PA Server Monitor Review: Monitoring Made Simple

Review of PA Server Monitor, a great tool that enables you to monitor servers and other devices, both locally and remotely. Because 'If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Manage It'.

With its simplified navigation and configuration, PA Server Monitor enables you to monitor servers and other devices, both locally and remotely. It runs on a Windows machine, and requires a single installation to centrally monitor hundreds of devices in a manageable way. It allows you to view all monitored devices in one place and their status in real time, which greatly facilitates the quick detection of critical ones. It is an agentless monitoring software, meaning you do not need to install it on monitored devices.

With the ability of real-time notification and statistics for servers and devices, it keeps you informed of possible problems, and gives you an instant overview of the state the environment is in. It can notify you via SMS or e-mail every time the problems are discovered or solved, about exceeded thresholds, and even when someone logs into the machine that is being monitored.

PA Server Monitor interface
PA Server Monitor interface


How it works

PA Server Monitor is composed of a Central Monitoring Service, which is always running in the background, and a Console GUI application that you interact with and configure the central monitoring service. Both of these components come with the initial installation.

With a variety of monitors that are ‘attached’ to devices, you can monitor: disk space, performance (CPU and memory utilization, NIC traffic), system environment (temperature, humidity, and luminescence), running processes and services, ping response, TCP port response, changed files and directories, directory quotas, web page content and load times, and many more.

Customizable charts, reports (tabular, graphical or .csv), as well as alerts enable you to easily and quickly see if there is something problematic in your environment you need to address, allowing you to be proactive and solve issues before they impact the end user. You can define what should be monitored – for example, when system thresholds are exceeded, there is a change of configuration, license issues, internal problems – schedule when the report or alert should be generated, what action should be taken when the problem occurs, who should be notified and when. Thus, it helps you alleviate both downtime and cost.

Monitoring details for server DOM1 (domain controller)
Monitoring details for server DOM1 (domain controller)


Available Editions

The software is available in several editions:

  • PA Server Monitor Ultra
  • PA Server Monitor Pro
  • PA Server Monitor Lite
  • PA Server Monitor Free

Despite its ability to monitor servers and devices on the local network, PA Server Monitor Ultra enables you to monitor remote entities, without needing a VPN. Instead, you install a Satellite Monitoring Service on a remote device, which will monitor servers/devices on the remote LAN, and send alerts and monitoring data to the Central Monitoring Service installed on your on-site server, via SSL-encrypted HTTP.

PA Server Monitor Pro comes with all possible monitors, actions, and reports as the Ultra version does, but without the ability to monitor remote devices.

Lite version is recommended for small monitoring environments, and comes with limited number of reports and monitors available.

Free edition enables you to monitor a single server, implies a limited number of reports, and is basically intended to monitor blogs and home computers.

PA Server Monitor is also available as a mobile application, but only for iPhone and Android platform, which certainly represents a drawback for Windows Phone users. Nowadays, having a phone version of an application does not represent a luxury anymore, but a basic need. Since iPhone and Android application has proven invaluable for alerts and quick referencing of issues for many customers, it would certainly prove useful for Windows Phone users.

Find out more about each edition on the following link.


Licensing and Pricing

When you decide to purchase a license for one of the products (Ultra, Pro, Lite), you are purchasing a Perpetual License, which lasts forever with the current version of the product. Additionally, all licenses come with first year support and maintenance automatically included in the price.

Licensing functions on a per-monitored-server/device basis, meaning that each monitored server/device requires a license, which does not expire.

If your environment is prone to changes when it comes to the number of devices being monitored, you may opt for Subscription License, in which case you pay a monthly amount based on how many devices are to be monitored that particular month.

To find out more about the actual price for each edition, refer to the following link.


Useful Monitors

  • Directory Quota Monitor may be particularly useful for tracking user’s directories. A user may be notified by email if a predefined quota has been exceeded.
  • TCP Port Monitor checks the port status and whether the connection is established successfully.
  • Execute Script Monitor allows you to write your own scripts (VBScript, JavaScript, PowerShell) which can then be executed in Console or can be sent to the Central Monitoring Service (or a Satellite), to be executed for any custom tasks
  • Event Log Monitor identifies errors and sends you alerts when they happen
  • in case you want to be notified if a specified event does NOT happen, use the Event Validator Monitor
  • File & Directory Change Monitor is used to check if files and directories on a server were changed, created or deleted
  • Service Monitor watches system services and fires an action if a service is not running

To assure yourself of all the features and capabilities of this monitoring software, download any trial version. Also, watch this short demo to find out PA Server Monitor basic capabilities.


RouterFreak’s verdict

If you need a continuous control of your IT environment, whether simple or complex, I recommend you to implement PA Server Monitor. It will not only provide you with the flexible and cost efficient solution, but will also enable you to monitor pretty much whatever you want to, solve problems proactively and, what is most important after all, keep your customers satisfied.

The moment I set it to monitor my environment, it provided me with an instant feedback of the state it was in. With its intuitive interface, rich reporting, responsive alerts, and mobile application, it will come as a valuable tool to keep eyes on your infrastructure 24/7/365.


Your turn: are you monitoring your IT environment and how?


Daniele Besana

Daniele Besana

Daniele is a freelancer consultant with 15 years of experience in network security, customer support, Linux and Salsa. He worked for Juniper Networks in Netherlands, providing support and consultancy on security projects across Europe and Middle-East.

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