Saturday, January 20, 2007

Alternatives to Nagios

I've never been a fan of putting all my eggs in one basket. Although, by all accounts, Nagios looks like it will be an adequate solution to network monitoring, there are alternatives. Here are the ones I've come across for my "just in case this doesn't work" list:

One that I've seen quite a few times in my research is called OpenNMS. The website states that

OpenNMS is the world's first enterprise grade network management platform developed under the open source model. It consists of a community supported open-source project as well as a commercial services, training and support organization.
World's first, eh? And what's your criteria for establishing whether something "enterprise grade" or not? Ah, well. Cynicism is unbecoming, and the product looks decent enough, whether or not it's the "world's first."

I do have a few concerns about this product, though, that encouraged me to move it to the "just in case" list. I came across this on a mailing list:
The big thing that makes OpenNMS a non-starter for me was the inability to create dependencies between services. It's a pain to do in Nagios but it's there and that is a critical tool for enterprise level operations.
Yeah, that would be a bit of a show stopper, unless you're doing nothing more sophisticated than running a plain vanilla server install with a few simple services -- and who does that anymore?

This one seems relatively new, but has been getting a fair bit of buzz. Zenoss, according to the website, is as follows:

Zenoss Core is an enterprise-grade network and systems monitoring product that delivers the functionality IT operations teams need to effectively manage the health and performance of their entire infrastructure through a single, integrated package... Zenoss has changed the game by offering a complete, easy-to-use solution as a free..., downloadable, open source software product.

Okay, so far, so good. I perused the website fairly extensively, and have to admit that it looks like a very slick package -- arguably more feature complete and functional than Nagios. There is a fully functional demo available, so I can check things out without having to do a local install, and see if it's more hype than reality... and this appears not to be the case. This is encouraging. Plus, the app appears to be written in Python, so it'll be portable and easy to modify and extend, should the need arise.

I may in fact do a double install -- both Nagios and Zenoss, just to see which one is more appropriate for my needs.

Zenoss seems very impressive.