Zabbix vs PRTG

In the old days, the solution of monitoring is writing bat or shell scripts that follow a particular schedule and send diagnostic reports via email. However, this traditional solution is not efficient when there are too many machines in the network or if there are different platforms (i.e. Linux and Microsoft Windows) that require each own scripts. Luckily, there are now various monitoring solutions that can overcome those limitations. You may have heard about Zabbix and PRTG, and now you want to know what the differences are between those two monitoring systems. Continue reading below to find the comparisons between Zabbix vs PRTG.

Pricing
One of the most significant differences of Zabbix vs PRTG is the pricing. Zabbix is a free open-source monitoring solution, which is great if you don’t want to spend so much money. However, such free software typically doesn’t provide as much support as licensed options. You will need some support when an issue arises. Fortunately, the Zabbix community is active and helpful to assist when you need support.

On the other hand, PRTG is a licensed monitoring solution. There is a freeware edition that allows you to use up to 100 sensors in the system, and there is a 30-day trial if you want to try the fullest capabilities of the software without any sensor limitation. There are paid options that allow 500, 1000, 2500, 5000, and unlimited sensors. There are also different support levels, consisting of Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Enterprise, which vary by the availability time, guaranteed response time, and features.

Installation
Both Zabbix and PRTG are generally easy to set up. But Zabbix requires Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Zabbix can only operate in a *nix-like system. Meanwhile, PRTG is somewhat less tedious to set up, but can only operate in a Microsoft Windows environment. (Read also : Zabbix vs OpenNMS)

Features
However, Zabbix’s interface is generally simpler and more intuitive to use. It is fully configurable from the web front-end, through which you can also monitor the availability and performance of web-based services.

One of the best things about Zabbix is that it does not rely on SNMP alone. Instead, you can use the dedicated agents instead, which not only are more secure but also enable more monitoring capabilities. It also has good alerts. Unfortunately, it lacks real-time test features as well as advanced templates and alerting rules.

PRTG has its web interface completely redesigned. It is not much simpler and easier to use. In addition, there is now a mini-HTML interface that can be accessed via mobile devices. With PRTG, you can not only receive alerts on your smartphone, but also immediately take action.

PRTG has more advanced features. It has a broad range of sensors that enable the monitoring of distributed systems as well as virtual environments (VMware, HyperV, Amazon Cloud Watch, etc.). It has advanced mapping functions for creating custom network views, and its web interface is integrated with Google Maps to enable geographical maps. It also offers the real-time availability of up to one year of actual historical data, instead of aggregated data – great for analysis.

Performance
Both Zabbix and PRTG can be used for small, medium, and large networks. However, Zabbix is not very suitable for large networks with more than 1,000 nodes, as its performance will start to deteriorate. This is because of the PHP and web GUI limitations. On the other hand, PRTG remains stable when handling such large network.

ZabbixPRTG
- Free, open-source software- Licensed software, available in a free version and paid versions
- Active and helpful community- Great support from the company with different tier levels
- Can only operate in a *nix-like system- Runs in a Windows environment
- Optional SNMP, can use the client agents instead; able to monitor web-based services- Mini-HTML interface for control via mobile devices; able to monitor distributed and virtual systems
- Performance may start to deteriorate when handling a large network- Generally stable and solid performance

Conclusion
If you need complex monitoring that involves not only infrastructure but also information and web services, Zabbix is the way to go. Zabbix is also great because it is free and open-source. Meanwhile, PRTG will fit more easily in a Microsoft Windows environment. PRTG is the way to go if you can benefit from the ability to monitor distributed/virtual systems or the mobile control.

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