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Best OSS Systems Mgmt App You Never Heard Of

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the growing-soon dept.


FLOSSisnot4Teeth writes "You probably are familiar with Nagios and Webmin as two of the most widely deployed open source systems management applications. However, this month's SourceForge.net Project of the Month is probably a newcomer to open source systems and network administrators. Zenoss Core is a systems monitoring platform, released under GPL and over the last year it's become one of the most popular SF.net projects. Unlike most of these new "commercially backed" open source projects, Zenoss Core is the only version, their corporate sponsor doesn't offer a "pro version". Also their developers have been committing code back to other projects like RRDTool and Twisted. I have been playing around with Zenoss for about six months and have been totally impressed. Would be curious to see what other Slashdot readers think." SourceForge.net and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.

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Reminiscent of OpManager (5, Informative)

BinarySkies (920189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487549)

This seems a bit reminiscent of AdventNet's OpManager system. I would like to point out right now, though, that OpManager is about 700$ for a decent license that even compares to the kind of coverage you get from Zenoss. I wouldn't compare this app to Webmin so much; webmin controls only local system programs and some minimal enterprise software. This dives into the devices end of things as well, providing a decent number of MIBs. I'm very impressed by how the management console includes inventory on devices. Documentation seems decent, but then again I've been working with enterprise networking and systems management for several years. Even at that, this tool isn't demeaning to those who have prior experience. All and all a great OSS project and I look forward to seeing it continue to improve with time.

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

muszek (882567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488569)

I just briefly looked at what Zenoss does... not what I was hoping for. I see a great need for FOSS web server management software. Some neat tools that would make configuring various services (apache, postfix, bind, vsftpd, sshd... stuff like that) easier for newbies. I've had my own dedicated server for a year now and still there are areas that I'm lacking at. I wanted to go 100% FOSS, so didn't get any proprietary control panel for that server. I'm using afraid.org, because I'm scared to touch BIND. I'm not sure if my Postfix configuration is 100% correct. Sure, I could spend a few days on configuring all that stuff and making sure I'm fine (e.g. not being rejected by other SMTP servers), but:

  * being a web developer, I should spend as much of my time as possible on actual websites, not on the backend.

  * being a small scale administrator, I'm sure I'll have to re-read every piece of documentation the next time I need to configure something. Meaning I don't do that stuff frequently and I simply forget everything related to it after a week or so. Stuff that I tinker with frequently (Apache, php, mysql configuration) is getting more and more familiar over time, but if I wanted to change something in other services, I'd have to spend many hours researching and testing.

Having said that - I'm not complaining, just pointing out that this kind of stuff makes many people not want to go with Linux - core services are just too difficult to configure.

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

jcam2 (248062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489213)

If you are looking for a tool to configure Apache, Webmin would be the way to go. One of its modules provides a relatively easy to use UI for editing httpd.conf and other Apache config files.

Plus there are other modules for servers like Sendmail, Postfix, SSHd, BIND, Squid and more..

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

muszek (882567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489397)

Yeah, but Webmin doesn't quite make things easier. Looking at BIND module still makes me want to cry. It makes things easier for those that feel uncomfortable with CLI, though.

What I was talking about is a thing that kinda dumbs everything down, letting users set up the most common things. Example: in Apache few most common options + adding of virtual domains. In BIND, add domains, record type and target address.

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (2, Insightful)

ahodgson (74077) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489713)

What you're looking for is called a system administrator. Any server on the Internet requires one. Either you're willing to spend the time to learn how to be that person, or you should be paying someone else to do it. There is no piece of software that can do it for you. Believing there is will result in downtime and, sooner or later, someone hacking your server.

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

skarphace (812333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18492607)

What you're looking for is called a system administrator. Any server on the Internet requires one. Either you're willing to spend the time to learn how to be that person, or you should be paying someone else to do it. There is no piece of software that can do it for you. Believing there is will result in downtime and, sooner or later, someone hacking your server.
Automation and user-administration leads to a more productive systems administrator.

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18490673)

I would counter that webmin makes people familiar with configuring these services manually want to cry. The webmin interface is horrible, and many of the tools it provides to make things easier end up increasing the amount of time it takes to get anything done. The thing webmin does is it tries to dumb down configuration a bit. The problem that you are having is that these services can only be dumbed down so much before you either end up with easily broken, or very limited configurations. What you should really do is look at hiring someone that has that skill set to do it for you. Just like people that need web sites designed hire you.

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

jcam2 (248062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491119)

Yeah, as the developer I'd be the first to admit that Webmin's UI is still too complex - however, there is a tradeoff between functionality and simplicity, and I've generally gone towards functionality. Webmin isn't too useful if you are not familiar with concepts like zones and DNS records.. if you want something simpler, one of the hosted DNS services (network solutions, godaddy, etc..) would be better.

