Best open source monitoring tools
Credit: Stephen Sauer
Comparing monitoring tools
Network monitoring is a key component in making sure your network is running smoothly. We tested four open source network monitoring products: Cacti, Icinga, Zabbix and Observium. We found all four products to be capable network monitoring tools that performed well in our basic tasks such as checking for host availability and measuring bandwidth usage. Beyond the basics, there were quite a few differences in terms of features, granularity and configuration options.
Overall we liked Zabbix, which was easy to install, has an intuitive user interface and enough granularity to perform most network monitoring tasks. Zabbix is all open source. There is no separate paid Enterprise version. This means all of the source code is open source and available, which should be attractive to both small and large enterprises. Although Zabbix does not offer a separate commercial version, commercial support contracts are available in five different levels ranging from ‘Bronze’ to ‘Enterprise’. Zabbix also offers other paid services such as integration, turnkey solutions and general consulting.
Observium is a Linux-based, command-line driven product with a web-based monitoring interface. Released under the QPL Open Source license, Observium is currently in version 0.14. Observium is available in both a community edition, which we tested, and a professional edition. Observium uses the RRDTool for certain features, such as buffer storage and graphing capabilities. It provides auto-discovery of a wide variety of devices from servers and switches to printers and power devices.
PROS: Observium has a nice user interface with modern features and has good on-screen reporting.
CONS: Observium has no direct export or reporting capabilities. You cannot add devices by using IP address only.