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I would like to know your expert opinion about the best free program for generating and aggregating alarms in a distributed system running on Linux/Unix.

I'm considerably familiar with Nagios but I don't have any experience with others tools. Regarding Nagios I can say that:

1) if I want to get fancy, I can dig into Nagios for myself and come up with a solution.

2) it tends to integrate well with almost anything.

thanks.

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Details are what matters here. How many machines, how many services, how often do you want to monitor, what exactly do you want to monitor, what are your criteria for failure? And many, many more questions. –  womble Jul 9 '11 at 10:43
    
So...it sounds like you're saying Nagios meets your needs? I guess I don't understand your question. What specifically do you want to do that seems difficult/is not supported by Nagios? –  larsks Jul 9 '11 at 15:50
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Have you looked at Monit and M/Monit? I think it's really easy to configure and roll-out, but relies on a lightweight agent on the client-side. The application integration via PID file works very well.

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As womble noted, it is almost impossible to declare any product "the best" but I have been compiling a list of open source solutions that revolve around this. I hope it might be of some use to you.

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