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18496805)

Yeah, as the developer I'd be the first to admit that Webmin's UI is still too complex

Well, as a user of Webmin, I'd like to say it was a huge help while I was learning Linux. Having a tool which could help get me back to relatively sane defaults, and which provided another way of seeing the configurations I was messing with made learning much easier.

Even now, Webmin's a quick way to get a lot of settings close to my own preferences. Even if I choose to tweak a few by hand, it still saves me a lot of time.

So thanks mate, and good onya. I like your work.

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18498591)

Are you looking for something like Plesk or cPanel? There don't seem to be great open source alternatives, since UI is not a strength of most non-commercially-backed open source apps. You might look at VirtualMin [virtualmin.com] .

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

Spliffster (755587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18492179)

Well, the headline is misleading, as often is the case here on ./ (the headline field is limited to very few characters). I was expecting to see a software which lets me manage ldap/krb/dns/mail/dhcp/etc. ... well, this is what i would understand as "... System Mgmt App ...".

However, about your concerns, you should really search for a provider which offers plesk. I have been working for an internet provider, we checked many systems. plesk offers many easy to use web applications to setup/administer vhosts (web/mail/dns/mailing lists/ and more) for the customer ... and offers nice tools for the administrator (xml-rpc/cli interface for automating tasks). This bundled with a nicely polished and more or less intutive web interface is really what you might be looking for. and no ... it's not like webmin (webmin is a web interface for people who know how to edit files manually but want a a little more overview, webmin doesn't help to understand things, webmin only adds input validation ... and not even this in many areas).

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18494161)

"Having said that - I'm not complaining, just pointing out that this kind of stuff makes many people not want to go with Linux - core services are just too difficult to configure."

It is not. It's all about plain text files. The problem is what you are trying to do *is* difficult, and while others will try to hide its intrinsic difficulty under easy to follow wizards -that surely will bring you to an easy way to shoot your foot, some sane software won't try to hide the difficulty *in concept*.

For instance, configuring Bind is terribly easy... once you know the nitty-gritty nuisances of the DNS protocol; if you don't know'em all an easy interface can do is to make very easy for you to make the wrong assumption. The key question is not how (it's easy: edit some usually clear text file) but why (and on that no wizzard will help you that much).

Re:Reminiscent of OpManager (1)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 7 years ago | (#18499943)

Why do you have a dedicate server when you express the need for a managed-dedicated server?

It's cheaper than hiring a back-end administrator and you can focus on that which you know (hopefully) well: web development. This way you also avoid the mediocrity that can come from being a jack-of-all-trades.

If the managed solutions you've so far looked into do not have the customizations you wish to have, look into the web hosting forums for hosting companies that cater to such needs. While I know of one such hosting company. I cannot outright recommend them. But, I'm sure there are others who are at least as good, hopefully better.

And most importantly, what ever you decide to do: please remember to do your own backups. If you were only responsible for your website, having your own local copy of your site(s) is usually easier to restore than waiting for your hosting provider to do it for you. For your custom configuration files, if you can keep them under revision control, such as via Subversion, it'll be even better for your development process.

Documentation (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487551)

There is no documentation listed on the Source forge site. Does it monitor Windows machines without having to install extra software on the Windows Servers and Desktops? Does it monitor routers and switches? Is there any documentation?

Re:Documentation (5, Informative)

PatMouser (1692) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487591)

Take a look at http://www.zenoss.com/ [zenoss.com] . They just didn't link it in on the Source Forge site.

Re:Documentation (1)

pfurlong (174363) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491067)

Sure they did - under the Project tab under "Zenoss Core - Enterprise IT Monitoring" is a link call "Web Site". It will take you to the project's web site [zenoss.com] , which includes documentation, comparisons, a tour, etc.

MRTG (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18491195)

MRTG [oetiker.ch]

Re:MRTG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18494931)

-1 Redundant huh? That is the only link to MRTG in this entire thread.

Here's a hint:


Main Entry: redundant
Pronunciation: -d&nt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin redundant-, redundans, present participle of redundare to overflow -- more at REDOUND
1 a : exceeding what is necessary or normal : SUPERFLUOUS b : characterized by or containing an excess; specifically : using more words than necessary c : characterized by similarity or repetition [a group of particularly redundant brick buildings] d chiefly British : no longer needed for a job and hence laid off
3 : serving as a duplicate for preventing failure of an entire system (as a spacecraft) upon failure of a single component
http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=redun dant [webster.com]

Hope that helps.

Re:Documentation (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487597)

My guess is that it uses SNMP to monitor systems. SNMP is included with every version of Windows from NT on up that tree. I think you have to install the service separately and then enable it with the proper community strings. After that, you can track memory, HD, processor usage. We used to use it with MRTG and HP Openview to find out which users were saving shit to their desktops vice the network server.

Re:Documentation (4, Informative)

bastion_xx (233612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487849)

Besides the python script to create a WMI monitor, zenoss does have good SNMP support - when you run the Informant http://www.wtcs.org/informant/ [wtcs.org] SNMP extensions.

