Community Comunidad

Zabbix alternative: why you should choose Pandora FMS

March 17, 2017

Zabbix alternative: why you should choose Pandora FMS

This post is also available in : Spanish

Pandora FMS as a Zabbix alternative:

One of the challenges companies face when they grow to a certain size is maintaining oversight of their IT infrastructure. As a company network grows, it begins incorporating new apps, new operating systems, Cloud-computing, remote servers and so on, which, if not properly monitored, can cause problems down the line, impacting on the business itself. Having a monitoring system in place allows your system administrators to control what’s happening throughout your infrastructure, at every level: hardware, software, communications, availability, business processes, web services, and more.
One of many responses to these expanding IT demands was the monitoring tool Zabbix and we’re going to take it as our reference in order to analyze it in detail and in contrast with another product in the same sector, our own Pandora FMS. If you’re thinking about implementing Zabbix (or another monitoring tool), here we present Pandora FMS as an interesting Zabbix alternative.

banner full pandora fms free demo
banner tablet pandora fms free demo
banner mobile pandora fms free demo

History

Zabbix has been around since 2001, when it began as a completely new, independent project, and has evolved to cover status-based monitoring, oriented toward performance and usability.

Pandora FMS, meanwhile, started in 2004, also as a new development, and with the aim of covering all aspects of monitoring, from infrastructure (networks and servers), to UX, business processes, performance and apps.

Architectures

Both tools use an SQL database for centralizing data storage, and both make use of a web console to carry out management and administration tasks. Consolidating these tasks in the same console simplifies day-to-day maintenance and increases accessibility, allowing non-specialists to intervene.

Language Zabbix is coded in:

Backend

  • Server: C.
  • Agentes: C.
  • Proxy: C.

Frontend

  • Web console: PHP and javascript.

Pandora FMS is coded in:

Backend

  • Server: perl.
  • Linux agent: perl.
  • Windows agent: C++.
  • Android agent: java.

Frontend

  • Web console: PHP and javascript.

Extended functionalities, such as proxy, broker or satellite server are also coded in perl, as they are 100% integrated in the agents and don’t require additional elements to be installed.

Managing large environments

When it comes to defining monitoring templates (an important part of monitoring as they allow the user to standardize monitoring tasks, thereby saving time and resources), Zabbix bases its system on regular expressions. This is a powerful tool, but requires a certain amount of specialization, and, to be honest, a high tolerance for tedium, to get the most out of.

Pandora’s template system, on the other hand, is based on web console wizards, affording greater usability. On the open version there are pre-defined module templates that can be applied to any agent, and massive operations functions, allowing the user to modify any existing elements on a large scale and across the entire infrastructure. Furthermore, the Enterprise version has even more powerful policies, which allow not only the deployment of module templates, but also include alerts, plugin execution, attachments (the plugins themselves), etc. These policies are one of Pandora’s most powerful functions, and represent added value when considering it as a good Zabbix alternative.

Both tools can be deployed on distributed network architectures by installing additional nodes or intermediary components such as proxies or satellites servers. What’s more, Pandora FMS features another component for managing distinct office branches or separate installations from an upper layer of monitoring: the metaconsole.

Technologies

Although Zabbix is a technical powerhouse, it requires numerous plugins to be installed in order to reach its full potential and be efficient. Despite this, there isn’t an official plugin library for the community, and there’s no way to work with Enterprise tools like Oracle, Active Directory or Exchange, or to integrate (at least officially) with SAP.

Pandora FMS does have the technology to carry out standard monitoring tasks without the need for additional components, including remote monitoring (ICMP, SNMP, WMI, TCP, web…). Furthermore, there is an extensive official plugin library, in both Open and Enterprise versions, which are available to execute specialized monitoring tasks at deeper and more complex layers, principally app-oriented. The library is maintained by the manufacturer and its contents are compiled based on real-world needs, and updated according to the new demands of application-monitoring. It’s also officially SAP-certified.

Reports and custom maps

Both tools also permit custom screens, whether in visual consoles and network maps, or with different dashboard elements. The following screenshots show what can be achieved.

