Network monitoring: Zenoss, SpiceWorks, Nagios, and Hyperic

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I’m back on my monitoring comparison kick 🙂 This time around I’m going to compare

  • zenoss 2.2.3
  • hyperic 3.2.3
  • SpiceWorks 3.0.2
  • and Nagios 2.3.1 IT Groundwork Monitor Architect 1.0

(All of them except for SpiceWorks are VMware versions.)

Ok starting with SpiceWorks:


Installation: Super Easy!     It doesn’t get any easier than this! Click next, next, done.

Platform: Server runs on windows only, can monitor Windows, Linux, Unix, OSx

What do I like about it? The whole system is geared to getting you up to speed as absolutely quickly as possible. It has a really nice looking presentation layer. The SpiceWorks community is growing and very helpful. I really like not having to install any clients on anything! Spiceworks does everything through WMI so if you have an account that can access the remote computer, you can monitor it. Software inventory, Anti-virus status, and more it really keeps tabs on a lot of stuff. Event view consolidation is very cool! And knowing how much ink is my printers! This is great stuff! I’m corny but I even dig the spicemeter! The reporting is also very flexible and very useful!

A day in the life of a SpiceWorks Install: Download it, create my user (What if I don’t want to be a member of the community??? hmmm, plus I start recieveing SpiceWorks digests of the ‘community’ luckily I have found the info useful or I would call foul!) It auto detects the local subnet for my first scan. With my first scan done on my ‘My Spiceworks’ page I am pleasantly surprised with this graph (Names hidden to protect the guilty 🙂

That was pretty useful.

What I don’t like: It reminds me of Vista…. sometimes the graphics, although very pretty, start to get in my way. What do I mean? If I go to my inventory, and then click on my ‘Workstations’ I get

What you might notice is that I have really pretty pictures… but I can’t see the full name of the computer without hovering over it. This just irritates me. I want a plain and simple list view of my comptuters. I know I can click on the ‘view in browse mode’ but then I have to dial down. When I’m in the inventory, I want to see and be able to get to a computer as quick as possible!

I can live without knowing what manufacturer made my stuff, and the trouble ticket system is OK. I am irritated by duplicate entries for a single computer that are showing up in the inventory! I see people talking about how this is supposedly going to be fixed in a service pack so I am patiently waiting!

One thing that I would like to see is some uptime graphs. All of the other NM software pretty much eats, breathes and sleeps uptime graphs.

I wanted to make a simple rule to email me if a server is down… so in order to do this I need to create a group, then add the machine to the group, and then create the rule. I was able to easily create a group, but then finding where to add a machine to the group was difficult. Why can’t I click on a group and add devices to it from that screen? Anyways I finally found that if you click on a device and then click the edit button on the lower pane that you can change the group. (At first it didn’t work so I had to close the browser and open it again)

Stability: So far seems pretty stable, I have had to close and restart the browser a couple of times and also had to restart the computer it was on once.

Overall: SpiceWorks isn’t really a NMS per se… so a compairson to the others maybe somewhat apples to oranges. What SpiceWorks does, for the most part it does excellently! To get real time monitoring and alerts you we need to implement something else though. For everything else, there’s SpiceWorks 🙂 (I have started investigating The Dude in combination with as a backup email pathway)

I have really gotten sidetracked with ‘The Dude’ but up next Zenoss!



  1. I found your post really interesting but … haven’t you heard about Osmius?

    Osmius is an Open Source Monitoring Tool (GPLv2) prepared to monitor almost anything connected to a network. They have an Agent Development Framework, and the engine is build in C++ over ACE (so is real multiplatform and very, vaery fast).
    The business view is already integrated using SLA and services in an easy way to understand.

    There’s a lot of work to do (we started with the real development a year ago) and it would be nice to receive your impressions and improvements.

  2. For all of you SPICE WORKS fans…be aware…be very aware that all of your inventories and all data that is collected by the SPICE WORKS application is sent back to SPICE WORKS corporate servers. But if you’ve installed it, and used it…they know it and everything about you and your network. You have been warned!

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