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!

Zenoss 2.1.3 Versus Hyperic HQ episode 1

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I’m trying to find some good open source network monitoring software.

Continuation here

First I downloaded the vm version of Zenoss, it fired up pretty easily and I was in to the web interface. I was looking around for some way to do an autodiscovery of the network but couldn’t finid it quickly so I guess I will have to read the manual 🙂

First strangeness I encountered, following the manual I try to change the password for ‘Zope’ by entering zenpass. But it doesn’t work. I don’t like that. The next thing I notice is an error, something about a problem pinging localhost?? thats strange.

Ok, the interface is pretty confusing. This is what it says

From the left navigation menu select networks. The Networks Overview page appears.
2.  Click the checkbox next to the network you want to add all of the devices from. You can also use Subnetworks table menu to add a new network to the list.
3.  Once you have selected the network, open the Subnetworks table menu and select Discover Devices.
4.  The Discover Device page will appear showing you the status of all the device collections going on.

So what the heck is the table menu you might ask?? Well it looks exactly like a sort column arrow.

Would you guess to select that arrow?

Hmm ok, so It looked like it started doing something… although now I’m getting a bunch of errors?

INFO:zen.Ping:starting ping cycle Thu May 1 17:16:51 2008
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    ERROR:zen.Ping:receiving packet
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    Traceback (most recent call last):
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    File “/home/zenoss/Products/ZenStatus/”, line 161, in recvPacket
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    icmppkt = icmp.disassemble(
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    File “/usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/”, line 252, in disassemble
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    raise ValueError, “Unrecognized type: %d” % type
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    ValueError: Unrecognized type: 5
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    ERROR:zen.Ping:receiving packet
2008-05-01 17:17:53    INFO     zen    Traceback (most recent call last):

I deleted and re added the network, and now it was able to find a few machines… but the console keeps on saying Neighbour table overflow???

Well, all and all, it looks cool but still has a few issues to work out.