Lately I've been looking into setting up monitoring and configuration managment on our servers (3 physical, 1 with several virtual servers).

Currently on one server there is Zabbix installed, some have Munin (these monitoring systems have been unmaintained), but uniform monitoring software is not available. Also a centralised configuration manager is not available, and would be a major improvement towards maintainance.

After some reading I've come up with Nagios or Zabbix in combination of either Puppet or Cfengine. However I have no experience with either of these.

In our case it would be best to use understandable and (relatively) easy to deploy software, as due to the structure of the organisation, the IT responsibles change (almost) every year. It should also be able to track down performance pipeline (using graphs on memory or CPU usage for example).

All systems are Linux servers, but if possible it would be nice to have the option to include our Windows PCs in the future.

What option would be best in this case?

EDIT: Another requirement is the solution being free (preferably) open source, as we cannot afford a 2K annual licence fee.


I have used Puppet+Nagios combo since long and I have no complains so far. Puppet works like a charm on Linux (or any unix) boxes and they have ported it to windows as well. Moreover the documentations and tutorials are easily available and simple to follow. Many organizations including Twitter, Fedora Project and wikimedia foundation uses puppet for their servers.
You can found several pre-written recipes for puppet and plugins for nagios for most of the regular tasks. I would say go for puppet+nagios. It'll make your life easier.

  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of this combination over others? I also just found out that puppet is only partially open source. How far does the open source version reach? – Stevenvdr Dec 29 '11 at 17:35
  • I don't where you read that puppet is partially open sourced but rest assured that Puppet is open-sourced under apache 2.0 license. About puppet, I have already told you, that it has a more mature community and a lot of free recipes which you can use out of the box. Nagios has a lot of plugins to monitor several apps like MySQL, apache etc. I haven't used Zabbix so cannot really comment on that. – Aditya Patawari Dec 29 '11 at 18:20

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