Knowledge about the things happening on hosts and network is essential to a system administrator. That’s why they usually install a bunch of software tools to get the required informations from their systems. Nagios is one of the most infamous programs to do so. It monitors your machines and sends out alerts to the appropriate administrator. The disadvantages of Nagios are its configuration and the lack of long time monitoring functions.
As I did some hardware maintenance I was forced to do my internal server from scratch which was a good start to search for good monitoring solutions. So I started looking around and came across Groundwork Monitor and some other Nagios Front-Ends until I finally found Zenoss which looked like a suitable alternative – but the installation failed due to their outdated build tools they’d require.
As I was not really successful in fixing those numerous bugs in the installation routine I went on and found Zabbix – a tool that claims to be the perfect solution if you can trust their homepage. There was even an outdated ebuild in portage which needed some love. I did an updated version and put it in my overlay – so the installation wasn’t a problem and I could start with the configuration, which happened via Web interface which looked quite complicated at the first glance. But once you got the logic, it is straight forward and simple.
For monitoring remote machines, Zabbix offers Agents which are even available for Windows and Apple. But nevertheless you can use SNMP and Shell scripts to get things done. So if you’d ask me, Zabbix is a really powerful solution. It even uses less resources than my previous nagios / cacti solution.