Everybody knows Nagios, or at least… everybody should know Nagios.
It is a useful tool to monitor systems and networks that thousands of users worldwide have been using for more than fifteen years.
Then, if it is so popular, on what are we based to say that it is not a good solution?
Careful! We’re not saying that Nagios is a bad tool, but many times the fact that it is a solution so extended and used everywhere in the world may make us assume certain things about the product and leave aside the most important question: What is what your business really needs?
After almost 20 years of experience in server, network and security technology, we dare to list some of the reasons for which it is not a good idea to assemble a Nagios system to manage a monitoring service on which business continuity depends.
Nagios technical features
Nagios has been with us for almost a quarter of century. And that’s good, but it also entails some limitations.
1. It’s not a product, it’s a project
When Nagios is installed in a company, it is installed specifically for that company, so you will not find two Nagios alike, installed and deployed in the same way. Their internal configuration files will be incredibly different.
That is always a problem in the long run.
If two technicians write a script differently and that makes it difficult to interpret them by a third party, imagine what would happen with a configuration mega-script as complex as that of Nagios.
Although two environments and two problems may be identical, the technician of the first environment will have problems understanding the Nagios installation of the second one and the technician from the second one will have trouble with the other Nagios installation.
2. Plugins Puzzle
The standard features of basic Nagios are extremely limited.
The solution to extend it is to install plugins, addons and third-party extensions, which makes it an even less standard ecosystem.
Simply put, Nagios is a puzzle of pieces made by people who have nothing in common and who lack a joint overview.
3. High dependency
Since Nagios is a tailor-made project, it depends on a limited group of people (some of whom are out of your reach) who will be there to hear your complaints, but may not even be able to solve the problem, as there will not be a final person in charge.
This team will be the only one that can maintain the installation of Nagios, therefore the knowledge will not be easily scalable or transferable to third parties.
4. Poorly scalable and flexible
Nagios is not intended for changing environments. Its configuration is static, cumbersome and complicated to integrate into automatic provisioning processes.
As it is well known, scalability is not Nagios’ strong point.
Business Aspects with Nagios
A tool like Nagios brings a number of limitations to your business. Not only for what it is able to do, but for the cost of maintaining it.
5. Software unit and human dependence
If monitoring is the key to your business, to growth or to maintaining current production, with Nagios you will stop relying on a software vendor and start relying on a small team of specialists.
The ones known as Gurus.
6. Unsolvable problems
Any problem that your technicians do not know how to solve will be unsolvable, especially if the implementation is very customized, since no one outside your company will know what changed or how to solve it.
Systems are audited in large companies and, in most cases, product manufacturer support is essential.
7. Large derivative costs
Although initially Nagios may seem cheaper than other solutions (you save yourself a recurring license cost), the problems arising from its maintenance will make it much more expensive in the long run.
8. Risk of losing support
If the technical team (usually a single person) leaves the company, it will be impossible to maintain the monitoring project.
There will be no support, training or documentation that can replace the “guru” who assembled it and, at best, it will be like starting from scratch.
At worst, it will take longer to understand what is assembled and how it is managed correctly.
9. Human Cost vs License Cost
Paying the salary of a Nagios guru for three years is much higher than the cost of a license, a training course and a systems technician.
After all, monitoring with Nagios takes up the time of a highly qualified technician who specializes in a task that bears no benefit.
Especially because it may not have to be carried out.
10. Alternatives available
There are dozens of software applications with license, support and training plans that will save you lots of headaches.
You probably don’t need all the power that Pandora FMS Enterprise can offer you and it’s enough with PRTG or What’s up Gold. Or maybe with Pandora FMS free software version.
We only recommend Pandora FMS Enterprise to those organizations that have needs that justify the versatility, power and flexibility of our tool.
El equipo de redacción de Pandora FMS está formado por un conjunto de escritores y profesionales de las TI con una cosa en común: su pasión por la monitorización de sistemas informáticos.
Pandora FMS’s editorial team is made up of a group of writers and IT professionals with one thing in common: their passion for computer system monitoring.