Re:Documentation (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#18492943)

Does it support arbitrary data? In zabbix for example I can create a data point called "number_of_databases_backed_up" and send it to the zabbix server using a simple XML or socket based call and have zabbix chart them for me.

Re:Documentation (2, Informative)

nbannerman (974715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487599)

Sources for documentation from their main website;

http://zenoss.com/docs/zenwin [zenoss.com] - Windows documentation, rather brief. Supports 2003/XP apparently.
http://zenoss.com/docs [zenoss.com] - Main documentation website for Linux / BSD.

Re:Documentation (1)

Mabonus (185893) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487651)

Last I checked, it required a python script to be installed as a service to really get advanced monitoring going, but yes it does do SNMP, and windows can do SNMP, so you don't HAVE to install things, but it'll all play nicer if you do.

Re:Documentation (1)

bastion_xx (233612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487781)

zenwin handles Windows boxes using WMI. Cool part is that only one system needs to go through a very convoluted install to then query any other servers in the same domain.

Monitor and switch support is good for common devices. I've run into problems trying to monitor things such as m0n0wall devices (it tries to pull CPU and memory stats, but the OIDs are not responding correctly). Cacti seems to do better on this right now, but the alerting from Zenoss makes monitoring much easer.

Zenoss has made great strides in the past 6 months, we are >. this close to moving from Nagios to zenoss.

My only steps left are to figure out how to extract metrics for capacity planning and create monitors and RRD graphs for temp/humidity monitoring...

Re:Documentation (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487825)

Can I ask why? /I like nagios

Re:Documentation (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487933)

Me too, but lord I hope the config on Zenoss is better than on nagios

(here, better == easier)

Re:Documentation (1)

Feyr (449684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488013)

i've tried the VM app of zenoss. the config is easier at first glance, but it gets tedious as soon as you want to monitor something other than the default.

Re:Documentation (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488075)

I love writing my own checkcommands on nagios, anything that does not make me use a gui is a godsend.

Re:Documentation (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488225)

Yea, it's very flexible and powerful, but it's also a complete pain in the ass, especially for adding several service checks that are very similar.

I have a

check_disk_root, check_disk_var, check_disk_db, etc etc

and each one requires an entry in checkcommands and services.

Re:Documentation (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488281)

I actually like it as this way I only need to read the first line of the text message it sends me to know what the problem is.
You could use check_disk -w XX% -c XX%
to check all the partitions at once.

Re:Documentation (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489033)

and each one requires an entry in checkcommands and services.

You should be using "servicegroup," then.

Also, you might like http://fruity.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:Documentation (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18490311)

For nagios, I setup nagiosql at least I believe that was the name of the project.

I don't believe it's under development anymore, but a little tweaking on the sql side and it was working fine for me.

After that, it's pretty much a breeze to configure and add servers. Once I wrote a custom script (many were provided) it could be applied to any box.

The only drawback is all configuration files are kept in sql and regenerated. However, if you are using it to edit your configs... chances are you may not want to tweak the config file by hand much.

Re:Documentation (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491691)

Hyperic HQ seems to beat this. ZenOSS is good if you want agentless (except for Windows) monitoring or need a virtual appliance. You can build Hyperic up on a Virtual Machine.

Look at hyperic.com
I don't work for them, just spent months looking at a solution for this.

Re:Documentation (3, Informative)

bastion_xx (233612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488057)

Don't get me wrong, Nagios rocks and has been a godsend, even back in the netsaint era. Where Zenoss is useful is adding new devices for templates that already exist. In Nagios it's either change the underlying config files, pre-flight, and reload, or use a GUI to do the same.

Our use has transitioned from hand-crafted nagios plugins for bespoke services to more generic checks and longer term capacity planning. Zenoss can do this, and it appears with less operational management, allowing us to focus on performance data and more in-depth Windows monitors (again an internal change from Linux core systems to Windows -- different client base).

Re:Documentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18492487)

Good. I've recently tangled with Nagios: I cannot believe that of the dozen or so open source configuration tools for it, nost of them hosted on sourceforge.net, *none* follows Eric Raymond's old standards of how to build open source GUI's as described at http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cups-horror.html [catb.org] . Configuration systems that have to be hand-edited from never-explained and never-documented text files because the authors can't bother to learn autoconf or MakeMaker or other software building tools and other such foolishnesses litter the debris of such tools.

Even worse, most of the freeware Nagios configuration tools treat the security of the configuration tool itself as an afterthought, with policies that "you shouldn't run it on a network you don't trust!". Nagios and its ancestor, Netsaint, knew better than this 10 years ago, but with all of the configuration tools, attempting to secure them properly requires understanding of sudo or suid operations that are well beyond the knowledge of the newby systems admin.

Re:Documentation (1)

jp10558 (748604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18494977)

Please, Please point me at a howto on this! I tried what they have on their blog, and all I get is heartbeat errors... Can't get it to monitor anything.

