Top 10 Free and Open Source Monitoring Tools

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Sharad Bhardwaj

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: February 11, 2021

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For every business, monitoring is necessary to keep the system up and running.

There are monitoring tools that help observe and keep track of the operations and activities of applications and network services on a computer system. Not only that, but these tools are moduled to provide reporting services to the network administrator as well.

I understand that with so many options available in the market, it can get quite challenging to pick the right one. Well, the good news is that I’ve picked out the top 10 free and open source monitoring tools, with the help of the experts, for you to use from.

Let’s have a look at all of them.

Top 10 Free and Open Source Monitoring Tools

1. Nagios

Open Source Monitoring ToolsNagios, also referred to as Nagios Core, is one of the leading open-source monitoring tools. It offers monitoring services for switches, servers, operating systems, network protocols, and applications. Founded in 1999, it is well-known for its high level of performance. It runs on a Core 4 monitoring engine, consuming fewer server resources.

Features

  • Has an active community of over 1 million users
  • Gives you a centralized view of complete monitored IT infrastructure
  • Automatically restarts failed applications

Pros

  • Easy integration with other platforms
  • Highly functional

Cons

  • Requires efficient technical knowledge to install it

2. Zabbix

Open Source Monitoring ToolsZabbix is another leading monitoring tool, specially designed for enterprise-level companies. It serves various industries, including healthcare and medicine, government, energy and chemical, banking and finance, and more. 

This open-source monitoring tool can control almost everything — from web servers to network equipment, web applications, and databases. Furthermore, it is preferred by most trusted companies, such as Dell, Orange, Salesforce, and more. 

Features

  • Seamlessly integrates with several other platforms like Puppet, cfengine, Chef, etc.
  • Supports various languages, including PHP, Java, Ruby, Python, Perl, or shell scripts
  • Get it installed on Linux, macOS X, AIX, Windows, Solaris, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, etc.

Pros

  • Impressive interface
  • Offers pre-configured templates

Cons

  • Quite tricky to use and configure

3. Cacti

Open Source Monitoring ToolsOne of the most popular open-source monitoring tools is Cacti. It acts as a web-based networking monitoring tool that enables you to generate graphs related to relevant network data. The reason for its popularity is that it offers easy-to-understand network statistics with well-defined charts and graphs. 

Features

  • Provides pre-configured templates to speed up the whole process
  • Can be installed on Linux or Windows OS
  • Support Round-Robin Database (RRD) files with more than one data source

Pros

  • Highly customizable
  • SNMP graphing

Cons

  • Configuration takes extra time

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4. Icinga

Open Source Monitoring ToolsIcinga, which was initially created as a fork of Nagios monitoring system, has now evolved into Icinga 2 as an independent monitoring tool. Icinga 2 is not only faster and easier to configure, but it also enables you to monitor both live and historical performance data.

Features

  • Allows you to monitor host services, network services, and server components as well
  • Offers flexible RESTful API to let you enter your own configurations and view live performance data 
  • Provides cross-platform support for several operating systems

Pros

  • Dashboards are customizable
  • Template-based reports

Cons

  • Configuration can be quite confusing

5. Pandora FMS

Open Source Monitoring ToolsPandora FMS is considered as all-in-one monitoring software that is best suited for medium- and big-sized enterprises with at least 100 devices. It offers unparalleled flexibility for IT infrastructure monitoring and can address both immediate and unforeseen operational issues. Besides, it is highly scalable, making it an ideal choice. 

Features

  • Can be deployed in almost all of the major operating system
  • Supports graphic-based reporting, based on its own SQL backend
  • Easily integrates with third-party platforms like Slack, Apache, MySQL, etc.

Pros

  • Centralized dashboard
  • Flexibility and scalability

Cons

  • Deployment can be tedious

6. Observium

Open Source Monitoring ToolsObservium is an emerging open source monitoring tool that runs on Linux but can support many other device types. It has an impressive clientele list that includes large players in the market, namely Dell, eBay. Paypal, Twitter, and more. You can either choose to install the system by using an automated script or in manual mode.

Moreover, it is professionally developed and maintained by a group of expert network engineers. 

Features

  • Has a powerful yet simple and intuitive interface
  • Automatically collects and displays information about services and protocols
  • Streamlines capacity and disaster recovery planning 

Pros

  • Helps in the visualization of distributed networks
  • Fast and easy to set up

Cons

  • Less documentation

7. Graphite

Open Source Monitoring ToolsGraphite is a free, open-source monitoring tool that is used to track the performances of business services, network servers, web applications, and much more. It was developed in 2008 by Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. In fact, it is used by big production companies like Booking.com, Etsy, The Washington Post, and more. 

Features

  • Can collect, store, and display time-series data in real-time
  • Has rolling aggregation to make storage manageable
  • Includes event tracking and supports seamless integration

Pros

  • Provides graph metrics
  • Active support group

Cons

  • Few users complaint about inconsistent data

8. Prometheus

Open Source Monitoring ToolsPrometheus is one of the best open source monitoring tools that enables you to identify time-series data by metric name and a set of key-value pairs. The best part is that it has a large community following, which provides you with regular updates and instant assistance. What’s more, it can seamlessly integrate with third-party apps like Rancher, Sensu, Stackstorm, Kong, RocketChat, and more. 

Features

  • Offers multiple modes to visualize data
  • Efficiently stores time series in memory and local disk
  • Allows you to send notifications via email, PagerDuty, or OpsGenie

Pros

  • Flexible query language
  • Easy to extend

Cons

  • Not-so-easy to set up

9. Riemann

Open Source Monitoring ToolsRiemann is another popular open-source monitoring tool that aims to make tracking and measuring events an easy default. The system aggregates events from your servers and applications, and also offer alerting capabilities to the process. It can track the state of events from seconds to seconds, and build checks that take advantage of combinations of events.

Features

  • You can integrate the system with PagerDuty for SMS or phone alerts
  • Generates detailed reports on network data
  • It is written in Clojure and runs on top of the JVM

Pros

  • Fast and highly configurable
  • Active and reliable community

Cons

  • N/A

10. Netdata

Open Source Monitoring ToolsNetdata is a leading open source monitoring tool that can be run on all systems without disruption. It offers highly optimized, unparalleled real-time health monitoring and performance troubleshooting for applications and systems. And the best part is that it can be easily integrated into existing monitoring toolchains, such as Graphite, Kafka, Prometheus, and more.

Features

  • Runs on Linux, FreeBSD, and macOS 
  • Enables quick installation without any requirement of dedicated resources 
  • Can auto-detect thousands of metrics from dozens of services and application

Pros

  • Fast and efficient
  • Highly interactive web dashboards

Cons

  • Unsecured by default

Conclusion

This free and open-source monitoring software will get you started in no time. Choose the right software and start tracking various aspects of your servers and applications.

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Sharad Bhardwaj is a content analyst at SoftwareSuggest. He loves to advise and help people. In leisure time he likes to be involved in sports activities and listening to music.

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