I worked in a shop once that had WhatsUp, SCCM and at least one other app up on big screens in the operations center. It was nice and there was no denying you didn't know something was wrong! I've heard okay things about Spiceworks, but havent' looked at it myself.
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for us, we choose to use the free version of VMTurbo to help with monitoring health status. Beyond that, I also have a "monitoring station" setup at my desk with vCenter open at all time. And last but not least, we ensure all the important alarms are enabled and use SMTP for alerting.
Thanks for the suggestions I'll check them out.