2,995 (£2,275). You can download the 30-day free trial.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is a web-based network monitoring software that uses SNMP to monitor the CPU and RAM of devices throughout your network. PRTG Network Monitor also has printer monitoring which allows you to view remote information about printers in the network, including ink level, number of printer pages, and error messages.
Autodiscovery finds devices connected to the network. Through the customizable dashboard, you can view hardware performance in real-time. You can set alerts to notify you about status changes, sensor value threshold breaches, sensor value changes, and more. Alerts are available via email, SMS, push notification (iOS and Android mobile apps), Slack message, syslog message, and more.
In your server room environment, PRTG Network Monitor measures humidity levels in your server room using the hydrometer sensors of your devices. Monitoring the server environment reduces the risk of technical issues. The software offers environment monitoring for suppliers like Kentix, Netatmo, Jakarta, and egnite.
PRTG Network Monitor works best if you’re looking for a unified network monitoring tool combined with hardware monitoring capabilities. PRTG Network Monitor is completely free for 100 sensors. Paid version start at $1,600 (£1,223.61). You can download the 30-day free trial.
SolarWinds RMM is a cloud-based remote monitoring and management software package that supports the monitoring of hardware on remote sites from one central location. As the main processors for the service are offsite, it doesn’t matter where the monitored system is located. This also includes other cloud resources.
The system monitors network devices, servers, endpoints, mobile devices, and applications. Network device health is monitored through the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and servers and endpoints require agents installed on them to facilitate data gathering by the RMM. The agent is available for all mainstream operating systems.
Physical properties that are covered by the RMM include fan speed and performance, device temperature, memory capacity and utilization, total and available disk space, and CPU processor usage. Network I/O and page swapping rates are also covered by the remote monitoring system.
Thanks to SNMP, the system is able to perform a hardware discovery routine, which is continuously updated with each SNMP response cycle. This creates a live hardware inventory that includes details such as device type, manufacturer, model, and firmware or operating system version.
The dashboard for the service is accessed through any standard web browser or a special mobile app. The SolarWinds RMM includes all of its own supporting services and hardware and it is free to set up an account. The service is charged for by subscription and you can get a 30-day free trial of SolarWinds RMM.
4. ManageEngine OpManager
ManageEngine OpManager is an infrastructure monitoring software that can monitor the performance of devices such as servers, routers, switches, firewalls, and storage in real-time. Metrics the tool monitors include CPU, memory, disk utilization, I/O reads and writes, temperature, fan speed, power supply, processor clock speed, battery, and disk array.
The software is also easy to configure with out-of-the-box monitoring for Dell, HP, Juniper, Cisco, and Checkpoint. Templates can be customized according to your preferences. Once you’ve found the metrics you need you can create reports using one of over 100 report templates.
The notification system can be configured to send you SMS and email alerts when the status of a device changes. If the intended recipient doesn’t respond then you can use escalation rules to automatically redirect the notification to someone else, making sure that pressing issues are dealt with quickly.
ManageEngine OpManager is one of the top hardware monitoring tools on this list and stands in as a robust network monitoring solution as well. ManageEngine OpManager is available for Windows and Linux users. Pricing options range from $245 (£187.38) for 10-1000 devices to $11,545 (£8,829) for 250-10,000 devices. You can download the free trial version from this link here.
Zabbix is an open-source monitoring tool that can be used to monitor hardware, applications, and services. With Zabbix, you can monitor the status, CPU, memory utilization, temperature, power supply, disk space, and fan state of devices. Configuration monitoring enables you to see firmware upgrades.
There are also out-of-the-box monitoring templates for a range of providers including Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Netgear, Intel, Huawei, and more. These templates help you to get up and running quickly, so you don’t have to configure all templates from the beginning.
The platform comes with an alert system that allows you to set trigger conditions and receive notifications via email and SMS. The user defines the trigger severity of a trigger as Not classified, Information, Warning, Average, High, or Disaster so it’s clear when an important event happens.
Zabbix is a top free network monitoring tool. The software is available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Raspbian, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. You can download the program for free from this link here.
HWMonitor is a free hardware monitoring tool that monitors the physical status of devices. You can use the HWMonitor software to monitor hardware health sensors, voltages, temperatures, and fans. The tool is compatible with sensor chips including the ITE IT87 series and many Winbond ICs, meaning you can use it to monitor in many environments.
If you require more features then you can upgrade to HWMonitor Pro. HWMonitor Pro adds remote monitoring so you can monitor multiple devices remotely. There is also increased visualization with a graph generator so you can monitor performance more effectively.
HWMonitor is a good fit for small enterprises that want a basic hardware monitoring solution. There are two versions of HWMonitor PRO that you can purchase: Standard and Extended. The Standard version supports 10 remote connections for €19.95 or $22.27 (£17.03). The Extended version supports 20 remote connections and costs €34.95 or $39.01 (£29.84). You can download the free trial version from this link here.
7. WhatsUp Gold
WhatsUp Gold is a network monitor that can monitor the availability and performance of hardware. WhatsUp Gold automatically discovers devices and servers throughout your network. Once the devices have been identified they can be monitored through the dashboard or through an interactive network map. The customizable dashboard can display the performance data that’s most relevant to your environment.
Hardware concerns the software monitors include temperature, fan status, power supply (American Power Conversion and Uninterruptible Power Supply), and more. You can even monitor printer ink levels for printers that support IETF Printer MIB, RFC 3805.
The platform has alerts to notify you about status changes. Alerts come via email, SMS, Slack, IFTTT, posts, and web alarm. You can also configure automated actions like service restarts to try and resolve the problem automatically. If you receive an alert when you’re out of the office you can open up the app on iOS and Android to see what the problem is.
WhatsUp Gold is an excellent network monitor that functions well as a hardware monitoring tool. However, you need to contact the company directly to request a quote. You can download the free trial version from this link here.
8. Open Hardware Monitor
Open Hardware Monitor is a free open-source hardware monitor that measures computer temperature, fan speed, voltage, load, and clock speeds. Open Hardware Monitor can take temperature readings from temperature sensors with Intel and AMD processors.
Hardware metrics can be monitored through the desktop GUI. The GUI shows a list of Sensors with sections that can be collapsed or expanded to view performance data. The user interface isn’t as advanced as other tools on this list, but it does enable you to monitor performance effectively.
If you’re looking for a low-cost, lightweight hardware monitoring tool then Open Hardware Monitor is worth trying out. The software is available for Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and all x86 Linux systems. You can download the program for free from this link here.
Stay Online With Hardware Monitoring Tools
While you can’t be everywhere at once, hardware monitoring tools give you eyes and ears throughout your network. The dashboard-driven perspective of modern network monitors enables you to view performance metrics for a network full of devices in bite-sized chunks.
The type of tool you adopt should depend on your needs. If you want to optimize server performance then start with SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor. If you want a more unified monitoring experience that’s “ready to go” out-of-the-box then Paessler PRTG Network Monitor and Zabbix are solid choices. We recommend that you make use of free trials to get a feel for a new solution before you make a purchase.