Netmon VS Solarwinds

Network Monitoring Comparison Solarwinds and Netmon

Network monitoring stands as a crucial element for every network administrator, serving as the linchpin for gauging the effectiveness of your IT team in troubleshooting and even preemptively eliminating issues. This significance isn’t confined to large enterprises; even small organizations require comprehensive visibility into their network environment.

This visibility encompasses a keen understanding of the state of servers, network infrastructure, and the flow of traffic across the network and all connected devices. Currently, the market offers a diverse array of nearly one hundred products, encompassing both commercial and open-source solutions, each delivering varying levels of network performance monitoring (NPM) capabilities.

The prevailing products predominantly leverage established standards that have been integral to the field for the past two decades. SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) remains a stalwart choice, and more recently, WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) has gained prominence as Microsoft’s implementation of the Web-Based Enterprise Management. This wealth of options ensures that organizations can select a monitoring solution that aligns precisely with their technical requirements and preferences.

For those seeking to delve deeper into the technical intricacies, we provide the option to download the detailed information in PDF format, allowing for a comprehensive exploration of the nuances in network monitoring.

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Head-To-Head Technical Comparison: Solarwinds vs. Netmon


Architecture: Sold as an appliance with a Debian Linux-based operating system.

Solution Inclusion: Complete hardware and software package for comprehensive network monitoring in mid-sized network environments.

Additional Requirements: No extra software or licenses needed for the operating system or database; all inclusive.

Licensing: Unlimited device monitoring based on the physical capacity of the appliance hardware.

Flexibility: Varied components of monitoring can be user-enabled.

Solarwinds NPM:

Architecture: Windows-based application under the Solarwinds brand.

Installation: Requires dedicated Windows server; installs Microsoft SQL Express 2008 R2 as the database component.

Additional Components: Offers a suite of additional software components for comprehensive network performance monitoring.

Cost Consideration: Licensing does not include Microsoft Server or SQL costs.

Interface: Accessed through a web browser with support for major browsers.

Licensing: Primarily based on three elements – Interfaces, Nodes (devices), and Disk Volumes. Functionality Comparison: Solarwinds NPM (Version 11.5)

Target Audience: Primarily designed for enterprise-level environments.

Focus: Monitors the performance of network devices; additional products or modules required for specific monitoring needs.

Traffic Analysis: QoE module provides network packet analysis but requires sensors on each device, posing a configuration challenge in large networks.

Netflow Traffic Analysis: Additional module available for enriched traffic analysis at an extra cost, supporting various flow data types.

Availability & Performance Monitoring: Monitors device and interface availability, bandwidth utilization, packet loss, latency, errors, CPU, and memory for SNMP and WMI-enabled devices. Syslog Monitoring: Additional module available for syslog messages and SNMP traps at an extra cost, facilitating filtering, viewing, and custom alerts.

For an in-depth technical exploration and detailed comparison, download our comprehensive PDF.

Netmon: Unleashing Powerful Network Insights

Netmon stands out as a comprehensive solution tailored for midsize to enterprise-level environments, presenting a holistic approach as both an appliance and software solution. At the core of Netmon’s offering is its suite of monitoring tools, strategically designed to provide a device-centric vantage point of the network.

Key Features:

Real-Time Network Traffic Analysis: A standout feature is Netmon’s ability to deliver real-time network traffic analysis without the need for additional modules or purchases. Unlike other solutions, Netmon’s traffic analysis engine is practically plug-and-play. The appliance is equipped with an additional network interface (expandable) that seamlessly plugs into a port-mirrored interface on a core network switch. Upon enabling the IP Packet Analyzer service, the Home Dashboard provides immediate feedback, showcasing top network activity, protocol analysis graphs, and a visual network explorer displaying key network conversations.

Flexible Traffic Analysis: Netmon’s traffic analysis engine effortlessly integrates data from various sources, supporting Cisco® NetFlow and sFlow. This integration enables a comprehensive multi-location network view by combining sniffed traffic from the local network analysis engine with Netflow traffic streams configured on remote routers.

Network Availability & Performance Monitoring: Netmon excels in monitoring network device and interface availability, offering detailed insights into bandwidth utilization, packet loss, latency, errors, discards, CPU, and memory for SNMP-enabled devices. The platform even allows the import of custom SNMP MIBs for monitoring specific and more granular performance metrics.

Windows Device Monitoring: While Netmon currently does not support WMI, it compensates by providing a custom dashboard for Windows devices. Leveraging a free SNMP agent, Netmon monitors performance metrics on Windows Servers and Workstations, including CPU usage, RAM utilization, disk I/O metrics, and more.

Syslog Monitoring: A comprehensive monitoring system isn’t complete without syslog monitoring. Netmon seamlessly receives syslog messages from a range of network devices and Linux®/Unix® hosts. Users can filter, view, and create custom alerts based on time, host, severity, and alert message, ensuring proactive management of network events.

Netmon brings a robust set of features to the table, empowering organizations with unparalleled visibility into their network infrastructure. Dive deeper into the technical intricacies by exploring our detailed documentation.