Zabbix:

zabbix alternative

zabbix alternative

Pandora FMS:

zabbix alternative

zabbix alternative

Both Zabbix and Pandora FMS allow automatic report generation, including specific SLA reports, and service and device availability reports. However, Pandora FMS as a Zabbix alternative, presents more intuitive and aesthetically attractive results, as well as allowing greater customization.

Zabbix SLA report:

zabbix alternative

Pandora FMS SLA report:

zabbix alternative

Software agents

Both tools also feature agents that are installed on servers to extract data locally. Nowadays, agent-based monitoring is an inescapable part of network administration, as a lot of data is only recoverable at local layer, particularly with reference to applications

In this area Pandora FMS also has the edge over Zabbix, as its agents, apart from carrying out standard local monitoring, also implement a series of extended functions that are integrated on the agent itself (without the need for extra plugins), such as system-events monitoring, inventory monitoring, process and services watchdog, monitoring “performance counter” parameters, WMI interface, or conditioned monitoring, being able to execute actions based on incoming data, allowing for faster and more proactive responses on behalf of the agent itself. This combination of Pandora FMS with agents-based monitoring presents a more than viable Zabbix alternative.

About Pandora FMS

Pandora FMS is a flexible monitoring system, capable of monitoring devices, infrastructures, applications, services and business processes.
Of course, one of the things that Pandora FMS can control is the hard disks of your computers.
Would you like to know more about what Pandora FMS can offer you? Discover it by entering here: https://pandorafms.com

If you have more than 100 devices to monitor, you can contact us through the following form : https://pandorafms.com/en/contact/

Also, remember that if your monitoring needs are more limited you have at your disposal the OpenSource version of Pandora FMS. Find more information here: https://pandorafms.org

Do not hesitate to send us your queries. The Pandora FMS team will be happy to assist you!


Written by:



5 comments
  1. Not sure how much you guys have used Zabbix, but a some of the content here is somewhat inaccurate. 1) Technologies "Although Zabbix is a technical powerhouse, it requires numerous plugins to be installed in order to reach its full potential and be efficient. Despite this, there isn’t an official plugin library for the community, and there’s no way to work with Enterprise tools like Oracle, Active Directory or Exchange, or to integrate (at least officially) with SAP." I've used Zabbix out of the box to monitor enterprise environments without any usability/monitoring issues. The only real 'efficiency issue' with Zabbix is that disk performance can be a real bottleneck. Active Directory integration is also possible for authentication in Zabbix. 2) Technologies "Pandora FMS does have the technology to carry out standard monitoring tasks without the need for additional components, including remote monitoring (ICMP, SNMP, WMI, TCP, web…)." Zabbix can do that out of the box too. 3) Software agents "In this area Pandora FMS also has the edge over Zabbix, as its agents, apart from carrying out standard local monitoring, also implement a series of extended functions that are integrated on the agent itself (without the need for extra plugins), such as system-events monitoring, inventory monitoring, process and services watchdog, monitoring “performance counter” parameters, WMI interface, or conditioned monitoring, being able to execute actions based on incoming data, allowing for faster and more proactive responses on behalf of the agent itself." Again, Zabbix can also do most of these out of the box, though you will need to configure the monitoring yourself. The hardest part about doing this monitoring is learning how to use Zabbix, but that's part of learning how to use any monitoring system.

    • Avatar

      Carla Andres

      Hi SirLagz, First of all thanks for the contribution! We agree that Zabbix is a really good monitoring solution, we just tried to narrow some of the key differences they have. However the decision in most of the cases will come on how comfortable users feel using one or other tool. Kind regards.

      • Avatar

        Giovanni Lovato

        Carla you say "we just tried to narrow some of the key differences they have", but what SirLagz said is that the article is inaccurate on these key differences and results misleading. This article really needs to be revised by a neutral point of view.

  2. […] there are many other softwares that use this model, some time ago, we published an article about Zabbix (where we will be able to see its operation in detail even though it is a comparison); we also have […]

  3. […] in this blog we have published comparative articles about monitoring software such as Nagios or Zabbix, as well as about backup supervision and its definition, planning and implementation with software […]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.