Agentless, agents - or is there a third way?
Are you tired of being limited to an agent or agentless solutions? Fortunately, there is a third option that provides even more flexibility and customization for your network monitoring needs.
Before we get to that, let’s briefly review the pros and cons of agent-based and agentless monitoring and have a quick look at a cost comparison between the two approaches.
Agent-based network monitoring requires installing software agents/components on monitored devices, which access protocols like SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation), IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface), and system-level APIs to collect data on CPU, disk, memory usage, network traffic, and other performance metrics. This data is then sent to a central monitoring system. Advantages of agent-based monitoring include access to a wide range of data, more control over data granularity, and the ability to monitor offline devices and gather log data. However, it also requires software installation and maintenance on each device, may impact device performance, pose security risks, and potentially require more hardware and network resources.
Agentless network monitoring, on the other hand, uses network protocols (SNMP, WMI, IPMI) to collect data from devices without installing anything on them, requiring less effort to monitor and maintain your network. It has a negligible impact on device performance and reduces security risks. However, devices need an active network connection to be monitored, and data collection is limited to information pulled by network protocols, which may consume additional bandwidth.
What is the cost?
The cost comparison between agent and agentless monitoring depends on the size and complexity of an organization’s network. Generally, the costs associated with agent-based monitoring include licensing fees, software updates, and maintenance fees - not to mention the time and resources it takes to deploy and maintain - while agentless monitoring typically costs less as there is no need to buy, deploy, and maintain software agents. Ultimately, it comes down to a trade-off between keeping costs down and minimizing device performance and the level of granularity and control over the collected data.
What if none is available?
Now, let’s discuss the situation that there are no agents available and you do not have any standard agentless way to get the performance data from the monitoring target to the monitoring system. How can you get data from external data sources?
Other data/event sources
If there are any monitoring blank spots in your network, then most probably you cannot get their performance data or service status in a standard way. You need to find a way to push or send this data to your monitoring system. NetCrunch enables users to monitor any data source that can be accessed via a script or HTTP request. With this, you can collect and analyze data in a way that best suits your specific needs.
Getting performance or status data to NetCrunch
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways this can help you monitor your network.
Monitoring Text Logs: NetCrunch enables you to monitor text logs by defining a pattern or a regular expression to match with log entries. This is particularly useful when the target you want to monitor saves its performance data to a text log and you need to track specific events or messages from such log.
Monitoring Web Pages and Data: With NetCrunch, you can monitor web pages and data by defining HTTP/HTTPS requests to get specific information from web servers. This allows you to monitor web-based applications and services in addition to network devices.
- Sending Data to NetCrunch: NetCrunch provides a variety of methods for sending data from external sources directly to the monitoring system, including email, SNMP traps, syslog, and file-based integration.
- Scripting Sensors: NetCrunch’s scripting sensors allow you to write custom scripts that can collect data from virtually any source, including APIs, databases, and custom applications. This gives you the ability to monitor virtually any aspect of your network or infrastructure.
- External event sources: NetCrunch’s external event source monitoring enables you to track events from a wide range of sources that broadcast them, including text logs, web pages, and third-party applications. This allows you to proactively detect and respond to security threats, performance, and traffic issues that may impact your network.
Filling the gaps in your monitoring strategy
Taken together, these monitoring methods provide a comprehensive view of your network’s health and performance. For example, you can monitor text logs and web pages to detect specific events, while also using scripting sensors to collect data from APIs and custom applications. Additionally, external event sources can help you proactively detect and respond to a wide range of potential issues. By leveraging these capabilities, you can ensure that your network is operating smoothly and identify and address any issues before they become major problems.
When it comes to network management, organizations need to consider filling in all the blank spots in their monitoring coverage to prevent the potential impact of internal or external events on their network infrastructure. This may include cyberattacks, system failures, power outages, and natural disasters. Having a network management system that can not only promptly identify and react to such events but also proactively administer your network is imperative to reduce the impact of such events on operations.
NetCrunch not only offers these capabilities but also enables organizations to integrate external event sources into their network monitoring and management software. This allows network admins to get the information they need from their networks when they need it, so they can keep their networks humming smoothly while identifying performance, state, and security issues, and quickly executing remedial actions. NetCrunch’s centralized management console, along with its web console, provides users the added benefit of its built-in topology maps, live performance dashboards, graphical views, and other network visualization capabilities, making it a versatile and efficient solution for managing and monitoring a network.
In conclusion, network monitoring can be approached in different ways: agent-based provides access to a wide range of data, but requires software installation and maintenance, while agentless uses network protocols to collect data from devices, but may be limited if the information is pulled only from network protocols. A comprehensive third option of delivering performance info from other data sources allows for even more flexibility and customization from your network monitoring software. Network admins and security analysts can rapidly identify and address security threats, performance problems, and other potential network interruptions by gathering and analyzing event data from multiple sources across the network topology. NetCrunch’s comprehensive set of monitoring tools enables organizations to keep their network operating smoothly and identify and address issues before they become major problems.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take control of your network and stay ahead of the curve with the latest advancements in network monitoring technology. Review your NetCrunch configuration today and rest assured that your network is being proactively monitored and managed, ensuring a sense of security and peace of mind that everything is safe and secure.
NetCrunch is an agentless network monitoring and management software that collects data from devices and systems on a network. This allows network administrators the ability to get the information they need from their networks when they need it, so they can keep their networks humming smoothly while identifying performance, state, and security issues, and quickly executing remedial actions. NetCrunch’s centralized management console, along with its web console, provides users the added benefit of its built-in IP Tools, graphical views, and network mapping capabilities, making it a versatile and efficient solution for managing and monitoring a network.