Functionality Comparison

Solarwinds NPM (Version 11.5)

The Solarwinds network performance monitor application typically targets enterprise-level environments rather than small and mid-sized companies. The product is primarily designed to monitor the performance of network devices. If a company needs to monitor actual network traffic, application monitoring, or other forms of monitoring such as eventlog / syslog monitoring, they would need to use a different product and / or purchase additional modules within the Solarwinds suite. These include Netflow Traffic Analysis, WAN and VoIP QoS performance monitoring, Log & Event Manager as well as several other modules. Although Solarwinds provides network packet analysis with their Quality of Experience module, this feature requires a sensor to be installed on each individual servers or dedicated machine / network device to provide traffic analysis. When tested, the configuration for the QoE module requires the user to configure every type of network traffic (network protocol) that they wish to monitor / analyze on a per device basis. In a large network environment, configuring sensors for ALL different types of network traffic for hundreds (/ thousands) of devices would be a daunting and time consuming task. Support for Netflow Traffic analysis – Solarwinds has an additional module / application called the Netflow Traffic Analyzer (currently at version 4.1.2) available for an additional cost that can be integrated with the NPM product to provide a more enriched level of traffic analysis. This software supports Cisco® NetFlow, Juniper® J-Flow,sFlow®, Huawei NetStream™ & IP FIX flow data. The data collector captures and analyzes the flow data that is integrated into most routers and converts that data into easy-to-interpret charts and tables that quantify how the network is being used, by whom and for what purpose. Network Availability & Performance Monitoring – Solarwinds monitors network device and interface availability, performance indicators such as bandwidth utilization, packet loss, latency, errors, discards, CPU, and memory for SNMP and WMI-enabled devices. Syslog Monitoring – Solarwinds has an additional module / application (Kiwi Syslog Server) available for an additional $295.00 per install cost that receives syslog messages and SNMP traps from network devices (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.), and Linux®/Unix® hosts. You can filter and view these messages based on time, hostname, severity, etc., and set up custom alerts.

Solarwinds Home Dashboard
Solarwinds Event Viewer
Solarwinds Top 10 Lists
Solarwinds Environment Dashboard

Netmon (Version 6.2)

Netmon is sold as a complete appliance and software solution, and targets midsize to enterprise level environments. Netmon includes a suite of monitoring tools with a focus on providing a device centric vantage point of the network. Its main differentiator is that it can provide real time network traffic analysis without any additional modules / purchases (i.e. Netflow, JFlow or a separate Sensor that must be installed on a separate Server). Netmon’s traffic analysis engine is practically plug and play. The appliance comes with an additional network interface on the appliance (and is further expandable) that can simply be plugged into a port-mirrored interface on a core network switch (or switches). Once the IP Packet Analyzer service is enabled, traffic analysis is fully functional and it provides immediate feedback including (on the Home Dashboard) top network activity – who is talking to who, a protocol analysis graph and the visual network explorer which displays the top network conversations on the network. Netmon includes a data collector module which supports Cisco® NetFlow and sFlow and integrates that data the exact same way that it presents the sniffed traffic from its traffic analysis engine. This allows multiple protocol analysis graphs to be shown on the home dashboard representing both sniffed traffic from the integrated local network traffic analysis engine as well as Netflow traffic streams that can be configured on routers (cisco) at remote locations and then sent to Netmon for a complete multi location network view and breakdown. Network Availability & Performance Monitoring – Netmon monitors network device and interface availability, performance indicators such as bandwidth utilization, packet loss, latency, errors, discards, CPU, and memory for SNMP-enabled devices. Netmon provides the ability to import custom SNMP MIBs for monitoring specific and more granular performance metrics. Since Netmon does not currently support WMI (which is a Microsoft-centric technology), it provides a custom dashboard for all Windows devices utilizing a free SNMP agent for monitoring performance metrics on Windows Servers, and Workstations (i.e. CPU, RAM, Disk I/O metrics etc.). Syslog Monitoring – As part of a full featured monitoring system Netmon includes the ability to receive SYSLOG messages from network devices (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.), and Linux®/Unix® hosts. You can filter, view and create custom alerts for these SYSLOG messages based on time, host, severity and alert message.

Protocol Analysis Graph on Home Dashboard
Virtual Network Explorer
(Cisco Switch) Device Dashboard
SYSLOG / Event Log per Device View
Windows (Server) Device Dashboard

Functionality Summary

Cost Comparison

A cost comparison based on monitoring 1000 devices – Since the two products have a completely different sales and pricing models, assumptions had to be made in regards to hardware requirements and cost, additional software modules (based on the monitoring capabilities in the chart above) for Solarwinds.

Netmon Appliance – Vs 6.4

Total Investment Cost$ 15,550.00 USD
Includes unlimited device licensing
The actual number of devices that can be monitored may be limited depending on the amount of network traffic and Netflow traffic also being analyzed
Additional appliances can be purchased to separate the network traffic analysis load from the network device polling

Solarwinds Licensing and Costs

SolarWinds NPM SL2000 (up to 2000 elements) Software License$ 17,085.00 USD
SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer Module for NPM SL100 (100 Device license)$ 1,875.00 USD
Solarwinds Kiwi Syslog Server (Single Install)$ 295.00 USD
 Server Hardware for Solarwinds NPM (1000 Device Capacity)$ 20,000.00 USD
• Recommended configuration as per Thwack Forum community
• Requires separate Servers for MS SQL Database and NPM / Netflow / Kiwi Syslog applications
• Requires Microsoft Windows Server licensing & Microsoft SQL licensing
Total Investment Cost (Hardware & Software licensing)$ 39,255.00 USD

Want to learn more about Netmon?

Feel free to look around our website and try our live working demo of Netmon in our offices. Let us know if you have any questions about this white paper or Netmon, or if you would like to schedule a webinar / phone demo with us!