Nagios Core Review

Nagios vs. SolarWinds - two completely different playing fields


I have setup a Nagios server from scratch as well as worked with Solarwinds pretty extensively. From my perspective they are on two completely different playing fields. Nagios definitely has its place, it's free... and it works well in a smaller environment. Solarwinds is expensive but it is a lot more robust than Nagios. Solarwinds does require you to install "Modules" in order to have in depth application monitoring, etc... Then again, so does Nagios... but you have to pay an arm and a leg for Solarwinds.

So depending on how big your environment is, you'll have to evaluate if the cost is worth it. Nagios, you'll spend your money you save on time to set it up. It takes a lot of time and determination to understand its inner-workings.

Solarwinds is a lot more than just a network monitoring tool. A quick example: You can develop "ghost runs" of an application and have it monitor the latency between steps. Meaning, you could configure it to load a web page, login to the webpage and run a link to gather data, all the while timing how long it takes to get from step to step. That gives you an idea of how much more Solarwinds has to it.

Nagios does have many open-source modules you can use (hell I even used one to telnet into an old AS400 and monitoring running processes).

So like I said, it depends on the environment and what you want out of the system. To answer the question about netflow, Nagios itself I don't think can do netflow but it can pair up with another module that can (and you still get to see it from a single pane of glass). Any specific questions let me know!

There's a ton of open source software out there that use Nagios and not. Ninja (front end GUI for nagios), Zenoss, What's Up Gold (YUCK!), etc... You could also get things like Alienvault (nagios is built in) that has more than just monitoring in it (it's an Open Source IDS). Cacti can be paired with Nagios to provide you with graphs for bandwidth utilization... Ok now I'm starting to blab, I'll end it here.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
2 Comments
kapilmalik1983ConsultantTOP REVIEWER

Had you faced any challenges in monitoring AS400 through Nagios? I am running a mix of windows, linux and solaris, AS400. So, do you recommend Nagios or Solarwind that can monitor all 4 kind of servers?

24 October 13
Linux Sysadmin at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employeesUser

We've piloted both Nagios and Zenoss here. Since we're starting with nothing Nagios has met our needs well and proved to be a valuable resource almost immediately by setting up simple SSH checks for our Linux hosts and SNMP checks (ie no agent) for our Windows hosts. Zenoss just proved to be overly complicated to get metrics like up/down, disk usage, memory usage etc. Perhaps with more time it would have proved to be more functional than Nagios but the simplicity of Nagios is really appealing.

How do you find installing and configuring Solarwinds vs. Zenoss? Is Solarwinds closer to Nagios or Zenoss?

The one big thing I struggle with with Nagios is that our Windows admins don't want to SSH into a Linux host and configure monitoring by editing text files. Does Ninja include a UI for setting up monitoring of new hosts?

08 May 14
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