Networking

Review: Nagios XI network monitoring tool

Nagios enables the network administrator to keep a very close watch on all systems on the network no matter how many systems are on that network.

If you are a network or systems administrator, your primary goal is making sure those systems are up and running 24/7. To do this efficiently you need monitoring tools. If you are looking for a cost effective, flexible tool that also happens to be open source, then you might want to take a good look at one of the standard bearers for network monitoring in the open source community - Nagios.

Requirements

  • Product: Nagios XI network monitoring tool
  • Operating system: Linux (or UNIX variant)
  • C compiler
  • TCP/IP configured for the network
  • License: GNU General Public License Version 2
  • Initial cost: Free download
  • Support: Support plans for the enterprise start at $2,495.
  • Additional vendor information
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Who's it for?

Nagios is relevant for any sized network. From SMB to Enterprise, Nagios can handle just about anything you have. But you will need a bit of patience, because, although Nagios is simple to install, making it really work for you can take some time and tweaking. There are configuration files to edit, plugins to add, and more.

What problem does it solve?

Nagios enables the network administrator to keep a very close watch on all systems on the network. But it doesn't just randomly watch anything and everything - Nagios only watches what you set it up to watch. And when something goes wrong, Nagios will alert you.

Standout features

  • Incredible flexibility
  • Easy installation
  • Scalable
  • Easy to navigate web-interface
  • Plenty of plugins
  • Alert system
  • Event handlers help with problem remediation
  • Capacity planning and trending
  • Reporting system

What's wrong?

The only issue Nagios has is that it does not auto-discover devices. You will have to configure each device you want to monitor by creating a configuration file for that device.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you are ready and will to do a little work, Nagios will be an outstanding network monitoring tool. Not only will it do a remarkable job once up and running, you will find it very tweak-able to best suit your needs. Nagios is the perfect solution for any business looking for amazing features at zero cost.

User rating

Have you encountered or used Nagios? 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.

12 comments
opmon
opmon

Hi Jack Thank you for an interesting article. It would be very interesting to read a review of, and comparison of op5 Monitor and Nagios XI since op5 Monitor has a Nagios core. Would it be worth the extra money to go with op5 Monitor?

dogStarTech
dogStarTech

We use Opsview rather than Nagios. It's easier to install and configure, and supports distributed monitoring out-of-the-box. I also prefer the GUI over Zabbix, Groundwork and Nagios. Opsview's community version is also properly Open Source (GPLv2) which you can't say is the case with all of those listed. The other monitoring product I really like is Zenoss, although its not based on Nagios core.

naparuba
naparuba

Hi, You should look at Shinken, it?s a enhanced Nagios reimplementation in Python that allow you to have a quick and easy distributed and high availability monitoring environment, and of course with Nagios configuration and plugins compatibility :) It's available (Open Source with a AGPL licence) at http://www.shinken-monitoring.org with even a demo virtual machine to test it in 5minutes :) Jean gab?s, Shinken developper

dazadd99
dazadd99

I used it to monitor 150 servers it was pretty good. I agree that the setup can be a chore, but once you get into - its straightforward.

neftalig
neftalig

Excellent post Jack I think Nagios is the best network monitoring tool, I have also tried Zenoss and I found it easy to deploy. what i like about Zenoss is that it does a device discovery in the network. Of course, to get a precise results is necessary to modify the agents on windows computers. Anyways I will try Nagios XI ASAP. Thanks for the post again

michaelklachko
michaelklachko

Nagios can be a great tool if you have plenty of time and desire to install, configure, and maintain your monitoring environment. That process can get complicated and even frustrating. If you have better things to do, try a commercial system, such as LogicMonitor, which takes literally several minutes to set up and lets you see useful data from your devices in as little as 10 minutes. A small agent needs to be installed on any single host to monitor your entire datacenter. All configuration is really just providing an IP address of any device you have (database, web/mail/app server, load balancer, storage array, router, firewall, etc), and the agent will start collecting various performance metrics using snmp, wmi, jdbc, jmx, netapp/amazon/vmware API, and other data collection methods. Collected data is stored for up to a year, and is web-accessible from anywhere. Everything will be autodiscovered, and alert thresholds come preconfigured for most critical parameters, based on years of experience running large datacenters. Best of all, all support is included in cost ($300/month), which is especially sweet if you have lots of custom monitoring needs. Try it free on http://www.logicmonitor.com

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

How often do you try a new network monitoring tool? Which one is on your short list for testing?

netways ca
netways ca

Dude every body knows you stole nagios! Time to stand on your own two feet DUDE!!!!!!!

hondafrank
hondafrank

How does LogicMonitor work for custom applications? Can you make custom monitoring scripts?

naparuba
naparuba

Stole? Funny but strange word for an open source project. It's a full re-implementation that remove all Nagios errors! Funny (or sad) fud for someone that post as "netways" when you knows that netways edit a true nagiso fork. So: who are you in fact? Maybe someone that think that the ndo database (the default nagios mysql database) can sclale maybe (and begin to see that it just can't) ... Now even Nagios(r) business partner of Nagios are begin to fork it, so in fact, who is wrong? :)

michaelklachko
michaelklachko

We can write a script for you, we can support your existing script, and we can monitor recorded data in any log files.