The recent controversy over the ICINGA Nagios fork brought into focus the relative activity of the various network management projects. One of the main complaints aimed at Nagios was the slow speed of development. The following graphs, taken from the open source directory ohloh, show the number of committers and the number of commits over the last three years for Nagios, OpenNMS and Wireshark. I can’t vouch for how accurate the stats are but I think they do provide some insight into the development processes of the respective projects.
Network management is the art and science of managing an enterprise network.
A real world example of what Tarus Balog from OpenNMS has been banging on about recently with his critique of open core or fauxpen source as Tarus calls it. A product manager who has an open product and a closed product plainly has a decision to make over which features go into which product. Give too much away and the value add of the closed enterprise product is insufficient to warrant the licence fees.
Nagios is probably the best known open source network management tool. Ethan Galstad created NetSaint, the tool that eventually became Nagios, many years ago at the very dawn of using open source tools in network management. Things are not going well. A number of people from the Nagios community, including a couple from the Nagios Community Advisory Board have decided to create a fork of Nagios under the ICINGA project. The reason?
Rich Skrenta has done a post about the Blekko cluster health visualisation console. Very neat!
As it’s the start of a new year I thought it would be an ideal time to look back over the year just gone. I have used Google Trends to compare the number of searches during 2008 of various open source and proprietary network management tools. Whilst search volume is an interesting metric for network management tools, it is not intended to be in any way indicative of the usefulness of a particular tool.
The open source systems management space sure is hotting up. Pandora FMS looks like a good emerging open source systems management tool. Pandora FMS has been developed by Ãrtica, a Spanish company founded in 2005. A VMWare image is available for download, so checking Pandora FMS out is a breeze. From a technical perspective, Pandora FMS is written in Perl & PHP with MySQL as the backend database. The software is split into two main components, the server and the console.
One of the problems with Nagios is that initial set up & configuration can be intimidating to the new user. There are a number of methods for easing the initial installation problems, but you are still left with an intimidating configuration process. One option is to use Centreon, a (relatively) new front end for Nagios with a more accessible web front end for configuration. Centreon is fully open source and is supported by Merethis, a French company, who also sponsor development of the project.
…by Grig Gheorghiu over on the Agile Testing blog: The sad state of open source monitoring tools. I wish there was a standard nomenclature for this stuff, as well as a standard way for these tools to inter-operate. As it is, you have to learn each tool and train your brain to ignore all the weirdness that it encounters. One of the problems with I.T. is the absence of a standard terminology.
When I was doing the research for the Open source network management in Google 2001 vs Google 2008 I came across the Network Monitoring Tools website run by Stanford. Network Monitoring Tools @ SLAC 2001 Network Monitoring Tools @ SLAC 2008 I think the above images illustrates the heightened level of competition in today’s network management market rather well.
Jane Curry has completed her Open Source Management Options [PDF] white paper.