Paessler Scales Network Monitoring from SOHO to Enterprise

Paessler AG, headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany, was founded in 1997 by Dirk Paessler who had a
vision for a better network management solution. That vision has grown into a company that has delivered
easy-to-use network monitoring and testing solutions to businesses of all sizes – from Small
Office/Home Office (SOHO) organizations to large enterprises, including 70 percent of the Fortune 100
companies. The privately-held firm claims to have sold over 50,000 licenses for its products, with over
150,000 installations. This includes a number of free network monitoring tools that are available for
download without charge from the company’s website. The Paessler solutions are also available through a
worldwide network of resellers; consulting partners who offer consulting services and training on the
products; ISP partners that deploy the solutions to assist their own customers; and OEM partners that
incorporate the Paessler products into their own systems. Paessler AG remains a privately held company
and is recognized as both a Cisco Technology Developer Partner and a VMware Technology Alliance

Paessler has developed a suite of Windows-based network management tools. The flagship product is the
PRTG Network Monitor, a powerful network monitoring solution designed to ensure the availability of
network components while also measuring traffic and usage. The product is designed as a continuous
network and server monitoring system, that enables problem identification and resolution before a serious
threat to business operations ensues. The system features the ability to avoid bandwidth and server
performance bottlenecks, deliver a higher quality of service (QoS) to the end users, reduce network costs
by only buying bandwidth and hardware based on actual load, not on estimates; and avoid costly downtime
caused by undetected system failures.

The PRTG Network Monitor installs on a PC, server or virtual machine with roughly the
performance of an average PC built in 2007 or later;  running Microsoft Windows 2003, 2008, XP, or
Vista; and also having Google Chrome, Firefox 3 or Internet Explorer 7/8 for access to the Web
interface. The product covers all aspects of network monitoring, including: up-/downtime monitoring,
traffic and usage monitoring, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and Cisco System’s NetFlow
monitoring, and packet analysis.

Three different methods of network usage data acquisition are available. First, both Windows
Management Instrumentation (WMI) and SNMP can be used to gather bandwidth usage and performance data for all
systems within the network, including port-by-port usage data for switches and routers. Secondly, an
integrated protocol analyzer can inspect all network data packets traveling in the LAN or WLAN to
calculate the bandwidth usage. Finally, high end routers and switches from companies such as Cisco,
Hewlett-Packard and Juniper that support NetFlow or sFlow information export for bandwidth usage
monitoring can be integrated into the system, thus tying in WAN components to the overall management

PRTG Network Monitor supports over 50 different sensor types covering all common network
services (such as ping, HTTP, SMTP, POP3, FTP, and so on), which allows the system to monitor the
network for both speed and failures. Request times and downtimes are constantly recorded in the
database, allowing a compilation of performance, downtime and service level agreement (SLA) reports at
any time. Outages that are identified are then alerted by sending emails, SMS, pager messages and other
notifications. Support for these sensors is quite broad, and includes Internet protocols TCP/IP, UDP and
ICMP; SNMP v1, V2c and V3; Windows Management Instrumentation that can measure CPU load, memory, disk
space, event logs, and vital system data.

Analyzed information is presented to the network manager in some very useful graphical formats,
including a maps view that displays the network topology (see Figure 1), and a comprehensive view for
even very large enterprise networks (see Figure 2).

iPRTG iPhone Application

Another interesting way to receive the network management information is via the iPRTG
application, which was announced in September 2009. This innovative application was written for
Apple’s iPhone, and was developed for network managers that are already using, or plan to use
PRTG Network Monitor. The application allows those managers to view the monitored environment and
actively manage the monitoring any time, and from anywhere. All relevant data are acquired directly from
the central PRTG server, and an intuitive software design makes it possible to make sensor adjustments,
view messages, note analysis of alerts and charts, and evaluate results from the iPhone display (see
Figure 3). iPRTG is available in the iTunes App Store, and currently sells for $19.95.

The PRTG Network Monitor is available in two versions, a Freeware Edition for both
personal and commercial use, plus a Commercial Edition which is required for monitoring more than
ten sensors. Licenses for the Commercial Edition start at $380.00.

Further details on the Paessler network management solutions can be found at Our next tutorial will
continue our examination of vendors’ network management architectures.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation, All Rights Reserved

Author’s Biography

Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation, a Denver-based consulting engineering
firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP
, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley &

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