That said, does it do everything that informant opens up but via WMI so I don't need an additional install on windows?

the clear answer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487575)

Linux. It can do anything! ; )

Which Month is Right? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487583)

http://sourceforge.net/projects/zenoss [sourceforge.net] says:
Project of the month for : February 2007

http://sourceforge.net/potm/potm-2007-03.php [sourceforge.net] says:
Project of the Month: March 2007 - Zenoss Core

Looks like a newcomer alright...

OT: For the Article Submitter (1, Offtopic)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487627)

To: FLOSSisnot4Teeth

You might be interested in this Slashdot article [slashdot.org] .

Yeah, I know it's way OT, but I had read the linked article just before I saw the submitter's name on the current story.

ping (0, Troll)

coreyfro (123833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487677)

Come on, too easy.

Re:ping (1)

grimwell (141031) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488925)

You laugh but I had a job where ping was their "solution". First day of "training" they show me this batch file that I needed to run in the morning. The batch went and pinged everything, if it ran successfully then everything was up and life was good.

Yeah, that was an interesting gig.

Beware of the JPEG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487697)

It may very well be a good package, but until such time they use PNG for their screenshots, going through the tour involves squinting hard. Unfortunately no schooners appear, begging the question why JPEG was used to start with.

Re:Beware of the JPEG (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488009)

It may very well be a good package, but until such time they use PNG for their screenshots, going through the tour involves squinting hard. Unfortunately no schooners appear, begging the question why JPEG was used to start with.

I'll ignore your blatant misuse of the phrase 'begging the question', but answer your specific question: JPEG was probably chosen because not all browsers support PNG -- especially true of older versions of IE -- but, they do all support JPEG.

Re:Beware of the JPEG (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18488419)

Unfortunately, that usage of "begs the question" has become prevalent enough that it probably can no longer be described as "blatently misuse".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begs_the_question#Mod ern_usage [wikipedia.org]

Re:Beware of the JPEG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18488463)

Yes, no doubt an Open Source system management application is terribly worried about supporting all those IE 3 users out there who want to look at the screenshots.

Re:Beware of the JPEG (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488747)

Yes, no doubt an Open Source system management application is terribly worried about supporting all those IE 3 users out there who want to look at the screenshots.

We're talking about a Open/Free Unix-based management system. They're probably worried about supporting Mosaic.

Re:Beware of the JPEG (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489579)

Actually, Netscape Navigator didn't have PNG support until version 4.04. And PNG support in IE browsers 4.0-6.0 has been abysmal. IE 4 will crash on any PNG with metadata, and IE 5-7 have problems with proper gamma support. And IE 4-6 doesn't support PNG transparency, at least not in anyway that's useful.

Re:Beware of the JPEG (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489685)

IE6 supports PNG transparency through the AlphaImageLoader ActiveX control, but my experience has been that it does not load reliably, so yes, you're quite right. I just wanted to reply and say this stuff before someone else showed up and said "What about AlphaImageLoader?" For me, it would work on something like 50% of page loads.

Re:Beware of the JPEG (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18499721)

No, you're right. I'm familiar with AlphaImageLoader, and I also know that it's very broken. However, it also requires special coding considerations to be taken by the Web developer, unlike using a normal PNG with transparency, which requires nothing special.

Re:Beware of the JPEG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18489587)

JPEG was probably chosen because not all browsers support PNG -- especially true of older versions of IE -- but, they do all support JPEG.

Their target audience does not use IE 4. JPEG was probably chosen because they're ignorant of the difference between the formats.

Re:Beware of the JPEG (2, Informative)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18493441)

That doesn't matter. If he wanted the 12 people still using IE4 to see his site, he could have used GIF.

Attention everyone: Lossy image compression, such as JPG, should NEVER EVER EVER be used for things with solid colors or high contrasts (especially text)! Use PNG, GIF, BMP, or any other losslessly/un-compressed format. JPG is only for "natural" images such as photographs!

Compressing text with lossy image compression is a sin almost as bad as butchering "beg the question." BOTH of these atrocities make the baby Jesus cry.

Here's what I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487811)

/. is not to be used for whoring projects you work on, blogs you get paid for, or anything else that enriches the poster. If it's really that important, let someone who isn't biased report it.

Re:Here's what I think (4, Informative)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488045)

Slashdot is for anything the Slashdot staff feel like approving.
It's not for satisfying anonymous cowards.

Re:Here's what I think (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#18490397)

Not to mention with the advent of the Firehose I get to be a part of the
selection process now as well.

taken from greg haywoods blog (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18487827)

Jan 26, 2007

I may have finally found the perfect monitor solution for my network: Zenoss. I have been using Nagios + Cacti + Smokeping for quite a while now. It works, but it's not integrated, and for many services, I'm running 2-3 checks. Running those every 5-10 minutes generates a tremendous amount of traffic (during the last 2 weeks, the monitor station has caused 20% of all traffic crossing the primary firewall!). The closest all-in-one I'd found previously was OpenNMS, which is so difficult to really understand and manage well, and so didn't fit my needs. I'd given some thought to rolling my own in Ruby, but just don't have the time for such an undertaking.

