Networking

Review: Zenoss network monitoring tool

Zenoss Open Source Edition is for any network admin who needs a one-stop-shop-tool for monitoring all devices on a network.

If you are a network (or systems) administrator, you know how crucial it is to have the right tools for the job. One of the toughest tools to really nail down is a network monitoring tool. Although there are plenty of such tools out there, they range from the over-priced to the under-featured. Where do you look for any sort of middle ground where features don't lose out to price?

Zenoss is an outstanding, enterprise-ready network monitoring tool that includes all of the features you are accustomed to finding in a much costlier solution. Many a network administrator would do well to deploy such a tool.

Requirements

Who's it for?

Zenoss Open Source Edition is for any network administrator who needs a one-stop-shop-tool for monitoring all devices on a network without having to empty their IT budget, nor waist a week's worth of work to get it up and running. Zenoss is for any size network, from a small business to a large enterprise.

What problem does it solve?

Zenoss solves the problem of being able to keep a close, constant watch on your network hardware to ensure it is running efficiently and well. And unlike Nagios, Zenoss doesn't require the administrator to edit configuration files in order to set up monitors for devices. Zenoss brings a much simpler Web-based interface from start to finish.

Standout features

  • Outstanding, well thought out interface
  • Auto discovery of devices
  • Enterprise-ready
  • Plugins to extend functionality
  • Skins to enhance look and feel
  • Customize devices
  • Detailed information for devices
  • Power supply and temperature sensors monitored
  • XML import/export
  • Device modeling by network, software, services, application
  • Extensive documentation

What's wrong?

There is one glaring issue with Zenoss and that is the installation. I will warn you, anyone that wants to tackle this task, give yourself plenty of time and make sure you read the documentation carefully. Fortunately there is good documentation. And if you are leery of the command line you will want to hand over the installation of Zenoss to someone who is not, because installing Zenoss has a fairly lengthy command line component to the installation. However, once that is complete, the rest of the installation is all Web-based.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

If you, or your business, is looking for a free, open source, powerful network monitoring tool you cannot go wrong with Zenoss. Although the installation can be a real challenge (especially for the command-line impared) the payoff is certainly worth the challenge.

User rating

Have you encountered or used Zenoss? 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

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 jackwallen.com.

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