5 Open Source Monitoring Tools: Comparison and Review

Today, most companies rely on a network to run their business. Therefore, if a network fails, a server goes down or an application crashes, a company can suffer a significant loss. In this article, we review five leading open source monitoring tools. Compare each tool based on business benefits, feature set, and price.

 Open source monitoring tools

A monitoring tool tracks the activities of users, applications and the network. It compares the state of those components to a predefined set of rules that describe normal operation. If the tool identifies an abnormal situation, it will report that problem – often before a failure occurs. Monitoring tools can save time and money by eliminating or reducing the impact of system failures. Here are a few examples of how monitoring tools help a system or network administrator:

  • Monitoring operations: the software monitors operations faster and more efficiently than would otherwise be possible.
  • Diagnosing problems: the reports produced by the monitoring tool will tell you if a website went down because of a website issue, a web server problem or a network failure.
  • Avoiding failures: the monitor will identify hardware or software that is experiencing some type of failure on a regular basis. The admin can troubleshoot the issue before it turns into a devastating crash.

Using open source software has many advantages. For example, you’re not locked into long term contracts. Instead, you are free to choose your technology and make changes as you see fit. Scale your business and choose where you invest your resources.

1. Icinga’s open source monitoring tool

Icinga open source monitoring

Icinga is a flexible and user friendly tool that helps enterprise organization monitoring services more efficiently and at reduced costs. The Icinga team of developers broke away from Nagios to develop Icinga in 2009. Out of the box, Icinga 2 is strong at monitoring servers and devices, supporting both direct monitoring and SNMP. It excels at providing data and alerts for availability, connectivity, and general health checks of your infrastructure.


  • Supports all configuration management tools such as Puppet, Chef or Ansible
  • Supports many Open Source datacenter management tools
  • Has a solid framework for performing authentication and authorization tasks

Enterprise Pricing and Support Plans

Icinga is free to use, and the developers are committed to keeping it free. Support is available at no charge through a community forum.

Enterprise support is available from Icinga partners.Partners include full service, consulting and support and training providers. Icinga developers work with their partners to provide backup where needed. Individual partners quote pricing for support.

Shadow-Soft is Icinga’s enterprise support, services, and training partner for United States and Canada.

Related: 7 benefits of Icinga’s open source monitoring tool

2. Nagios

Nagios has been in the market since 1999. Companies that use Nagios range in size from small businesses to enterprise-level companies; it is one of the industry leaders.


  • Integration with a variety of third-party software is possible using a plugin. Given the length of time Nagios has been in the market, many plugins are already written
  • Can monitor a wide range of components, including operating systems, applications, web servers, websites, middleware and more

Enterprise Pricing and Support Plans

Nagios offers several different maintenance and support plans that include email support, customer support forums and self-paced training. Telephone support is available as an add-on.

For Enterprise customers, maintenance and support starts at $2,400 per year for 100-node installations, and goes up to $4,750 per year for unlimited nodes. Telephone support can be purchased in a 10-Call Pack for $1,495, or a 5-Call Pack for $995.

Related: Comparison guide: Nagios vs Icinga2

3. Sensu

Sensu open source monitoring

Sensu is promoted as the full-stack monitoring tool. Using one platform, you can monitor servers, services and applications, and report on business KPIs.


  • Can reuse monitoring checks and plugins from a variety of legacy monitoring systems
  • Monitoring doesn’t require a separate workflow
  • Supports all major platforms, including Linux, Solaris, Microsoft Windows and more

Enterprise Pricing and Support Plans

Sensu can be used open source with community support and training provided at $999 per seat. Enterprise pricing starts at $50 per month for up to 50 servers and one training seat. At the upper limit, an unlimited number of servers are included along with 20 training seats for a fee of $10,000 per month. There are discounts for annual payments, and a free trial of the Enterprise system is available.

4. Zabbix

Zabbix monitoring tool

Zabbix focuses on providing enterprise-class monitoring solutions to large companies. This solution is built to monitor a wide range of components, can send notifications in a number of ways and has a built-in event handler.


  • Easy to use interface with a low learning curve
  • Centralized monitoring system that stores all data in a relational database for easier processing
  • Built-in data housekeeping procedures

Enterprise Pricing and Support Plans

Zabbix offers a five-tier support structure. At the low end, the Bronze package covers four incidents, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. support availability and two-day response time. At the high end, the Enterprise package covers unlimited incidents, 24 x 7 support availability and four-hour response times. Pricing customized to your environment is available from Zabbix.

5. Zenoss

Zenoss Open Source Monitoring

Zenoss is a hybrid IT monitoring platform. It focuses on monitoring cloud, virtual and physical environments.


  • Consolidates tools to eliminate IT silos and provide increased visibility and transparency
  • Simplifies adopting new technology
  • Integrates into the overall IT lifecycle

Enterprise Pricing and Support Plans

Zenoss provides services to support deployment, integration, development and training. They also offer two levels of support. The Premium Package offers Enterprise support. It includes unlimited emails and telephone calls, remote troubleshooting and more. Request pricing from Zenoss.

Even small companies have a difficult time monitoring their systems. As the network grows, it’s even more important to have a monitoring tool that will make diagnosing problems and avoiding failures easier, faster and less costly. Choosing among open source alternatives gives you the best opportunity to ensure you tailor the monitoring tool to be effective in your specific environment.

Next step

Considering a new open source monitoring solution? Our consultants can help you better understand your problems and evaluate a range of tools that can help you. Contact us today for a chat.

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