Open source network management buzz comparison 2009

I did a comparison of the buzz for the leading open source network management tools in 2008 so I thought it would be interesting to do the same comparison for 2009 and see what’s changed.

As I did last year, I’ve compared the number of searches for the project name using Google Trends. As always, this post is not intended to be indicative of the usefulness of a particular tool to your requirements.

Open Source Network Management System Trends

Firstly a comparison of the major players in open source network management: Zenoss, Hyperic, Nagios, MRTG and OpenNMS. The most striking thing about the graph to me is the decline in searches for Nagios. From the middle of 2009 things have been declining quite steeply. MRTG has been declining though it just looks like a continuation of the decline evident for the last few years.

Open Source Network Management System Trend 2009

A Comparison of the Nagios Ecosystem

Whilst the above graph showed a reduction in the relative number of searches for Nagios, perhaps the Nagios ecosystem graph can explain it. Icinga, a Nagios fork, was created during 2009 and may be responsible for at least some of the decline. Icinga appears on the graph during late April and has a steady presence throughout the rest of 2009 save for a small period during the Christmas break.

A Comparison of the Nagios Ecosystem 2009

Open vs Closed Network Management Systems

Given that 2009 was a year of recession in many countries, perhaps it won’t surprise too many to see so many of  both the commercial open source and proprietary tools trending downwards. I suspect that 2009 was a tough year for winkling money out of IT budgets.

Open vs Closed Network Management Systems 2009


All in all an interesting year. Apart from the Icinga/Nagios episode it seems odd that none of the tools has made  significant progress during 2009. If open source tools were to make a move against their proprietary cousins you would assume it would be 2009 given the economic background. Budgets have been tight, so why haven’t open source tools made progress in these recessionary times?

Planet Network Management Highlights – Week 39

Highlights from Planet Network Management + Planet Sys Admin for Week 39 2009.

Nagios responds to the ICINGA fork

Matt Asay over at The Open Road commented recently that forks are a sign of strength in open source. I’m sure he’s right, but they are not necessarily a sign of strength for the project being forked. The one positive thing is that it makes the community sit up and review the root cause of the fork.

As Andreas Ericsson says in his post The future of Nagios, recent events have demonstrated weaknesses in the structure of the Nagios project, specifically that Ethan Galstad is the only commiter of fixes and enhancements to Nagios. A single commiter is fine until the commiter doesn’t have sufficient time to work on the project as might be required to keep up with community submitted fixes and enhancements. Understandably, individual contributors are going to get frustrated that their patches and enhancements are not being incorporated into the project.

If nothing more comes of the ICINGA fork than a review of the Nagios structure, then the fork will have been worthwhile.

Nagios begets ICINGA

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? The founders of the ICINGA project charge Nagios with stifling the development of the project.

It will be interesting to see how much traction ICINGA attains. Forks often fail to gain the necessary momentum to be successful.