What is most valuable?
Though I downplayed the administrative NCC GUI, this is by far the strongest aspect of the Nagios XI product. In my early days of exposure to Nagios, I was using the Nagios Core product which was configured by manually editing system configuration files and then performing a system configuration verification step. This was a very cumbersome method of configuration of the respective Nagios functions. It was like the old days of software compilers where one would troubleshoot a code set by trial and error, solving source-code issues one error at a time. This was an exacting approach for Nagios system configuration, but very slow.
How has it helped my organization?
Nagios XI allows my customer to monitor literally thousands of network and computing endpoints (both hardware and software) in real time, including custom derived SNMP polling and traps. One can even write custom scripts that are embedded as part of the Nagios monitoring footprint.
What needs improvement?
The product could be optimized to improve the administrative user experience via the Nagios Core Configuration (NCC) GUI module.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been immersed in this solution for the past eight months.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The NCC does have issues where it locks up or an admin cannot be sure if the system configuration was exact. I end up saving the system configuration from the Nagios XI native MySQL DB storage paradigm to the old Nagios Core flat file paradigm to confirm proper configuration of the Nagios system.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The new Nagios XI product has been designed from the ground up to support a highly scaleable paradigm.
How are customer service and technical support?
In general, tech support is available as needed but it is not inexpensive. Response times are generally within 24 hours, but there are times when this is not the case.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I originally used the Nagios Core solution (first one out of the gate many years ago) which had no GUI for system configuration. One had to manually edit system configuration files to customize the Nagios system for specific functional needs.
How was the initial setup?
Configuring the Nagios engine is not a trivial task. Functional components build on top of each other as one defines the system configuration. One has to define the atomic components and then build moiré complex functions on top of those atomic components. This is cumbersome, but it also gives a system designer much flexibility in customizing their own solution.
Considering I come from the software engineering world, it reminds me of the power of the original C software compiler, where respective language easily enabled one to flip individual bits in a data stream. Today’s software compilers are much more simple and one can build high-level projects much quicker, but they do not provide easy access to low-level “bit-flipping” tricks. This is my opinion of the older Nagios Core product versus the newer Nagios XI product.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I recommend that my customer start at the low end of the cost spectrum to determine if a Nagios solution is a good fit for their organization. That customer can then grow into the higher-priced scale as they learn how to utilize the features for Nagios XI.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I am familiar with other pricey pay-for network monitoring solutions. The Nagios Core solution is an open source and free product and allows customers to get their feet wet without doling out tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars for a product they may not like. The pay-for solutions provide ample customer support, but if one is willing to pull up a chair and learn the Nagios solution from the ground up, it is well worth the time, versus extensive dollars, investment. And Nagios is highly customizable by the end-user.
What other advice do I have?
As I stated above, I would recommend getting one of the Nagios “for Dummies” configuration books (Nagios: Building Enterprise-Grade Monitoring Infrastructures for Systems and Networks (second edition)) and start with the free/open-source Nagios Core product. Once one gains a basic understanding of said solution they can then graduate up to the Nagios XI Enterprise product for a fraction of the cost of other pay-for network monitoring solutions. By taking this approach one learns the basic building blocks of the Nagios paradigm before being immersed in the Nagios XI Enterprise world. Like I stated previously, the time investment up front is well worth the dollar savings in the end.
Which version of this solution are you currently using?