So, go back 5 years and I blogged about alternatives to Nagios, comparing things like Zabbix and OpenNMS. Whilst the original blog post was about replacing nagios with an alternative which would have to provide service up/down style notifications, most of the alternatives major functionality was around graphing your network as well which is certainly one of the pre-requisites for running a NOC. So fast forward to today and I’ve found myself both deploying and helping to develop an Open source NMS called LibreNMS.
Would LIbreNMS have made it into the original list? Well possibly not as it can only provide up/down alerting on systems it graphs, so if you want to monitor a URL then you would still need something like Nagios. However if the challenge was to find a system to replace something like Cacti then it certainly would be a worthy contender. We barely ran Cacti at work before it’s annoyances got in the way and we were on the look out for something else. During my searching I came across Observium (which surprisingly I’d never heard of before) and we deployed a test install to see how it would fair. Within days we’d dropped Cacti and moved to the subscription version of Observium and thought we’d found exactly what we were looking for.
Along with Observium came some downsides which if you hang out in the irc channel or read the mailing list will soon become apparent and so the search continued with the thought of forking Observium. The issue with this was that Observium had changed the license to be quite closed and restrictive so forking at the current version wouldn’t be possible. Fork an earlier GPL compliant version? Well yeah that would be great but the work involved would have been too much for me to do. Little did I know that someone had already done the hard work and so a test install was underway. It visually lacked along but for the most part worked for us. We’ve rolled LibreNMS out to our new DC rather than taking another subscription with Observium and haven’t looked back.
Development has moved on in the last couple of months on LibreNMS, it’s visually becoming more pleasing on the eye, some bugs affecting users are being squished daily and new functionality is being added which means the code base is slowly diverging from the Observium path. We’ve got some great developers now who’s attitude is a complete contrast to it’s founding father which makes helping develop it a joy rather than a chore, you get recognition for contributing and if something doesn’t work – you can fix it and request your changes be merged.
If you are on the look out for a new NMS then give it a try, if you’ve got the skills to help develop it then give it a try, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed 🙂