Jul 26, 2010

Free and Easy Open Source Monitoring

We are currently evaluating different network monitoring tools right now at my day time gig. We are currently using a mix of HP System Insight manager, SCCM, and Cacti. Our goal is to consolidate into one, easy to use tool. We have looked at three so far, and are slowly narrowing it down to one.

The one I am going to tell you about isn’t one we are going to use, not because it doesn’t work well, but because it runs on Linux, and my new boss is a Windows guy. He wants us to move away from Open Source solutions because often times they require a bit more time to make them work, while many products made for Windows are designed to work out of the box.

The tool I will tell you about, actually works pretty well out of the box as well. All you do is install it in Linux, and the rest you follow the wizards through a web interface! This makes it easy for those who are not so Linux Savvy.

The tool is called Zenoss Core. It was recommended to me by a former colleague, and what I use4d on it was pretty cool. As soon as we stood it up, it asked a series of questions in a wizard like format, and after about 10 minutes or so, we were “off to the races” with monitoring.

From their page:

[Zenoss Core is] One of the most popular projects on Sourceforge.com, Zenoss Core  is an award-winning open source IT monitoring product that offers visibility over the entire IT stack, from network devices to applications. Features include automatic discovery, inventory via CMDB, availability monitoring, easy-to-read performance graphs, sophisticated alerting, an easy-to-use web portal, and much, much more.

If you’re boss is one of those who doesn’t like Open Source because of a lack of support, there is an enterprise version of Zenoss available too. The enterprise version gives you all the features of Core, plus the following:

  • Zenoss-Core Deep VMware Monitoring
  • Enhanced Windows Monitoring
  • Synthetic Transactions (Web, Email, Database)
  • Predictive Thresholds
  • Fine-Grained Access Control
  • Global Dashboard
  • Distributed Configuration Manager
  • High Availability Package
  • Enterprise ZenPacks
  • Production-level, expert support via phone and email
  • Premium service levels
  • Automated patch management
  • Licensing & IP Assurance

If you must know, the tools we are leaning towards are Orion by SolarWinds because both my new boss, and my coworker are familiar with it, and opManager by ManageEngine because it is similar, but cheaper. It’s funny, but if you look at both of these products side by side, they almost look identical! It’s almost as if opManager copied the source code from Orion when they built it! I suppose it will come down to price on which one we choose there.

If you’re IT department is looking for a new monitoring solution, and you have no qualms about using Linux and Open Source, then I recommend checking out Zenoss Core.

I’m curious to know what you use for monitoring in your environment. Is it free/open source? Is it easy to setup and configure? Do you hate it? Let us know in the comments!

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