So while browsing the rPath/rBuilder site this morning, I discovered Zenoss. It's Zope-based, which I find a bit interesting. But from what I've seen in the 30 minutes I've had it running, the developers are right on with what I've been looking for. It has auto-discovery support, placing everything into a "/Discovered" group if it can't pick the right group on its own (the firewall was placed into the "/Network/Routers" group since it was part of the discovery chain). But it is smart enough to correlate different IPs to a single device, which OpenNMS can't do. It also supports Nagios plugins (though only via ssh and not nrpe), so I can leverage that investment while I evaluate the Zenoss way of checking.

There's also a built-in syslog catcher, so it can correlate log events to devices, which could be another huge time saver. And it has asset/inventory management so I don't need to keep that data separately either. What can't this puppy do?!

You can install from source or RPM, and there's a vmware image available too. It requires Python 2.3.5+ and MySQL 5.0.22+. Since I wanted to run on my Debian Sarge monitor station (which already has access to all the devices to manage), I had to upgrade the DB. Easy enough with the backports. The only trick I ran into there is that the install process requires port 8100 be available. You can change after install, but I couldn't find a way to change prior. The installer doesn't notice if the port is already in use, it just silently fails, and so when starting the Zope DB setup, it gets in a loop of printing "." (dots). Finally realized I had to shut down a Mongrel-run Rails app to get it going, and it worked perfectly. (Bug #933 has been filed.)

Stay tuned for more, as I will be playing with this ALOT over the next few weeks!

Re:taken from greg haywoods blog (1)

Sithgunner (529690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18499839)

wheres the original texts? searching against the title of your post reveals nothing.

Litmus test - Failed (2, Insightful)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#18487841)

You have searched for packages that names contain zenoss in all suites, all sections, and all architectures.

Can't find that package.


It appears I am not yet interested.

Another litmus test (0, Troll)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489087)

It also requires MySQL, and isn't compatible with any other SQL back end.

An "enterprise grade" monitoring system hacked onto MySQL? Yeah, right. That's like finding out it's written in PHP.

Re:Another litmus test (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489663)

I am as big a PostgreSQL bigot as you are likely to find, but I don't see the problem with using MySQL for storing monitoring data. I mean seriously, why should I care if the application stores the fact that my servers still respond to pings in a transaction safe manner? Nagios, which I currently use, stores this information in flat text files.

Re:Another litmus test (1)

Allador (537449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18495343)

Because if my shop doesnt already use MySQL, then its adding an entire new DBMS just to support one app. That's expensive.

Most shops settle on one 'utility' db for stuff like this so that they can amortize their maintenance costs across everything they use it for. Think of all the highly specialized functions surrounding a DB server that you've got to do: backup, patch, monitor, upgrade periodically, and generally just maintain it (ie, make sure its tuned right for memory, not running out of disk, has the right firewall ports opened, etc etc).

So if I've already got PostgreSQL or MSSQL or whatever, having to add an entire DBMS just to host one app whose developers couldnt be bothered to use a DAL (Data Abstraction Layer) is irritating, and is often a dealbreaker. It makes using that app much more expensive (in terms of ancillary maintenance costs) than it would have to be if it was just backed by ODBC/JDBC/Pear/whatever, and you could plugin whatever DB you wanted.

Re:Another litmus test (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18496035)

Systems administrators like data access layers, and DBAs like forcing everyone to use whatever database they like best. I personally hate data access layers. What's the point of having a "real" database like Oracle, PostgreSQL, or MSSQL if you are going to pretend that it is no more capable than MySQL 3.23.

Like I said before, I don't like MySQL, but it certainly is easy to care for. For applications like Zenoss where all you need is some basic storage there is very little reason not to simply bundle MySQL with the install. Developers are starting to use MySQL for some of the same tasks that they used to use dbm for not too long ago. Many users probably won't even bother to back the database up on a regular basis. Like I said before, whether or not a certain machine responded to a ping is hardly the sort of data I need to retain for the long term. MySQL is certainly an acceptable tool for the job.

Of course, that being the case a data access layer that only supports MySQL's features is hardly a difficult thing to write, and sometimes having the data in your database of choice is worth a little extra configuration.

Re:Another litmus test (1)

tehmorph (844326) | more than 7 years ago | (#18490719)

Yeah, I'm currently running a Zabbix [zabbix.com] server monitoring about 90 machines. That's running just fine on MySQL 5.0.27 GA, at well over 500 queries a second and not a single slow page load with a webserver running on the same box. It's only got a gig of RAM, too. Till I see PostgreSQL perform at the same level, we'll talk. Hell, PostgreSQL runs Zabbix about 9 times slower according to Zabbix's internal benchmarks.

