I have been using Nagios 3 with NRPE on the clients for some time now, and it works great.

Now I heard that if I used SNMP I wouldn't have to install check_ plugins on each client.

So does anyone knows of pros and cons of NRPE vs. SNMP?

My monitor server is a CentOS5 with Nagios 3 and the client are mostly CentOS and Ubuntu.


SNMP is available for everything, Linux, Unix, Windows, Cisco.. and many more.

Certain information will be available on NRPE that isn't on SNMP. Your setup time with snmpd will be allot quicker, once you get your head around how SNMP works.

You can provide a snmpd.conf config to your clients and they can setup their own snmp daemon quickly and without too much trouble shooting on your behalf. I imagine you requesting access to clients servers to install NRPE. Depending on your install method, your clients systems may not be keeping NRPE up-to-date, unlike snmp which is very mature and guaranteed to be maintained by the distributions package management system!

save yourself some effort and avoid using NRPE unless snmp can not provide Nagios with the correct information.

  • 4
    just some corrections: nrpe is available and maintained by distributions or serious/reliable repositores (like the dag repo for centos/red hat). Installing snmpd is as much a pain as installing nrpe, that is, just a few keystrokes away. Distributing a config file for nrpe if you have a configuration management system (which you should) like CFengine is no more difficult than for snmpd. So frankly, I fail to see why recommend avoid using NRPE for those reasons. I can understand you prefer SNMP to NRPE, but not for those reasons :) – natxo asenjo Oct 31 '10 at 9:57
  • +1 I agree with you snmp still limited and I don't see why using it even to deploy the native agent monitoring ( nrpe ). Only one case occur is when you can not open tcp port on the client machine for nrpe. – Ali Mezgani May 10 '16 at 10:50

There is nothing saying you can't we both!

SNMP is Nice but just like NRPE may not be installed. also SNMP support in windows... Sucks. A big advantage of NRPE is that a lot of the scripts out there are written for NRPE and may Need some hacking to get working with SNMP.

  • +1; we use both extensively. Some checks are easier with SNMP, some with NRPE. – natxo asenjo Oct 28 '10 at 13:56
  • Interesting. Can you give some examples where you thought SNMP were the right thing to use instead of NRPE? – Sandra Oct 29 '10 at 6:18
  • well, some nagios plugins are already written for SNMP, so I am not going to reinvent the wheel just to run them through NRPE. Think of stuff like the check_hpasm for HP server hardware, for instance. It's more convenient/easier/faster to use an existing script than to write your own. – natxo asenjo Oct 29 '10 at 8:51

SNMP is tried, true, and as Ash Palmer indicated, supported by almost everything. Its configuration is pretty simple, and provides you with a wealth of statistics for most platforms.

Also, the SNMP protocol has support for traps, which are a notification system that doesn't rely on polling (something that I don't think the check_ plugins do).

SNMP is also pretty low-cost in terms of network and CPU.

If you need additional data available via SNMP, that's doable too, but probably a bigger challenge than an NRPE.

Finally, the SNMP protocol version three has secure authentication and encryption built into the protocol.

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