Nagios, one of our all time favorites for network monitoring, can sometimes be a little overwhelming when setting up, maintaining and keeping up to date. All configurations are done through config files and can be cumbersome and at times and inconvenient. Many admins and engineers who are not familiar with Linux/Unix commands and architecture prefer to work within Windows Server/Desktop instead, with a more Fully Automated approach. On top of the Operating system constraints, there are a ton of plug-ins and add-ons that add to the headache of keeping Nagios up-to-date and functioning properly in a dynamic environment with the wave of BYOD in the workforce.
Some features we’re looking for in a Replacement are:
- Easy and Fully Automated Network Discovery and Scanning functionality (without the need for Add-ons or Plugins)
- Commercial, Enterprise and Open-Source Alternatives (for those looking for Freeware alternatives)
- GUI Based Web Interface and Configuration for Windows OS
- Built-in Network Analyzer for Netflow and other flow protocols, including sFlow, IPfix, etc
- Network Map and Topology
- Alerts, Notifications, and Triggers with Email, SMS, and other communication channels
We’ll first start off with a list of Commercial alternatives for those looking for a commercially supported software solution, as some are looking for 24/7/365 Support and Troubleshooting. Most of these have a Free Trial period (30-60 Days) or Freeware version where you are only allowed a certain number of Nodes or Sensors.
SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor (SAM) – Free 30 Day Trial
SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor is one of the Most well-supported monitoring solutions around, specifically when it comes to Migrating from Nagios. Solarwinds has a built-in Nagios script importer that allows your to use your existing Nagios scripts that you’ve developed over the years and directly import them into SAM. For many, the feeling of losing all your work and customization within Nagios is now saved due to this awesome feature. We’ve seen very few monitoring solutions offer such streamlined support for migration from Nagios into their own platform.
SAM boasts support for over 200 and more applications that are directly built into the software that will allow you to get setup within hours, instead of days or weeks. Their extensive community of IT pro’s and engineers have also developed additional templates and support for custom solutions as well.
SAM scales up to any number of Nodes and sensors and allows you to monitor thousands upon thousands of systems, services, resources, hardware, and anything else you may want to keep track of. Their AppInsight dashboard helps you visualize and pinpoint issues quickly and efficiently to help you determine the root cause of the problem or issue.
SAM supports agentless and agent-based monitoring, as well as an intuitive network mapping and discovery feature for quickly mapping out your topology quickly and automatically.
The feature set goes far and beyond what Nagios has to offer, we really suggest downloading a Free Trial and configuring it quickly in your environment. With their 200+ built-in monitoring templates, you’ll be up in a couple hours.
PRTG is another great alternative to Nagios, in terms of a commercial replacement. They even have a Free Version that allows you to monitor up to 100 Nodes at No additional cost. Anything over those initial 100 nodes of monitoring will incur licensing fee’s but their prices seem to be on par with the rest of the commercial offerings here.
PRTG is known for its high-level overview of your infrastructure and monitors it in a way that gives you complete control and oversight into all systems, interfaces, bandwidth and bottlenecks on your network. With their intuitive network maps, alerting and trigger systems, and automatic network discovery, this makes for a great replacement.
ManageEngine is consistently redefining the way we look at network management and monitoring, with their Opmanager offering which has a full array of features that really make this a great all-in-one tool for any Network Engineer. Some features that stuck out to us was monitoring up to 1,000,000 interfaces or 50,000 devices from a single server, as well as 3D DataCenter layout and configuration for Visualisation.
Next, we’ll go over some alternatives that are Open-Source and have smaller support communities, but also perform as well as the others listed above. More often than not, many of the below open-source solutions require greater knowledge and know-how when initially configuring and setting up the software.
On top of that, many of the software solutions below might also need 3rd party plugins or Add-ons to complete certain tasks or perform monitoring on certain brands or manufacturers of hardware, as well as other basic functions that we’ve mentioned in the list above. This includes Network Topology Maps, Auto-discovery, WiFi monitoring and other functions.
Zabbix is one of the top open-source competitors to Nagios due to its scalable design and light overhead, claiming that it can operate with just 256MB of Ram. Fine tuning Zabbix is a little cumbersome, as many have stated, but once your’ve figured out all the quirks and details, you’ll be chugging along nicely.
Once again, Zabbix, like most Open-source network monitoring software, can monitor Windows based machines with agents, but will not run on them as a central server. Zabbix can be installed on the following OSes:
Mac OS X
Download information: http://www.zabbix.com/download
OP5 has close relations to Nagios and their development team, in specifically, 2 of their developers were on the Nagios development teams. Having a close relationship to Nagios has helped them developed OP5 into a easier and more streamlined program than Nagios is. As many have seen and dealt with, Nagios is very time-consuming to setup and config (via config files) and many times there is only 1 or 2 admins who are familiar with the change process of monitoring systems and nodes.
Op5 took additional steps to make adding nodes and servers very easy and streamlined to save time when adding new Systems to monitor. All of this is done through their Web Interface and this process has proved time and time again to save Sys Admins and engineers on setup time and configurations. They’ve also added a lot of nifty features including “undo” functionality that will allow you to roll-back changes in-case of misconfiguration.
OP5 put out a great video on how they stack up against Nagios, its definitely worth a watch if your considering moving over to OP5 from Nagios.
Download Information: https://www.op5.com/download/
Zenoss Core offers 3 version of their Open-source solution, including a Free Versions that monitors up to 1000 Devices. As with most of the other software packages here, support for the free version can be obtained through their community forum, which isn’t always guaranteed to give you a proper solution or answer to any issues you are dealing with.
Their 2 paid options, Zaas and Zenoss Service Dynamics, allow you to monitor not only On-premises hardware and software, but Cloud based resources as well. The benefit of using a paid-option of Zenoss Core is the level of service you get from their Support team, along with access to Full Analytics reports and Unlimited Device monitoring. Zenoss Core can install natively on Redhat Linux and CentOS, although Ubuntu and Debian are also options as well.
Download Information: https://ownit.zenoss.com/get-started.html
OpenNMS now comes into two distinct versions, or “flavors” as they call it: Horizon and Meridian. Horizon is the free offering that you can download, install and get monitoring without much effort and support, other than their community boards/forums. It is the latest and the greatest with all the updates added to the distribution as they come out.
Meridian on the other hand is their Enterprise Grade Subscription service that comes with Pre-Configured reports, layouts, alerts, workflows, and more. Meridian version has several added benefits compared to the free version, but nevertheless, their community forums and user generated templates really help in setting up the monitoring solution. OpenNMS gives you the option to use either RRDTOOL, JRobin, or NewTS for maximum flexibilty within your environment. Surprising, OpenNMS has a Windows Server installation, but they do recommend installing and running on LINUX.
Full Feature Set can be found here
Download Information: https://www.opennms.org/en/install
Munin is a not-so-popular monitoring solution, but nonetheless gives you a good replacement if you would like to stick to an open-source solution. Munin is based on Perl and has RRDTOOL integrated into it for graphing functionality.
As many other monitoring solutions function, Munin operates as a master/node configuration and poles nodes continuously for new information and metrics and maps them out as needed using RRD files. Munin has the “what’s different today” mindset to ensure that you can see whats different than the prior day and what resources are being used on what machine/system.
Download Info: http://munin-monitoring.org/wiki/WikiStart#download