Operating systems

Review: Munin network resource monitoring tool

Munin is an open source application that enables the administrator to monitor and collect data for networks, PCs, SANS, and even applications.

Information is the "I" in IT. Without network resource information your job is either made impossible or very difficult. There are countless tools available for the collection of that information. One of those tools is Munin, which is an open source application that enables the administrator to monitor and collect data for networks, PCs, SANS, and even applications. With a very robust plugin framework (and plenty of available plugins), Munin is one of the most flexible network resource monitoring systems available.

Specifications

  • Available for UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems including: Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, AIX, OS X / Darwin supported in trunk, and HP-UX
  • Both server and client (node) installation binaries available
  • Munin is programmed in Perl and it needs some Perl modules to work properly
  • Additional vendor information
  • TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

Munin is for any system/network administrator requiring serious power when gathering network resource information.

What problem does it solve?

Munin solves the problem of system information collecting in a much more robust and scalable way than other systems. By having a server/client setup, the Munin server can monitor specific systems (PCs, networks, applications) from one single configuration file. This also makes administering Munin very easy by combining the collection of data from multiple sources into a single Web-based interface.

Standout features

  • Easy installation/configuration
  • Simple to use Web-based interface
  • Add as many clients (nodes) as you need
  • Large collection of plugins from the MuninExchange site

What's wrong?

One problem you will quickly run into with Munin is that, upon installation, it may seem like the system isn't working. This isn't true. Munin needs a collection of data before it can present any data. Many an administrator assumes this is a problem and will spend much time and effort attempting to resolve the issue. The creators of Munin should take this into consideration and, at least, add a default page statement that informs the administrator that data is being collected.

Another issue some administrators might have is that all configurations are done via text files. There is no Web-based administration interface. It is my belief that Munin would enjoy quite a bit more deployments if a graphical configuration tool was available.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

Munin is an outstanding system monitoring tool that can be up and monitoring your servers, networks, clients, and applications in no time. With an extensive plugin library, easy installation/use, and low cost, Munin makes for a near-perfect solution for business-level network system resource monitoring.

User rating

Have you encountered or used the Munin network resource monitoring tool? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

4 comments
Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

... now.. let's have a look see.. I'm still trying to find something that fits my needs. If this proves to be a hybrid type app between Splunk and Jffnms then it could be just what I've been looking for.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

How much time do you spend monitoring network traffic in your organization? What tools do you use to accomplish this task?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. but better multi-machine display and longer list of plugins.

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