I have been looking around for some package that would allow me to monitor my home network, without having to spend a month trying to learn how to use it … Nagios was one of the first packages I looked at, but for monitoring about 5 servers only, I didn’t really feel like learning Nagios from the ground up to get it to work. Granted, it’s a good a software package to know for an excellent open source monitoring software. as an alternative, I looked at my need for monitoring, and found that all I need is really ICMP monitoring, and monitoring some ports for some of the main services, and to make sure that my mail servers are up and running, and receiving mail.
Ok, so it looks like my requirements aren’t too bad, so I started looking around for some open source product that would do that for me.
I did end up finding this application from BixData (http://www.bixdata.com)
It’s a little weird with this product, when I first looked at it, I thought, man it looks very robust with a lot of features, which it does in a way, but when looking at it more closely, it’s a little bit limited with what it can do. it’s by no means Nagios, but i can definitely say that it’s more user friendly, easier to manage and setup on both windows and linux clients (mac clients are also available, but I don’t have those in my network, so I wouldn’t know).
I’m not sure about the company history, but from looking at their product, I would think that in the future they’ll be making a lot of development to their product. Currently, they have a version of the software that is open source, that supports up to 30 servers, which is perfect for someone trying to monitor their home network. for production environments, they have a version of the software that supports up to 1000 hosts. I have not asked them about pricing or anything, and they don’t have that posted on their site either. so if you’re interested in that, you’ll have to ask.
Some of the cool features I found in BixData that are probably in Nagios, but are for sure very easy to configure in BixData, are the reporting and data collection of different performance items. it’s as easy as choosing what server, or “tagged” group of servers you want to run a report on, and choose a report, which will create a very nice graph on the item, for the past 12 hours, day, week, weeks, year , etc ….
It has natively built in, monitoring for http, mail, ping and a couple other basic services, and also has the capability to run scripts locally or remotely on hosts, which, if written wisely, I guess you can do anything with them.
One last thing that I really found useful, is the fact that it can do a network scan for you, with the option of adding the hosts to a network topology design which will show how your hosts are interconnected. pretty cool to see what your network looks like.
This is BixData in a nutshell. their support in their forums is pretty quick, and they seem to always try to solve your problems pretty quick. So far I haven’t seen very much activity in the forums, but I was able to get answers pretty quick.
Give it a shot if you’re looking for a similar product, it might be just the right one for you.