Best open source management tools

best open managment tools 1
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Open source holds up to commercial products

Open source software provides an attractive alternative to more costly commercial products, but can open source products deliver enterprise-grade results? To answer this question we tested four open source products: OpenNMS, Pandora FMS, NetXMS and Zabbix. All four products were surprisingly good. We liked Pandora FMS for its ease of installation and modern user interface. In general, we found configuration to be easier and more intuitive with Pandora than the other contenders. NetXMS came in a close second with a nice user interface, easy to configure rules and a solid user manual. Overall, we found all four products suitable for enterprise use, particularly in small-to-midsize environments. (Read the full review.)

NetXMS
NetXMS

NetXMS runs on Windows and Linux. We installed Version 2.06 on a Windows server. This turned out to be an easy install, using a step-by-step wizard with just a few user inputs needed. Once installed, the NetXM server runs as a service and provides a desktop management console, which the vendor calls the Workbench. Network monitoring with NetXMS requires SNMP or NetXMS proprietary agents. There is a lot to like about NetXMS, ease of installation is always important in our book. Configuration is mostly straightforward. The user interface is intuitive, and the footprints of the server and agents are relatively lightweight.

OpenNMS
OpenNMS

We installed OpenNMS 18.0.1 on Windows Server 2012. Although the vendor warned that the Windows install was a bit tricky compared to Linux, we actually found the opposite to be true.

After the service was started we connected via web interface and began finding and monitoring network nodes. No errors, no problems. We found the management interface layout clean and logical. No client agents are needed to run basic monitoring tasks on discovered or manually-added nodes. OpenNMS is event-driven and events are displayed on an easy to read dashboard.

We liked the robust reporting feature using Jasper Reports.

Pandora FMS
Pandora FMS

We installed Version 6.0 SP3 on a CentOS Linux server. This was an easy install from a live image. We found the Web interface to be modern and uncluttered, with easy to read information. The welcome screen provides a quick overview of the status of the network with lists of any open alarms, the number of agents deployed and a list of recent tasks performed in the console. We found Pandora FMS to be a mature product with a lot of nice features. From a capacity standpoint, the vendor claims to have customers who monitor upwards of 10,000 nodes. The granularity of what can be monitored is very good.

Zabbix
Zabbix

We installed Zabbix Version 3.2 on an Ubuntu server with a MySQL backend database. The server is available for Linux and Mac, but not Windows. Agents are available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. We found Zabbix to be a solid network monitoring product with several features we like, including detailed configuration templates and customizable dashboards. The agents have a small footprint; we measured about 1MB of memory usage and less than 1% of CPU utilization. One item of interest for VMware environments is that Zabbix provides a variety of VMware parameters like cluster status and hypervisor performance metrics. We liked the online user manual, which can be saved as a PDF for offline use.