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How to Find the Right Nagios Replacement

jkirkwood's picture

Legacy Nagios installs and limitations are one of the largest sources of potential technical debt in an organization. As a platform, it was great in its heyday since it offered more than any other OSS monitoring product and, in many cases, it did more than many commercial tools. Nagios was very disruptive to the monitoring marketplace and it caused many products to step up their game. It would not be unfair to say that the disruptive place that Nagios once had in the monitoring space has nearly disappeared. 

With the changing needs of a modern IT Ops Team, you need to think how you can make monitoring fit newfound requirements. Often, an install of Nagios Core will be a bit of a historical minefield. We see a lot of unloved Nagios installs that have just had their alerts automatically filtered into a folder, rather than being used.   

Consider the output

The most important thing you can get from a monitoring system is accurate notifications. The age of email notifications is over, so make sure that any tool you use can deliver the right notifications to the right people in the right way. Look for some manner of alert suppression too. You only want to see alerts from the devices that go down, not the ones that have dependencies on the one that fails. All of this should hopefully stop notifications from getting muted and ignored.

Integrate wherever possible

One of the more frustrating deficiencies of Nagios for a larger enterprise, or anyone looking to automate elements of their monitoring, is a lack of an API in Nagios core. Make sure your new monitoring tool has a clearly documented API so you can make the most of it and automate interaction with your monitoring. Everything is so much easier when you can automatically populate configuration! 

Make that value visible

Most Nagios Core installs we see these days are functional and not much else, a system for doing the minimum in terms of monitoring and seldom used for showing off performance and availability metrics. If you choose a tool with clear visible output such as a dashboard platform, it will allow you to visually highlight the productivity of your IT team. 

Start thinking in services rather than just servers

Gone are the days of having a single host running an entire application. Now a modern application must be resilient. Take Skype for business as an example; there are 3 roles required to deploy an enterprise cluster and it is expected that they are replicated at least twice, meaning it ends up taking six hosts. Visualizing this in Nagios without the ability to highlight business services can be seriously complex, making it important to start thinking in services rather than just servers when searching for the right replacement. 

Nagios Replacement

Conclusion

There are many options to replace a Nagios installation. Many of these will be able to do the points mentioned above. But make sure that you take the time to find a system that will grow with your business and become a tool that you see immediate value in, rather than just a newer version of your unloved monitoring platform. 

Learn how Opsview lets you take what you have in Nagios and makes it better by being a powerful alternative for your IT monitoring organization.