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In this article, we’ll be going over the 5 best Cisco Switch monitoring tools for 2022. Network monitoring is critical to ensuring a business stays secure. Switches are crucial to the proper functioning of that network. Switches connect networks and serve as controllers that let organizations share resources and talk to each other for better productivity.
Without them, organizations face crippled information sharing and resource allocation, not to mention unnecessary costs. We all want speedy access to information, and switches are an integral part of making that happen. However, like all the components of your IT network, switches need effective monitoring to build a sound security strategy.
Why Is Monitoring Important?
Organizations actualize network monitoring for a few reasons, and all of them contribute to the overall success of a business. One reason for the necessity of network monitoring is guaranteeing ideal execution of the organization. Minor changes, like files not loading quickly, can altogether influence efficiency levels.
Equally important is the safety and security of your network and data. Network administration is all about detecting those potential threats and stopping data leaks, preventing damage to your reputation and bottom line.
Also, network monitoring can provide real cost-savings opportunities for businesses allocating resources. They can discover which network elements are being heavily used (or overused) and which are under-used. These results can highlight unnecessary costs or identify network components needing an upgrade to maintain future performance.
Network Monitoring Software
Monitoring your network is essential as it helps to thwart attacks and address problems before they become financial losses. Network monitoring typically covers all network devices and scrutinizes availability, CPU and memory utilization, disk usage, and configuration.
When trying to tackle network management, many organizations focus on edge devices instead of the entire network. Monitoring routers, firewalls, and switches will help identify most attacks, and it gives IT leaders the insight they need to assess overall network performance.
How can you ensure you have the highest level of connectivity and security and that you have selected the right monitoring tool?
Here is our list of the five best Cisco switch monitoring tools in 2021.
Best Cisco Switch Monitoring Tools
MetricFire’s Hosted Graphite is an open-source monitoring tool that runs reliably on MetricFire’s cloud infrastructure so users don’t have to worry about maintaining the infrastructure. People use Hosted Graphite to track the performance of their websites, applications, networks, IoT devices, and other infrastructure devices. Hosted Graphite is a good option for many kinds of time series data, and monitoring your network gear is a classic use case.
You can start using Graphite with minimal configuration and effort by using a tool like CollectD or Diamond, and using either a CollectD SNMP plugin or Diamond SNMP plugin. These plugins talk to your switches over SNMP, fetch the network interface stats, and report it to MetricFire via a Graphite protocol.
MetricFire offers Grafana as a Service with extensive features to create customized dashboards and run queries to generate the metrics you want. This seamlessly works with Graphite so you can visualise metrics, customize charts, graphs, and run alerts.
The LogicMonitor network monitoring tool discovers your devices automatically. When creating the network topology map and inventory, it also notes each device's make and model so you can quickly identify and keep track of your Cisco switches.
While the LogicMonitor tool communicates primarily with Cisco switches and routers, it has extra functionality when dealing with Cisco Nexus switches; here, it can perform configuration management and monitoring. It can track supervisor card status and redundancy states while troubleshooting fan performance and power draw.
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
One Cisco network monitoring tool is the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM). Forget struggling with cryptic CLI commands. SolarWinds NPM automatically discovers and identifies Cisco routers and switches.
Complete with customizable network topology and dashboards to visualize performance, this monitoring tool continuously polls the management information bases (MIBs) on your devices to get critical performance metrics to keep your system functioning optimally.
As a streamlined solution, SolarWinds NPM monitors all parts of your network in a centralized monitoring tool. It also checks if your software-defined networking (SDN) environment is performing correctly, and it provides total visibility into your Cisco ASA environment and infrastructure.
NPM from SolarWinds is a good option if you are in the market for a monitoring tool built specifically for handling Cisco devices and environments. It comes with out-of-the-box compatibility with the device agents already loaded onto each Cisco device.
Datadog Network Monitoring
A cloud-based system designed for hybrid environments, the Datadog Network Monitoring solution combines health monitoring of all Cisco network devices with activity monitoring for all actions passing through network traffic.
Datadog translates performance into easily understandable tags. This unified system allows for quick visualization of your network devices and can preemptively stop bandwidth saturation in its tracks using AI-powered forecasting to ensure a high-quality service.
You can focus on the most insightful switch metrics and monitor all Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) devices and network traffic data side by side. Datadog also provides extensibility through many APIs, with entirely customizable graphs, metrics, and alerts.
Cisco Network Assistant
Optimized to work across most Cisco switches, routers, controllers, and access points, the Cisco Network Assistant is another network monitoring tool. The major downside is that it can only manage up to 80 devices.
Most would assume that a network monitoring system from Cisco would facilitate the network management of Cisco devices. Still, with limited capacity on devices, it might not be the best choice for more extensive enterprise networks.
The Cisco Network Assistant offers a device access service so you can arrive at a switch’s management menu through the monitor dashboard. Using the direct link to the Cisco Active Advisor, you can view important warranty and contract information for any of your devices.
Interested in some eye-catching graphs? Use MetricFire’s hosted Graphite, hosted Prometheus, and beautiful Grafana data visualizations that allow you to supercharge your existing network monitoring strategies.
Choosing a Monitoring Tool
Two things should be top of mind when selecting the right network monitoring tool for your Cisco switches and other devices:
- Network size
Most of the options listed are great for any company size, but there are also tools for the less robust systems of smaller businesses. Take into consideration the size of your network and the number of sites and servers that you monitor currently. If applicable, think about how your organization is growing so you can future-proof your decision.
Of course, the budget also plays a large part in selecting a monitoring tool that is efficient and cost-effective. Take advantage of the free trials for these recommended tools to test them against your requirements before committing.
Network monitoring is not possible without protocols; ones like SNMP facilitate performance monitoring on Cisco products. It’s important to note that some tools work specifically to automate the network monitoring process, such as Solarwinds NPM, ManageEngine OpManager, PRTG Network Monitor, WhatsUp Gold, and Cisco Network Assistant.
This can be a critical factor in the decision-making process if automation is high on the priority list and relieves stress from your end-user. Monitoring is the most critical aspect of managing a network. Not only can network monitoring tools alert you when something is wrong, but they can help during troubleshooting and for network planning. Whichever tool you choose, it should be capable of monitoring.
Using MetricFire as your Cisco Switch Monitoring Tool
MetricFire is the ultimate solution for organizations that lack the resources for a full Cisco network monitoring team. This powerful monitoring platform built on hosted versions of Graphite, Grafana, and Prometheus monitors metrics after a quick installation of our agent.