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9 best monitoring tools for networks, HDDs & USB drives

Radu Tirsinaceo and his founder.

  • Network traffic monitoring tools are essential for the administrator.
  • Therefore, we have included several such tools in this article, including hard drive and USB stick monitoring.
  • We have studied each of these tools for monitoring networks, hard drives and USB keys in detail.
  • We have included products from Passler, Gilisoft and other leading developers.

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No one would need software to monitor all kinds of systems if all the devices in the world were as powerful and reliable as you.

But machines have their own weaknesses and their own performance problems and quirks, and the best thing you can do is check them from time to time before something happens that can’t be fixed.

Here are 12 monitoring tools for your hard drive, USB drive and network that you can use to make sure everything on these systems continues to run as smoothly as possible.

What are the best network monitoring tools?

If you want to build a network, you need to start with the architecture, then draw the design, and finally analyze and select the hardware that best meets your needs.

Many businesses need to get their network set up and functioning properly to generate revenue. So it’s important that you have the best tools to monitor and manage the network you’ve worked hard to build.

If you’re wondering how to find the best monitoring tools for your network out of hundreds, if not thousands, of options, we can help.

Today there are several commercial products, free tools and open source software to choose from. There is also a lot of discussion about free or paid tools, and both are tried, tested and highly recommended.

Choosing open source is also a good option and may even match commercial tools.

On the other hand, you should be aware that using an open source monitoring tool requires a high degree of familiarity with that particular tool, which may not meet all of your needs.

On the one hand, open source tools require a significant investment of time and resources to learn about, install, configure, and use the tool.

In addition, some features may need to be developed with the support of the community or with the help of an internal IT team.

Another consideration is safety, and this can easily become an issue if your installation is subject to strict safety regulations.

Immediate individual solutions may not be possible unless you take some time to develop them, etc. The audit process may fail to identify certain important security weaknesses.

Therefore, we recommend you to stick to free or paid network monitoring tools as they are much more convenient.

GRTP’s network tools monitor all aspects of your IT infrastructure, including all devices, systems, traffic and applications, using a variety of technologies.

These technologies include the following: SNMP (out-of-the-box and customizable options), WMI and Windows performance counters, SSH (for Linux/Unix and macOS systems), stream and packet sniffing, ping, HTTP and push data queries, SQL and more.

The tool can scan network segments by pinging specific IP ranges. In this way, PRTG detects different devices and systems in automatic mode and creates sensors based on predefined device models.

All this saves you a lot of prep work, and you can start following everything right away.

The tool can also be used to create web pages with current monitoring data in the desired design. They will also be able to create maps using publicly available monitoring data.

PRTG alerts you when it detects alarms or important readings. You can also receive push notifications directly on your mobile device, and set up email and text notifications in the way that suits you best.

You can even write your own scripts using the powerful API.

PRTG Network monitoring

A complete solution for monitoring your entire network, devices, systems and applications. Set custom filters and alarms.

Cacti is a network monitoring tool that allows you to collect data from virtually any network element, including switching and routing systems, load balancers, firewalls and servers, and display all data in graphical form.

If you own a device, an active Cacti developer community may have created a monitoring template for that device.

This tool supports SNMP queries, which cover a wide range of network devices.

You will also be able to extend Cacti’s capabilities to use scripts, queries or commands to collect data, then save it as a template and use it to query other devices for similar data sets.

Cacti uses the power of RRDTool. It is an open source data capture and tracking system designed to store survey data in a database. It also creates graphs of stored data sets.

RRDTool data consolidation allows you to store the collected data indefinitely and is limited only by the size of the storage space. Cacti, which is built on RRDTool, can generate any type of graph for any data set.

The graph used in Cacti is a standard used by several commercial and open source tools.

With Cacti you can also add additional users and give them access with or without editing rights. This is ideal for service providers and companies with a large team of NOCs.

Cacti, which is built on RRDTool, can generate any type of graph for any data set. The graph used in Cacti is a standard used by several commercial and open source tools.

With Cacti you can add other users and give them access with or without editing rights. This is ideal for service providers and companies with a large team of NOCs.

⇒ Get the cactuses

This is a traffic probe that libpcap uses to capture packets to report network traffic.

You can install it on a server with different interfaces and use port mirroring on the network port to forward ntopng with data packets from the network for analysis.

The software can analyze traffic, even at 10 Gbps, and report on IP addresses, volumes and bytes for each transaction.

It can also sort traffic by IP, protocol and port, and generate usage reports and even SA information.

This level of traffic analysis helps you make informed decisions about bandwidth planning and QoS design, and to look for users and applications that could disrupt your network’s bandwidth.

The utility has a commercial version called ntopng pro that includes some additional features, but the open source version seems good enough to get a quick overview of traffic patterns.

This tool integrates with external monitoring applications such as Nagios and provides data for monitoring.

The program also has some limitations, but the level of visibility of traffic on the network is worth it.

⇒ Get the NTOP

The tool enables centralized monitoring of the cloud for development and IT operations, as well as monitoring the experience of real users visiting websites and applications from desktop and mobile devices.

Advanced monitoring capabilities enable DevOps teams to monitor and troubleshoot applications, servers, and network infrastructure, including private and public clouds.

End user experiences are tracked from more than 50 locations worldwide and from different mobile operators.

Site24x7 software monitors the performance of Internet services such as HTTPS, DNS, FTP, SSL, SMTP, POP, URL and API.

It provides comprehensive monitoring of critical network devices such as routers, firewalls and networks. This can help network teams gain the in-depth performance knowledge they need to manage complex systems.

⇒ Get the website24x7

What are the best tools for checking the health of hard drives?

