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.
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 commiters 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.
Ethan Galstad, the Nagios founder, has responded to recent criticisms of Nagios and to the recent ICINGA fork. It does seem a little ironic that, although the ICINGA founders claim one of the drivers behind the fork was a lack of communication, Ethan Galstad claims they didn’t communicate their disatisfaction to him.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Attribute / Project OpenNMS Nagios Zenoss Hyperic Zabbix Peer Support Forum Mailing list Commercial Support Support contract Training Consulting Learning resources Blog Book(s) Update 1: Zenoss has a forum / mailing list system.
Attribute / Project OpenNMS Nagios Zenoss Hyperic Zabbix General Licence GPL GPL GPL GPL GPL First released 2000 1998 2006 2006 2001 Development languages Java C Python / Zope Java / C C / PHP External dependencies RRDTool / JRobin Net-SNMP / RRDTool RRDTool SNMP4J Net-SNMP Configuration XML files Text files Web based Web based Web based Extensible User interface Web Web / WAP Web Web Web Reporting Update 1: Added C to the Hyperic development languages