What Is Infrastructure Monitoring? – 6 Best Software for Infrastructure Monitoring

By Staff Contributor on March 19, 2024

Infrastructure monitoring is the continuous and systematic observation of infrastructure components that collect and analyze an organization’s data, ensuring efficient and reliable operations.

How Does Infrastructure Monitoring Work?

Methods of Collecting Data for Monitoring

Infrastructure Monitoring Use Cases

What Are the Best Practices for Infrastructure Monitoring?

6 Best Types of Software for Infrastructure Monitoring

1. SolarWinds Observability (30 Days Free Trial)

2. Datadog

3. New Relic

4. AppDynamics

5. Dynatrace

6. Zabbix


This process involves tracking key metrics like CPU usage, memory utilization, disk I/O, network traffic, and application performance. It enables real-time and historical data collection, analysis, and reporting to maintain optimal performance, health, and security of networks, servers, applications, and databases. This allows for the identification and resolution of potential issues before they cause outages or performance degradation.

How Does Infrastructure Monitoring Work?

Infrastructure monitoring is an essential part of any IT organization. By monitoring key metrics and identifying and resolving potential issues early on, organizations can improve the performance and reliability of their infrastructure and enhance security and compliance.

Infrastructure monitoring uses specialized software or tools to continuously collect data from different components such as servers, networks, and applications. It captures key metrics like CPU usage, memory allocation, network traffic, and application response time.

This data is then processed, organized, and presented in visual dashboards or reports, providing real-time and historical insights into the system’s performance, health, and security status.

These monitoring tools are configured to set predefined thresholds or benchmarks for the metrics they track. When these thresholds are exceeded or when anomalies are detected, the tools can generate alerts or notifications to inform relevant personnel or teams of potential problems.

Methods of Collecting Data for Monitoring

There are two major approaches to collecting data in infrastructure monitoring: agent-based monitoring and agentless monitoring.

Agent-Based Monitoring

Agent-based monitoring is a method of collecting data from IT infrastructure by installing software agents on each system that is being monitored.

These agents function as small software modules, gathering, processing, and transmitting a wide range of data—including CPU usage, memory, disk space, network traffic, and application performance—directly from the devices they are installed on and sending it to a central monitoring server.

The monitoring server then analyzes the data and generates alerts and reports.

One of the distinctive features of agent-based monitoring is the real-time and comprehensive insights it offers. As these agents are installed directly on the system, they provide immediate and detailed data, offering a deeper understanding of the system’s health and performance metrics.

This method allows for highly detailed and specific data collection because the agents have direct access to the resources of the system they monitor.

Additionally, these agents can be customized to focus on specific types of data, providing tailored monitoring that aligns with the organization’s needs.

Agentless Monitoring

As opposed to agent-based monitoring, agentless monitoring does not require installing software agents on a monitored system. Agentless monitoring remotely accesses and gathers data from monitored systems through existing protocols like Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for data collection.

One of the main advantages of agentless monitoring is its simplicity of setup and maintenance. Since it doesn’t involve installing and managing individual agents on each system, it’s generally easier and quicker to deploy. This method also reduces potential security risks associated with installing additional software on systems, as it doesn’t introduce new components.

Agentless monitoring is a simpler and less intrusive approach, suitable for organizations that prioritize ease of setup and have fewer demands for highly detailed or real-time monitoring data.

Which Is Best?

Which type of monitoring is best depends on the specific needs of the organization. Organizations that need to collect detailed data about the performance and health of their systems or that need to monitor a wide range of systems may prefer agent-based monitoring.

On the other hand, organizations that need to minimize the impact on the performance of their systems or that need a low-cost monitoring solution may prefer agentless monitoring.

Many organizations use a combination of agent-based and agentless monitoring to meet their needs. For example, they may use agent-based monitoring to monitor critical systems and use agentless monitoring to monitor less critical systems.

Infrastructure Monitoring Use Cases

Performance Monitoring

Infrastructure monitoring includes performance tracking, such as observing network traffic, latency, and bandwidth to ensure efficient data flow.

It involves monitoring server health, resource usage, and response times for optimal functionality. Additionally, it entails observing application response times, error rates, and resource usage to maintain a seamless user experience.

Security and Compliance

Infrastructure monitoring involves actively monitoring for security threats, intrusions, and anomalies to prevent breaches and data loss.

Additionally, it ensures compliance with industry standards and regulations by tracking access controls and security protocols.

Downtime and Costs

Unplanned downtime can be costly in terms of lost revenue and customer satisfaction. Infrastructure monitoring can help organizations prevent downtime by detecting and resolving potential issues early on.

User Experience Improvement

Infrastructure monitoring aims to ensure a seamless user experience by observing website and application performance, particularly in terms of load times and responsiveness.

It leverages monitoring data to enhance user interfaces and service delivery based on user behavior and feedback.

What Are the Best Practices for Infrastructure Monitoring?

  • Select key metrics. Identify and focus on key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned with business objectives and system health.
  • Establish thresholds and alerts. Set clear thresholds for normal and abnormal behavior and configure alerts for immediate notification when these thresholds are breached.
  • Comprehensive monitoring. Monitor various layers of the infrastructure, including networks, servers, applications, and databases, to gain a comprehensive view.
  • Select the right monitoring tools and technologies. It’s important to select the right monitoring tools for your infrastructure by considering factors like the type of infrastructure, required metrics, and desired level of detail. Additionally, assess cost, usability, and available support to make an informed selection.
  • Use a combination of agent-based and agentless monitoring. Agent-based monitoring can collect more detailed data, but it can also impact the performance of the monitored systems. Agentless monitoring is less intrusive, but it may not be able to collect as much data. Using a combination of both types of monitoring can provide a good balance between data collection and performance impact.

