I've looked through a few related questions, but wanted to get a bit more specific.

Here's what I'm hoping for:

  • Linux machine (VM, whatever)
  • runs applications that can do syslogging and dashboards
  • grabs information from Juniper and other NON-CISCO devices (using SNMP or whatever)
  • provides realtime graphs and reports
  • notification support / troubleshooting
  • web interface
  • all open-source or free

Now for the caveats. I know about NAGIOS and Groundworks and Zenoss...even tried messing with them in the past. The problem is that I'm a Windows admin and have very limited Linux experience. So when it comes to anything beyond turnkey or walkthroughs it starts to get dicey quickly. I end up scrapping them because the learning curve is too great especially when you don't know the Linux commands well enough to troubleshoot and configure properly.

So can anyone recommend a quick and easy solution that will get me up and going with the above (bearing the caveats in mind)?


What you're attempting to do is not a simple thing, so looking for a simple solution is a snipe hunt.

Your best bet would be to pick up the Zenoss VM image and use that. It's the closest non-commercial turn-key solution you'll get.

Easy. Cheap. Good.

Pick two.

  • 1
    hehe, beated me for a sec - both with the VM and the pick 2 :) Cheers – Sunny Jun 18 '09 at 15:39
  • Also, take a look at NagiosVMA: vmware.com/appliances/directory/372 – Sunny Jun 18 '09 at 15:39
  • +1 for Matt. I use this and it works great, I think it runs on Windows as well. zabbix.com – Dave Drager Jun 18 '09 at 15:50
  • 1
    I used Fast, Cheap, Good, pick 2, for programming projects when they wanted it in a week. – SpaceManSpiff Jun 18 '09 at 17:16

Why the requirement for Linux? Why not use a Windows based system like Hyperic?


  • Beat me by a second! ;-) – Ben Dunlap Jun 18 '09 at 15:44
  • Although strictly speaking Hyperic is not Windows-based or Linux-based, I thought (it's built with Java). – Ben Dunlap Jun 18 '09 at 15:44
  • Kevin, The main reason for the LinuxOS is the licensing fee for Windows. While a minor concern for us, it is still something to look at. – TheCleaner Jun 18 '09 at 18:34
  • However, your time and effort are also worth something. Much as I love Linux for those roles, the licensing fee is likely to be less important than having to learn a new OS to be effective. – David Thornley Jun 18 '09 at 21:05
  • @TheCleaner I'm assuming you're worried about the cost of Windows Server, but do you need Windows Server? Couldn't you run Hyperic on an XP box? – Ben Dunlap Jun 19 '09 at 0:19

I'll parrot those who have asked why it has to be a Linux solution. You can check out this list of Windows based network monitoring solutions. Take it from a predominantly Windows admin who tried to make a "simple" Linux based network monitoring solution within a virtual machine. There was a huge learning curve and I eventually had to abandon the project in favor of more pressing matters. A high learning curve is great and I'll take that challenge some day, but for me it was like cramming 50 pounds of potatoes in a 10 pound sack. It wasn't going to happen if I could only give the project my "spare time". You'll need contiguous hours (note that the word "hours" is plural! =) ) of time for contiguous days in a row for contiguous weeks on end to have a good operating *nix based network monitoring solution.

Yes, you can use a virtual appliance; I looked into that when I realized that rolling my own network monitoring virtual machine by hand would be about as easy as juggling ferrets. Check out VMWare's Virtual Appliance Marketplace for a ton of options. I looked at Groundwork (which was mentioned above) and am convinced that it's a good product and will fill many of yours and my needs and I even have an online class scheduled for the end of this month. However, you're still going to need enough proficiency and familiarity with various systems within the underlying Linux OS that you'll be needing those contiguous time slots to figure it all out. If you can afford it, then great! If not, go for a Windows based solution. There's no shame in that. Srsly. =)

EDIT: I've used Intellipool before on a Windows machine and it was pretty cool.


Have you looked at Spiceworks? Its not a full real-time system such as packages like Nagios or the Systems Insight Manager but it is web based, runs on windows (I have it installed on my machine with scheduled scans) and I can just go into the web interface on localmachine. Polls for server and computer status, is able to do SNMP, can bring up listings of installed applications and has some good reporting tools and some graphs http://www.spiceworks.com/

Edit: Forgot to mention it is free (google ad supported)

  • Thanks, I'll try this one first, then Hyperic, then fall back to the Zenoss VMA if necessary. – TheCleaner Jun 18 '09 at 18:41

A lot of those solutions are complex, but have a good user base that can help you through the issues you have during install. If you are dead set on not paying for a product/support then this sounds like the only option.


In case you're not aware Groundworks have a VM appliance.


I gotta ask though, of you're a windows admin and you don't have the time/inclination to learn linux, why ask for a lnx solution?

Any lnx based tool is gonna have a learning curve for a windows dude.


HP Systems Insight Manager free product may also be a potential solution for you.

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