If you do not know the status of your hard drives, you will not be able to recover all your valuable data until an unpleasant incident occurs and then it will be too late.

You should know that not all hard drive crashes happen by accident, so you should take the time to backup your data before the drive crashes for good.

All modern engines are equipped with a monitoring technology called S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology), which is used to continuously monitor certain parameters of the hard drive.

This technology allows monitoring various parameters such as B. Read/write error data, error detection data, temperatures, rotation time, etc.

To be effectively alerted when some of these parameters deteriorate or are about to reach a threshold, you need a program that can track all these changes and display them for you.

This monitoring software should allow you to test and ensure that your hard drive is capable of storing your data as securely as possible. This should give you enough time to backup your important files and look for a replacement drive.

Monitoring software cannot fully demonstrate whether the integrity of all your data on a given hard drive can be maintained.

It’s best to check once a month to make sure your data isn’t locked up unreadable, that your drive isn’t damaged, and that the data you have stored on your system hasn’t been lost.

This is an excellent program to monitor the temperature and health of your hard drive. The software is capable of alerting you when the temperature and condition of your disk deteriorates.

The temperature warning in the program is set to 50 degrees Celsius by default, but can also be adjusted.

It has S.M.A.R.T. graphs with the data collected and has no problem telling the user everything they need to know about the drive.

CrystalDiskInfo shows both the number of activated clocks and the total number of activated clocks. The software is open source, there is a portable version of the software, as well as an installer.

The main benefits of the program are residency monitoring, temperature and health alarms, temperature display for each drive in the system tray, S.M.A.R.T. and general information on internal/external hard drives, and configuration of AAM/APM parameters.

One of its drawbacks is that it must be configured to be placed in the system tray and constantly checked.

⇒ fetch CrystalDiskInfo

It’s a great program, even if the interface requires a little tweaking. One of the best features is the graph when scanning the surface for unreadable blocks of data.

It can list the blocks by response time, and that way you can see how many blocks are close to unreadable before the data in those blocks is lost. You are reminded to uncheck the box that disables dynamic map updates.

It is recommended not to run other programs at the same time as the scan.

The program also includes settings for configuring AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management), PM (Power Management) and APM (Advanced Power Management).

The main functions are temperature monitoring, temperature alarms, temperature display for each drive, S.M.A.R.T. and other tests, surface scan, information about internal and external hard drives, and the functions already described.

A temperature controller must be selected for each actuator so that it can be continuously monitored, which must be done at each program start.

⇒ Get the HDDScan

HD Tune is a pretty useful reference for testing the performance of your hard drive. The free version offers block scanning functions and also works with internal and external hard drives.

This utility has a graphic marker to compare the performance of internal/external hard drives and uses graphics to look for bad data blocks on internal and external drives.

It can also display power-on clock, S.M.A.R.T. and general information for internal stations only.

You can also make the program portable. Just copy HDTune.exe to a folder after installing the program.

The free version of the program is no longer scalable, and you will need to upgrade to the paid Pro version with more advanced features.

The free version of the program does not include monitoring of external USB S.M.A.R.T. drives, temperature and information, because it is not updated.

⇒ Get HD tuning

What are the best tools for monitoring USB flash drives?

Whenever you buy new computer hardware, be it RAM, CPU, hard drive, etc., one of the most important factors that help you in your purchase decision is the performance of that particular component.

With hard drives and SSDs, you need to pay attention to the read/write capacity and speed.

The situation is very similar if you decide to buy a removable memory card or USB stick.

In addition to concerns about the maximum capacity of USB flash drives and whether they are counterfeit when sourced from sites such as eBay, the performance of USB flash drives can vary greatly.

This is highly dependent on the manufacturer and the type of memory used.

Today’s modern devices can reach up to 64 GB or more, and if you buy a slow, high-capacity USB drive, it can literally take hours to fully fill.

Not only is it incredibly frustrating, but it can be a waste of money if you have to buy something else that is faster and meets all your needs.

Many users buy based on the size of the disc, regardless of the driving speed.

If you already own USB sticks, you might want to find out how fast they actually are for writing and reading. If a 16 GB drive is writing at only 3-4 MB/s, it can take forever to fill up.

If you have a fast USB3 drive, it can perform the exact same tasks in just a few minutes.

These tools allow you to test your USB flash drives or media cards to see if they are really fast.

The first software in our list that manages and limits data access from USB devices is Device Control Plus from ManageEngine.

The product is incredibly robust and can be used by a wide range of users, from the common user who just wants to avoid USB viruses to the administrator who needs to control access to the device’s data.

Excessive access rights are no longer an issue thanks to the zero trust policy of Device Control Plus, as every device is scanned before it is granted any kind of access, whether you connect it for the hundredth time or not.

Control unit plus

Managing and monitoring USB devices is essential for the well-being of your entire IT system. Get the control unit here!

USB devices are a prime target for malware infections on PCs because in most cases they gain immediate access to the PC’s entire file database, so restricting access is the best way to avoid such situations.

The Gilisoft USB lock is a third party tool specialized in this field. It can easily prevent external media from accessing your PC, and you can even use it to completely disconnect PC ports to prevent unintended connections.

Moreover, the product has an incredibly simple interface, with most of the information being transferred the moment you connect your new device to your PC, making it extremely user-friendly for beginners.

Gilisoft USB Slot

The name speaks for itself, and Gilisoft USB Lock quickly restricts access to any unauthorized USB device.

Review all the above software and choose the most appropriate one for hard disk/USB drive monitoring and network performance.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2017 and revised and updated to be current, accurate and complete in February 2021.

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