Re:Another litmus test (1)

Serveert (102805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18497749)

I think they've just tuned zabbix for mysql. I use zabbix+mysql and I use postres for other projects. In my testing, well tuned postgres is pretty scalable.. This link shows another perspective:

http://blog.page2rss.com/2007/01/postgresql-vs-mys ql-performance.html [page2rss.com]

Also what is this "LeeNooks" I keep hearing about (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18488005)

I was just surfing through MSN the other day when I heard a WMV file that mentioned something "Open Source" called: "LeeNooks"
Its apparently from some guy in Finland so it is probably a Nokia product like my cellphone.
Does anyone have any more info on this? I'm interested in zoos and this software supposed to monitor Gnu's or Penguins running or something... I couldn't quite understand it mainly because I was distracted by someone saying "It's free".... haha nothing is free LOL (if you don't pay for your software, you're probably stealing it right? - I learned that from the commercials that they show in the movie theater before the movie starts)

Advertise on Slashdot.org -- It's Free! (5, Insightful)

phish (46788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488319)

Interesting how the submitter writes the post suggesting as if they're a user....

"I've been playing around with it for six months and have been totally impressed!"

Easy to be impressed by your own products, isn't it?

Re:Advertise on Slashdot.org -- It's Free! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18491955)

Well that generally is the way that open source projects get contributors — users play with the software for a while, get interested and start submitting patches.

Isn't this a dupe? (3, Informative)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488369)

I can't understand why this isn't tagged dupe already... I seem to remember ZenOSS on /. a month or so ago... followed by an article on OpenNMS as well.

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/23/003223 3 [slashdot.org]

I think Vista has broken most commercial network mgmnt offerings... nothing else can explain these dupes!

$10K for 50 machines? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488403)

This product costs $10K to have support for 50 machines. That's $200/device. I thought that OSS was supposed to be cheaper?

Re:$10K for 50 machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18488461)

im monitoring over 200 machines in production and development and it hasn't costed me a dime yet

stick that in your 10k pipe and smoke it!

Re:$10K for 50 machines? (2, Informative)

firl (907479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489229)

Incase your wondering he said support, not purchase.

Re:$10K for 50 machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18489257)

That's for the Jumpstart Service Package, which includes setup and expert help. The software is free.

Re:$10K for 50 machines? (1)

brufar (926802) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491421)

And how much did your last full software support plan for 50 servers run from Microsoft ? SCO ?
I'm not talking purchase price, but Full software support for one year ?
I recall spending 3 Million US for an Enterprise licensing agreement with MS and not having any Support services included..

No matter who the vendor is, support is always extra these days..

If you read the details of that 10K offering there is quite a bit in there...

I thank you for yKour time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18488521)

populati0n a5 well

other contenders (2, Informative)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488531)

As it happens I was just reading my locally saved copy of this related Slashdot piece, on OpenNMS [slashdot.org] . Other alternatives mentioned in the comments were:
  • Cacti [cacti.net] (an RRDtool front-end -- if you don't know what RDDtool is, you don't need this :) )
  • Munin [linpro.no] , and
  • OSSEC [ossec.net] .

I've looked over someone's shoulder at the latter - it seems pretty good, it runs on SNMP - I tinkered with NAGIOS five years ago and found it good, but a little dangerous if you didn't read the docs before firing it up (back then, anyway, it auto-discovered the local network by strobing everything in sight with Nmap scans)... but I've no experience of any of these in production. I've been asked to build out a new office network, which will be a template for future local offices, and getting the monitoring right is going to be crucial, so any actual experience of production use gratefully received!

Re:other contenders (3, Interesting)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18488787)

You forgot hobbit. Which is a gpl version of bb, written in c (much, much, much faster). Support for clients on servers (so you don't have nasty snmp everywhere). Integrated rrd, "smart" checks (i.e. looks for status 200 w/ http, looks for +OK on tcp/110 connections, etc. It doesn't just check that a port is open).

Project's demo:

http://www.hswn.dk/hobbit/ [www.hswn.dk]

Re:other contenders (1)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491271)

I hadn't heard of it; thanks!

BTW -- "bb" == "big brother"? I haven't looked at that much, but I've seen the agent UI and I nearly threw up from the vertigo of being flung back in time to 1996 and VB5. Egad, it was like when desktop published first took off and lo! the departmental newsletters were many, and terrible ;)

Re:other contenders (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491735)

Yeah, big brother. I like it because it uses tcp port 1984. Very funny. Anyway, the interface isn't beautiful, but that's not what guys like me are after. With just one page I can quickly ascertain the status of my network as a whole. Depending on how you lay it out, you can have groups/groups of groups or everything on one page.

I like it mostly because of the speed. With several thousand servers, nagios and many other snmp-like monitoring tools start dying a horrible death unless you do things spectacularly kludgey. As mentioned, I also love the rrd integration.

You might find yourself being a fan of the icons, too:

http://www.hswn.dk/hobbit/gifs/red-recent.gif [www.hswn.dk]

For all of the things I shouldn't be laughing about when I see a "red", it always gets a chuckle from me.

