A decent management server is very important in a network, at least that is my opinion. The most important aspect of a management server is its user friendliness. Our customers are most of the time busy with their own problems and the problems of end users, which include all kind of (silly) problems. So the most of them don’t have a lot of time to spend on configuring a management server.
That is why I like Cacti and especially CactiEZ. CactiEZ is a software appliance, which is up and running in half an hour. After that you just add some devices and you can generate some nice bandwidth statistics with the help of RRDTool. I have also seen a lot of other management servers, like Nagios, HP OpenView and Cisco Works, but the most of them are hard to configure and end up as mp3 player…..
When I configure a management server only for network components like switches, routers and/or firewalls, I always use CactiEZ. It is easy to install and gives me all the things I need. The most important options of Cacti for me are: bandwidth statistics, syslog messages, flow view, mac tracking, reporting and so one. Especially if you combine Cacti(EZ) with SwitchMap, you have a nice, easy to use and robust management server for your network.