SaaS vs on-premise network monitoring tools – key differences

SaaS vs on-premise network monitoring tools
4 min

Saas vs on premise network monitoring software

Comparing SaaS vs on-premise network monitoring tools 

SaaS vs on-premise network monitoring tools. This is a conversation we see online frequently and it’s also one we love talking and writing about. You can check out more on our security white paper on this topic. While there is no right answer we want to draw attention to the key differences between SaaS vs on-premise network monitoring tools. 

Each system is fit for purpose in different scenarios depending on the size of your organization, the skillset and resources of your team, and your desired features and outcomes. 

Domotz is a cloud-based SaaS network monitoring solution, so we’re a bit biased towards SaaS tools over on-premise ones. That being said, we also love Zabbix and Nagios too. There are great options for both SaaS and on-premise tools. 

So, with that, let’s dive into the key differences between SaaS vs on-premise network monitoring tools. Additionally, we’ll be looking at the benefits and examples of both SaaS and on-premise network monitoring. 

SaaS cloud-based network monitoring tools and solutions

SaaS network monitoring tools in short, mean apps that are delivered to you as a server. Previously, vendors sold software as a product. For example, as a single product with a license code and no ongoing updates. Along comes the SaaS model and everything changes. Nowadays with SaaS network monitoring tools, vendors are providing services for their end-users by actively updating the software, maintaining the cloud, and securing the back-end. There’s no need for you as an end-user to get involved in the databases or server aspects of SaaS network monitoring tools. The vendor prepares and gets everything ready to run for you. SaaS is a positive for the software industry as well as end-users. 

Automated, updated, and maintained

There are some major benefits in choosing a cloud-based network monitoring tool vs. an on-premise one.  Firstly, SaaS tools typically include a high level of automation. Additionally, they are consistently updated with new features and maintained. Thirdly, they are typically much easier to use than self-hosted on-premise network monitoring tools. On the other hand, because of the added components of a SaaS tool, there is generally some form of a subscription associated with them. 

Fewer employee resource costs 

Another interesting point is that SaaS tools have much fewer costs in terms of employee resources. Furthermore, they require less specialized training and time to maintain and operate. On the other hand, on-premise solutions can be very costly in terms of employee resources. Typically they are more difficult to use, operate and maintain as you have to secure and stabilize the back-end environment yourself. 

Multi-tenant 

Additionally, SaaS tools cater to multi-tenancy and those who are managing more than one network. This is even more true if you’re monitoring tens, hundreds, or even thousands of networks. Moreover, SaaS tools handle multi-tenancy without greater ease.  This is critical for a managed service provider these days. They are often managing tens, if not hundreds, of networks and sites, so a cloud-based solution makes it much easier and faster to understand the status of all networks. Contrastingly, an on-premise solution is local to a site. Consequently, this means extracting any information requires dedicated reporting and aggregation methods, which are cumbersome and labor-intensive.

Remote access from anywhere

The best part of a cloud-based solution is that it can be accessed securely from anywhere. You can add and remove users more easily, giving you more flexibility. Perhaps even more importantly, cloud-based SaaS solutions are designed to give you more flexibility because they work across device platforms and are oftentimes browser-based.

SaaS Network Monitoring comparison

Examples:

  • Domotz
  • Auvik 
  • LogicMonitor
  • PRTG (has SaaS / cloud-based option)

Pros

  • Rapid set-up and highly automated
  • Some are often designed out of the box with multi-tenancy in mind
  • Cloud is hosted, maintained, and secured by the vendor  
  • Easy to set up, use, and maintain
  • On-going support 
  • On-going security patching
  • Features are continuously updated and added 
  • Add/remove users with ease
  • Provide remote access to a network
  • Better cross-platform accessibility

Cons

  • Usually not free 
  • If the vendor is breached, you could be subsequently impacted
  • License fees (vary from solution to solution) although some are very affordable (like Domotz which costs only $21/month per network for monitoring devices) 

On-Premise network monitoring tools and solutions

On-Premise Solutions have been the standard way to manage networks for many years. Usually, they consist of a server running management software that multiple users access. These servers are typically “keyed” to allow limited users access to the tool. When you need remote access to the server, operators often use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using VPNs is common, which also brings forth the notion that these systems also need maintenance and security. The problem is that as the software and server running the software ages, security risks come to the forefront. 

On-premise solutions are most popular in big corporate IT environments because of skepticism of the security of cloud-based software. These organizations would rather invest in maintaining, training, and operating a network monitoring solution on their premises. On-premise network monitoring tools can be extremely cost-effective and even free in some cases. Many on-premise network monitoring solutions are free or very cheap in terms of vendor fees. On the other hand, these tools require a high level of skill and maintenance to operate. Additionally, you have to also be securing the back-end and environment the tool is running on as well as the VPNs and servers. Consequently, this means they require a lot of resources and skills to set up properly and maintain. 

On-Premise Network Monitoring comparison

Examples:

  • Zabbix
  • Nagios
  • LibreNMS
  • PRTG (has an on-premise option)

Pros: 

  • Self-hosted
  • Can be free and license-free

Cons:

  • Cloud is not secured and maintained by the vendor. If the user decides to host the solution on its cloud, it’s up to the user to properly secure the system
  • Vulnerabilities can start to be exposed the longer the set-up is running
  • The operator has to maintain the back-end
  • Not always designed with multi-tenancy in mind 
  • If other systems fail, this system could fail too
  • Most require a high level of configuration 
  • ‍While cheap, they require a high level of investment in terms of time for configuration and maintenance, costing more time to the IT person or team. 

SaaS vs on-premise network monitoring tools – which one is right for you? 

The key differences between SaaS vs on-premise network monitoring tools include costs, multi-tenant design, remote access, ongoing maintenance costs, security, and updates. 

If you’re an organization providing network monitoring for multiple sites, then a SaaS tool like Domotz is a great investment. If you’re running a corporate IT environment and have access to lots of employees and resources, then either an on-premise or SaaS tool may be the best investment. (Though we’re still partial towards cloud-based SaaS tools!) 

Whatever you decide, there are excellent options for each network monitoring tool type. Read through our article on the best network monitoring tools to find out which one is the right for you. 

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