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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:

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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 http://www.softstack.com/freesmtp.html as a backup email pathway)

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

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SpiceWorks review part 3

So what is going on here, there is a report of network interface traffic – top 10 Ports and…. it thinks the heaviest device is a jet direct with 2.8 KB in and 464 bytes out… is this only looking at snmp devices because I know my servers pump in and out way more than that.

I also noticed that it has detected one of my servers twice, once with a FQDN and another without

SpiceWorks review part 2 and IP ranges

So SpiceWorks stayed up over the weekend (that’s always a good sign) and I did get a response on how set it to scan for ranges. Its pretty simple but not mentioned in the documentation.

If you want it to scan say 10.1.x.x  then you can feed it a range in place of a number. So your scan would look like (parenthesis added for clarification)

10.1.(1-254).(1-254) (parenthesis added for clarification) I would assume this to mean that you could concoct something evil like

10-11.1.1-5.1-254

Although I don’t know if you can add   10.1.1.1-5 90-100     to get it to scan 1 – 5 and 90 – 100 ??

Anyone? bueller?

I messed around with email alerts and got a whole bunch letting me know that a lot of my workstations have less than 25% diskspace free. I guess we will be having some fun expanding partitions.

I have noticed that SpiceWorks has not yet updated a machine from offline to online even though it has been online for over an hour. I also rescanned it to see if that would kick it in the head, but no joy. At first I thought it might have not followed it across a dhcp renew to a different address but nope same address, and its online but spiceworks thinks its off. Oh well

Oh yeah vote for my stupid video http://videocontest.kronos.com/kickapps/_Kronsters-Inc/video/258026/34016.html

Quick SpiceWorks Review

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I messed around with SpiceWorks maybe a year ago and then ran into a post recommending it so thought I would give it another go.

Installation, went smooth and fast.

Next, Making me register…. hmm makes me feel a little slimy but OK I guess

Needs to run as admin, Ok

Adding ranges to scan is easy!!

The network scan is progressing well, and fast. It globs on to AD Computer groups, I will see if I like that.

Hmm it goes out and retrieves workstation statuses which is cool. The glide mode of displaying servers is very very snazzy (if you need eye candy to impress your boss of course!)

So far SpiceWorks 3.0 is behaving much better than I remember!!

I see a few errors of Unknown error for user ”: WIN32OLERuntimeError: ConnectServer OLE erro:
Alert Message. Probabably because it is a really old nt4.0 server???

I will just clear the error for now. As far as inventory browsing I would just like a plain and simple list view, the icons are taking up too much space!

One thing I am unclear at the moment is how to scan a larger range say for example 10.3.x.x

The only examples they have are for scanning 10.3.1.x, on a whim I tried using our AD which appeared to grab a few more workstations…. oh well.

hmmm after messing with it for too long I was unable to make it work. Anybody know how to do this?

Looks like it can’t identify AS400’s, software inventory is very nice, the DNS check and storage check are very nice.

I’m still annoyed at the range adding issue…..

I will continue messing and maybe write another post.