6 Best Types of Software for Infrastructure Monitoring

1.     SolarWinds Observability (30 Days Free Trial)

SolarWinds® Observability offers SaaS-based monitoring for self-hosted and cloud infrastructure. It’s an IT management solution for network, systems, and application monitoring. Organizations of all sizes use this tool to collect and analyze data from their IT infrastructure and to identify and resolve potential problems before they impact users. It provides one holistic view combining deep application-aware network and infrastructure visibility, helping professionals with valuable insights.

©2024 SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. All rights reserved.

Key Features:

  • Network Performance Monitoring: SolarWinds monitors your network’s performance, helping you identify and resolve issues related to bandwidth, latency, and packet loss.
  • Application Performance Monitoring: It tracks the performance of your applications, ensuring they run seamlessly and deliver an optimal user experience.
  • Database Observability: provide visibility into your database instances to help increase system performance and team efficiency while helping ensure infrastructure cost savings.
  • Log Observability: This solution helps organizations collect, store, analyze, and search log data from various sources, including servers, applications, network devices, and security appliances.

Learn More                           Download Free Trial

2.     Datadog

Datadog is a cloud-based monitoring platform that helps organizations improve the performance, reliability, and security of their IT infrastructure. It collects data from various components and presents it in a unified dashboard, making it easy to resolve potential problems.

© Datadog 2024

Datadog offers a variety of integrations with other popular cloud services, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. It also offers a wide range of features: real-time monitoring, alerting, reporting, and integrations.

Key Features:

  • Dashboard Visualization: The platform provides customizable dashboards with interactive and visually intuitive charts, graphs, and maps, enabling users to interpret and analyze data easily.
  • Log Management: It includes log management capabilities, allowing you to centralize and analyze logs for troubleshooting, debugging, and gaining deeper insights into system behavior.
  • Network Performance Monitoring: The platform includes tools for monitoring network performance, helping to identify bottlenecks and latency issues, and ensuring optimal communication between different components.
  • Application Performance Monitoring (APM): Datadog helps monitor the performance of applications, providing insights into response times, error rates, and other crucial metrics, aiding in optimizing application performance.

3.     New Relic

New Relic is another popular cloud-based infrastructure monitoring platform. It offers a wide range of features, including real-time monitoring, alerting, and reporting.

New Relic also offers a variety of integrations with other popular cloud services, as well as on-premises infrastructure.

Key Features:

  • Real-Time Monitoring: New Relic provides real-time visibility into the health and performance of your infrastructure, allowing you to promptly identify and address issues.
  • Easy Integration: New Relic easily integrates with various tools and platforms, enhancing its compatibility with your existing IT environment and facilitating a seamless monitoring experience.
  • Application Performance Monitoring Integration: New Relic seamlessly integrates with Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tools, creating a unified view of infrastructure and application performance that delivers a comprehensive understanding of system health.

4.     AppDynamics

AppDynamics is a cloud-based application performance monitoring (APM) platform. It provides deep insights into the performance and health of applications, including application performance, user experience, and infrastructure utilization.

Copyright 2009 – 2024 AppDynamics. All Rights Reserved.

AppDynamics also offers a variety of features to help troubleshoot and resolve application performance problems.

Key Features:

  • Real-time Insights: AppDynamics delivers real-time insights into the performance and health of your infrastructure, enabling you to proactively monitor activities and prevent potential issues.
  • Customizable Alerting: AppDynamics provides robust alerting capabilities, allowing you to set up personalized alerts based on specific thresholds or conditions, ensuring timely action to address emerging problems.
  • Resource Optimization: AppDynamics monitors critical infrastructure resources such as CPU usage, memory consumption, disk I/O, and network activity, helping you identify and resolve resource-related bottlenecks before they impact performance.

5.     Dynatrace

Dynatrace is a cloud-based application monitoring and infrastructure monitoring platform. It provides unified monitoring of applications, servers, and infrastructure, as well as insights into user experience and digital business processes.

© 2024 Dynatrace LLC. All rights reserved.

Key Features:

  • Full-Stack Monitoring: It offers full-stack monitoring, covering applications, containers, cloud environments, and underlying infrastructure, providing a holistic view of your entire IT ecosystem.
  • Cloud-Native Monitoring: Specifically designed for cloud-native environments, Dynatrace provides insights into dynamic and ephemeral architectures, ensuring effective monitoring in cloud environments.
  • Real User Monitoring (RUM): Monitors and analyzes real user interactions with applications, helping identify user experience issues and optimizing application performance accordingly.

6.     Zabbix

Zabbix is an open-source solution that stands out for its expansive monitoring capabilities for networks and servers. It offers customizable features and a versatile range of monitoring options.

Zabbix caters to organizations seeking in-depth insights into their network and server operations.

Key Features:

  • Open Source Platform: Zabbix is an open-source monitoring solution, allowing for flexibility, customization, and a strong community of users and contributors.
  • Agent-Based and Agentless Monitoring: Zabbix offers both agent-based and agentless monitoring options, providing flexibility in how you collect data from different types of devices and systems.
  • Customizable Dashboards: Users can create personalized dashboards to display key metrics and performance data, tailoring the monitoring interface to their specific needs.


Infrastructure monitoring is fundamental for organizations, ensuring stability, security, and optimal performance. By understanding its function in prompt issue identification, resource efficiency, and user experience, businesses can leverage it to enhance reliability and drive success.

This post outlined the value and importance of infrastructure monitoring in an organization and the best practices for doing so.

This post was written by Damilola Ezekiel. Damilola is a software engineer and a technical writer who enjoys learning and sharing new things through writing. She is also an avid open-source contributor.

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