ZABBIX (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18489247)

Did you ever heard of ZABBIX [zabbix.com] ? I believe this is the best Open Source monitoring solution around. It is a mature and flexible piece of software which comes with very impressive feature set.

Re:ZABBIX (2, Informative)

zeenixus (571630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491773)

it's also not a huge gob of python like zenoss which requires at least 512 megs of ram to run and do something useful.

zabbix server and clients are written in C, with php for the web front-end. It has it's quirks and shortcomings, but I'll take simple and lightweight over bloaty probably-can't-scale-worth-a-damn any day.


Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491785)

How does it compare to Hyperic HQ? I have not heard of Zabbix but its pretty and looks interesting. It supports HP-UX, which is a plus here. Most of the monitoring solutions I have found support Win/Lin only


jp10558 (748604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18494863)

How bad/good are the clients? I really don't want another client running... I've already got SAV, O&O Defrag, OCSNG, and sometimes Spysweeper... Oh, and Proxy or VNC. So I don't really want to gob on another client. But I'm trying Zenoss, and so far not having a lot of luck unless I install Informant on Windows, so unless the WMI is quick to get working, it looks like it's basically a client anyway. But how do the others handle switches and routers? I see ZABBIX supposedly does network maps also...

How automated is all this? Zenoss is just the other side of how easy I'd like it to be - that is it will require some work, but not too much. I do not want something where I'm writing code by hand to make it work - like how nagios sounds.

Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (1)

Harker (96598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18489617)

The company I work for is currently looking into remote monitoring of the data center environmental conditions as well as server status. So far, I've found very few options that will do this, and none seem good enough (one will monitor one of our UPS's but not the other one for example).

We currently have one web-based monitoring tool in place for server status, and I doubt they'll be willing to change to another, especially if it is open source. The last time I mentioned an open-source alternative (change management tool) my boss looked afraid. (sigh).

Does anybody have any suggestions along this line? We will need to be able to monitor the data center environment for temp, moisture, water under the floor, as well as UPS availability. From what all of our upper management is saying, they want to eliminate the need for the night-shift Operations group and migrate us all to helpdesk or deskside support, which would mean a real 9-5 type of job for me and the rest of the red-headed stepchildren of out IT department


Re:Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (2, Insightful)

ErnieD (19277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18490115)

If you don't already have all of the monitoring hardware in place, check out the NetBotz (now owned by APC) suite of monitoring products. You buy one rack-mount system, and can tie any number of sensor "pods" (or even third-party sensors via customizable input contacts), and all sensors report back to the main unit for logging and alerting. It can also forward the SNMP traps onto an existing network monitoring system if you have one.

I don't believe they'll monitor UPS equipment however. For that, here at my company we use the APC InfraStruXure (ISX) manager appliance, since all of our power equipment is APC. It's a nice little 1U rackmount that manages all APC devices you point it at, and it's a central point for management and monitoring/alerting. APC also has their own APC-branded (not NetBotz) line of environmental monitors which also have customizable input & output contacts, and they can be managed by the ISX manager appliance along with the power equipment.

If you do already have a variety of monitoring sensors, if they can communicate to the network, then presumably they can send SNMP traps? You could have those sent to any central SNMP monitoring system (like Zenoss) to have it actually send out the alerts.

Re:Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (1)

Harker (96598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491163)

I'm not really certain what we currently have. I know that the floor (water) sensors are minimal, only existing right near the cooling units. They will need to be expanded at the very least. I'm figuring that if we have to expand them, then replacing the few that are already in place won't be that big a deal.

Beyond that, I really don't know what, or even IF we have anything except server monitoring. Currently, we depend on hourly walkthroughs of the data center...

I'll check into this as well though. Thanks


Re:Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (1)

loginx (586174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18490119)

I'm pretty sure it's possible to accomplish these tasks using Open-Source software, however, if your management isn't open to the idea, there is nothing wrong in buying a commercial product.

I work for a Canadian company called Netmon [netmon.ca] and we sell both the network monitoring product (Netmon) and the environmental probes that send info about humidity, temperature, etc... right onto it. It is also able to monitor UPS's, Cisco gear, etc... and runs on a Linux server.

I know I'm shamelessly plugging our company here, but this is obviously right on topic for parent's question.

Re:Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (1)

Harker (96598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491205)

I'll add that to my list of services to look into. If we can find an all-in-one solution, or one that can be built up from scratch given what little we actually have in place now.

Not certain if they'll like the Linux server bit though. We have only one Unix admin, so that might be an issue. I'm willing to learn and add to my linux knowledge though...


Re:Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (1)

loginx (586174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491331)

There is no administration required. We take you through the initial set up and your box fetches updates automatically. Everything else is done through a web-interface, and your initial contract includes a full year of complete support for the appliance, so we can walk you through any task. If you open up SSH access to our private IP range, we can also log in and help you out with anything you're trying to do with it. The upcoming version has a lightweight graphical desktop used for deployment (setting up the IP address, doing upgrades, etc...), so you don't even have to touch a terminal if you don't feel like it.

