Bringing the monitoring power of Paessler PRTG to new operating system platforms

 Originally published on October 14, 2022 by Daniel Zobel
Last updated on October 14, 2022 • 9 minute read

With a long history and a focus on IT infrastructure monitoring in Windows networks, Paessler PRTG originated in the Windows environment. IT administrators from all over the world needed a monitoring solution that would also reliably monitor the associated infrastructure in their largely Windows-based network to ensure the constant availability of the network, network components, and servers. The majority of our users are therefore familiar with Windows servers and feel confident in setting up, configuring, and using the Microsoft environment and routinely performing all their necessary tasks. This is why our PRTG server still runs on all relevant Windows versions and can be installed very easily and quickly. Users who do not want to take care of hardware can also subscribe to PRTG as a service and let Paessler take care of the server maintenance.

Remote probes for more flexibility

Another aspect of why our users appreciate PRTG is its flexibility when it comes to integrating additional network segments: With PRTG, it is possible to integrate multiple network segments into the central monitoring at any time, even if they cannot be reached directly from the PRTG server. This is made possible by the "Remote Probe" concept: The part of PRTG responsible for collecting data from the end devices can be installed as a separate software component within a delimited network.

The Remote Probe collects monitoring data within the network and establishes a secure connection to the PRTG server, where the data is then integrated into the central monitoring for analysis, notifications, and reports, and also displayed in shared dashboards. 

A remote probe has much lower system requirements than the PRTG server and, in installations with fewer sensors, can even run side-by-side on a client system or some other low-power, low-resource system. Until recently, however, you always needed a Windows system (and the corresponding Windows license) to run a Remote Probe. 

But not anymore.

Remote Probes on additional platforms

Our users have asked us again and again whether we can offer the Remote Probe on alternative operating systems. So last year we started to develop a new Remote Probe. Maybe you have already seen one or the other article about this:

Our new Multi Platform Probe runs on Windows systems as well as on Linux distributions, in Docker containers, and we also support devices with ARM processors. This even makes it possible to run a PRTG Probe on some NAS systems or a Raspberry PI! Depending on the use case, this opens up completely new and cost-effective ways to tap into all ends of a network. As middleware for the communication between the PRTG server and the Multi Platform Probe, a NATS server is needed.

What's up tech world?

New sensors for the new probe

Together with the Multi Platform Probe, we are also developing a new sensor system: In the future, sensors will no longer be firmly anchored in the PRTG server but will be distributed directly via the probe and register with the PRTG server with their capabilities and properties when a connection is established. This allows us to deploy sensors much faster and more flexibly. However, it also means that certain monitoring capabilities (sensor types) are not available on the Multi Platform Probe until we have also implemented them in the new sensor system.

Therefore, we are gradually adding more and more sensor types that can be used on the new probe. We are transferring the sensor types that are most important for our users first. In parallel to this development, the classic, Windows-based Remote Probe, which fully supports all sensor types, is of course still available.

Monitoring options without Windows probe

On the Multi Platform Probe, we first provide the sensors that we published (or re-published) last, as these are already based on the new platform. That said, already available today are, for example, Ping, Cloud Ping, Cloud HTTP, Network Share, and the versatile REST Custom Sensor for universal monitoring of data published by the endpoint via a REST interface.

Data center monitoring and industrial

Numerous sensors for data center monitoring are also already available, such as for DELL EMC Unity, HPE 3PAR, and NetApp storage solutions. Via the Redfish sensors, all server systems that support this universal standard can be integrated into PRTG via the new probe and provide visibility into general system health, power supply, and virtual disks.

In the case of the industrial sector, the Multi Platform Probe on embedded systems creates completely new application possibilities along with sensors for monitoring Beckhoff industrial PCs, OPC UA, Modbus, Soffico Orchestra, and MQTT.

Further development

Next, we will focus on sensors that are important for monitoring classic IT infrastructure so that the basic functionality of an IT network can be fully monitored on the new platforms. Sensors are already available for Cisco Meraki and FortiGate devices. Classic SNMP traffic monitoring will follow soon.

Be a part of this journey

The Multi Platform Probe with all described functionalities is under continuous development and is available as a test version:

What is the Multi-Platform Probe and how can I use it?

Also, can you spare a few minutes to take part in a survey? We would really appreciate it, because the opinion of our users shapes our work and our goals like nothing else. Of course, you are also welcome to contact us directly, preferably via this email address:

Survey on IT infrastucture monitoring

Thanks, Daniel, for these great insights!

This article is part of an ongoing content series titled Joachim and his team. Regularly, our CTO Joachim as well as his team will comment on topics of interest to our readers, mostly (but not always) related to Paessler PRTG. If you wish to suggest a topic, please leave a comment.