Agentless v agent-based monitoring

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There are many factors to consider during the product evaluation phase of any IT monitoring solution.  In this blog we aim to help decision makers understand the pros and cons of agent-based and agentless deployments.


IT monitoring solutions can be complex products, each offering an array of features and functionality.  To make product comparisons easier, it helps to break down the long list  of such features into broad categories and focus on what’s important to the individual organization.

When considering the implementation phase and the on-going maintenance of monitoring solutions, it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons of agent-based and agentless approaches.  Their impact varies depending on; the delivery resources the organization has available, the current size of the IT estate and estimated future expansion, but in general they can be outlined as follows:



  • Can capture performance when network connectivity to central server is compromised
  • Can offer more granular/detailed monitoring


  • No remote software to install
  • Generally lower initialcost
  • No “on device” resource overhead
  • WMI and VMware agentless monitoring can complement traditional SNMP monitoring



  • Requires installation and ongoing maintenance of additional software on each device to be monitored
  • Installation may be prohibited by end customer organisations (important for Service Providers)
  • Takes CPU and RAM resources from each device with a running agent installed
  • Less granular monitoring and data collection
  • Can be hamstrung by networking configuration or networking issues (firewalls)

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