My email address is in the post bar, contact me if you have any questions.

Re:Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (1)

Harker (96598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18491457)

I'll keep that in mind. I should point out, in case I haven't already, that I'm doing this on my own, to kind of push the project onward, and to make myself look a bit better in the eyes of my superiors. My direct manager is in charge of the overall project.

I will look more into this later this week though. The bookmarks are already down.


Re:Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (1)

dino2gnt (1072530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18494223)

To be quite honest, we do all of that via OpenNMS. We also make use of it's paging system to alert techs and/or management when there is a fault - data center temp over/under threshold, server down, UPS fault, UPS on battery, etc. Your monitoring hardware has to be SNMP enabled (add on cards, etc.) but if you can poll it via SNMP, OpenNMS can monitor it.

Re:Nice looking, but not enough to meet my needs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18491495)

Try Intellipool , its does a great job monitoring remote sites. It got a feature called Distributed testing that makes it pretty easy to setup a gateway in the remote network, exposing that network to the main monitoring server.

http://www.intellipool.se/ [intellipool.se]

VMWare Image (1)

Don Giovanni (300778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18490693)

It's Zenoss version 0.22.3, Zenoss is currently at 1.1.1.

<a href="http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/direct ory/471">http://www.vmware.com/vmtn/appliances/dir ectory/471</a>

Re:VMWare Image (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18493767)

The link description is outdated. I installed the 1.1.1 appliance. It works, its pretty but it doesn't do everything we want.

I tThank you for your time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18491209)

Fanatic known the 3eveloper

It's pretty good! (4, Interesting)

wireloose (759042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18492713)

I'm using Nagios on a group of core network devices. I have to be super careful not to perform an "up2date" on it (using RH 4.0 EL) because the Nagios packages always overwrite my config files. But Nagios is good, and it's been very useful. It took me a few days of work to get it set up the way I wanted, and it's been a charm ever since.

A few weeks ago someone posted an article on the top ten OSS projects to watch, and Zenoss was one of those projects. I downloaded it to experiment. I had it up and running in about 20 minutes, on Ubuntu. It's far more powerful at its ability to gather data from nodes. And setup is far less manual. Network discovery worked very well. It found devices on our network that we didn't know were out there. It required no integration with other packages. The interface is also more intuitive in some areas, such as viewing event histories. But, it's more challenging to find performance charts the first few times.

I especially liked the automatic snmp walk through the MIBS on each device. This makes it much easier to pull statistics from it, without having to edit text files. The MRTG-style charts are also good. I wish they were more readily configurable. I also wish there were more MIBS in the distribution, but you can find most by carefully searching equipment provider's web sites.

All in all, After running it side by side with my Nagios setup for a couple of weeks, I like it much better. And I'm moving more SNMP agents into my network just because of Zenoss.

Re:It's pretty good! (1)

TTL0 (546351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18493585)

i also use nagios, partly cause i never could realy understand snmp. it seems if all i need to do is monitor hardware then snmp is great. but in my case we run in-house code and need to monitor linux and win processes that there are no oids for. i mean can i detect if notepad.exe is runing via snmp ?

Any overview maps? (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18494009)

I've just had a browse, but I can't find an equivalent to the Nagios overview map (the network layout map). Maybe I need to install it to check (not found in screenshots). Without that map it won't work for us..

Re:It's pretty good! (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#18506013)

And setup is far less manual.

This is my top complaint regarding Nagios. It's difficult to configure, and I constantly find myself at odds with the Nagios' configuration strategy. For example, I can't add a host definition without defining some services for that host. This makes sense at some level, but as I install a machine, sometimes I want to add the host definition as a 'placeholder', and define the services later., and the Nagios maintainer

I also like how Zenoss wraps the monitors and performance graphs together. Many OSS management products perform Availaity Monitoring, OR Performance monitoring. It's rare to find a project which does both--- why collect the data twice?

And Zenoss has gone one step further--- a monitoring system will often have the most complete system inventory; why not use the monitoring system as the canonical system inventory as well? With auto-discovery.

It beets maintaining some Excel Spreadsheet by hand, and it has more features then the typical Perl + nmap script.

download w/o giving up registration info (1)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 7 years ago | (#18493415)

i read about this and thought, "hrm, this is worth checking out." when i went to zenoss.org and clicked download, it asked me to fill out a registration form. submitting the form w/o entering anything causes a popup that indicates email is required. disabled javascript, and was able to submit the form and get to the download page (which, btw is here [zenoss.com] ). i wonder who the email for confirming my registration will be sent to.....

Re:download w/o giving up registration info (1)

growse (928427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18494323)

You know, they have a big fuck-off "No thanks, please take me straight to the download page >>" link at the top of the downloads page?
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