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Open Source Network Management Beats IBM and HP 100

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the slow-and-steady-going-for-the-win dept.
mjhuot writes "Last week SearchNetworking.com announced their Product Leadership Awards for 2007. It was a pleasant surprise to see an open source project, OpenNMS, win the Gold in their Network and IT Management Platforms category. OpenNMS beat out the established players of Hewlett-Packard's OpenView and IBM's Tivoli. This was based on a user survey of all IT solutions, not just open source; it demonstrates that open source software is indeed making inroads into the enterprise."
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Open Source Network Management Beats IBM and HP

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  • by Reverse Gear (891207) * on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:32PM (#18241008) Homepage
    I have never used OpenNMS and don't know much about this product or any of the other commercial runner ups mentioned, but I noticed one thing from the OpenNMS homepage and that is that they have this OpenNMS Group [opennms.com] which provides services, training and support for the product.
    I think this is a model that more many other Open Source products would have a lot to gain from following.

    One obvious benefit of this is that it allows the developers to get paid for working with the product, that way making it possible for some developers to spend more time with the product and they will be in very much direct contact with the users of the product, not only reading about the bugs in a Bugzilla. It allows for some the lead developers to really be devoted to the product which is a really big asset to any Open Source project where money can not be made from selling the program itself.

    Another good thing about this is that it gives the companies who have to choose between products confidence that they can put some trust in that this project is not going to stop being developed because some key developer for some reason is leaving the project.

    Of course some care have to be put into not making sure that model does not lead to one big costumer in the services, training and support department does not get to lead the development of the product, which could have negative side effects, but really I don't think the risk of this is too big, the worst that could happen from this is that the project gets forked, with one fork keeping on working for the "company version" of the product while the rest of the project goes in another direction, but if just the services, training and support groups follows the second group then whatever company can hire people to work on the company version of the product. It just means more good Open Source code and good jobs for OS developers, the GNU license should make sure that a company can not take the code and make it into a closed source project.
    • One could probably compare OpenNMS to a tradtional startup company with no venture capital, and they beat out HP and IBM. That speaks volumes alone. I imagine the openNMS guys will eventually get swallowed up with a buyout from one of those two - which is an encouraging thought (although probably not their original intent). I admire GPL and FSF principles, but if it were me, I'd take that offer quicker than a cupcake left unguarded on the table.
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday March 05, 2007 @04:21PM (#18241562)
      Of course some care have to be put into not making sure that model does not lead to one big costumer in the services, training and support department does not get to lead the development of the product,

      Why would someone who sells costumes [thecostumer.com] have anything to do with software development? I'm confused.

      I develop software for a living, but I've never been required to wear any particular costume.
    • by mgiuca (1040724)

      I have never used OpenNMS and don't know much about this product or any of the other commercial runner ups mentioned, but I noticed one thing from the OpenNMS homepage and that is that they have this OpenNMS Group which provides services, training and support for the product.
      I think this is a model that more many other Open Source products would have a lot to gain from following.

      Yup. It sounds like the guy in charge (Tarus Balog; what an awesome name) knows how to run an open source business.

      Coincidentally,

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The enterprise is the main place that open-source has been popular for years. Linux, BSD, Apache anyone?? It's the desktop where "making inroads" would be relevant.
  • by C_Kode (102755) on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:38PM (#18241098) Journal
    I can't get too http://www.opennms.org/ [opennms.org]. Their network management sucks!!!! :P
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      Yeah, I have to admit that although one has absolutely nothing to do with the other, when a network management product developer's homepage won't load they immediately lose credibility with me... whether it says "Open" on the front of their name or not.
      • by Da_Weasel (458921)
        OpenNMS does not make a network stay available, it is a tool used monitor said network for issues. People who make comments like your's immediately lose credibility with me.
        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          I explicitly stated that one really has nothing to do with the other, but I guess reading the comment is too much work. People who cannot tell the difference between "yours" and "your's" automatically lose credibility with me, but the idiots who can't read a comment before replying have none to lose.

          See if you can follow this logic: a corporation (or other entity) that hires (or otherwise employs) incompetents in one area is likely to do so in another.

    • by sbowles (602816)
      I'm sure that their OpenNMS monitors are currently paging their support staff that the webserver has fallen over.
    • so does your spelling
    • by Sortova (922179) on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:57PM (#18241310) Homepage
      Grrr. We've been on Slashdot before but man, this sucks. OpenNMS sent me an alarm (and the fact that I can't get to my mail also alerted me) but what can you do. Usually Rackspace does a good job and I've opened a support ticket to see if they can do anything about it. Sorry.
      • Hmmm.. We currently use Spectrum and are getting ready to make a change. I just sent this link to the boss and he came back with, "Yeah, but their website is currently down! What does that say about the company?"

        If OpenNMS wants to play with the big boys, they will have to beef things up a bit. Once you can withstand being slashdotted, then we'll talk.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by turbidostato (878842)
          "If OpenNMS wants to play with the big boys, they will have to beef things up a bit. Once you can withstand being slashdotted, then we'll talk."

          Let's see if I understood properly.

          Do you really imply that in order to develop a suitable network management solution you must pay big cash to your bandwith provider or else your product must be shit?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TBone (5692)

            Do you really imply that in order to develop a suitable network management solution you must pay big cash to your bandwith provider or else your product must be shit?

            You don't talk to managers much, I see.

            You understand the difference. Most of people here understand the difference. PHBs don't understand the difference.

            If you showed that to 95% of the non-technical managers who control puchase orders, they'd say, "If they can't keep their own website up, how can they be making a useful program to help

            • by AriesGeek (593959)
              Yeah. What he said. OpenNMS is now dead in the eyes of my manager for this very reason.
              • by Da_Weasel (458921)
                That is exactly the problem. You don't even understand what the product is and your presenting it to your manager. Your lucky that the site is down. Because if your manager probably would have fired your dumb ass for showing him something when you didn't even take the time to find out what the product does.
                • by AriesGeek (593959)
                  I guess I should expect to be flamed for going against slashdot groupthink.

                  My manager and I show each other everything. I saw the article, I sent it up to him. If he had any interest, he would tell me to check into it. It's as simple as that.

                  I'm glad you have such a nice, pleasant personality. I'm sure it gets you far in life. And I'm sure you're such a happy person.
          • Your boss is part of the problem. Its bullshit statements like these that keep the big FUD vendors in business and legitimate startups from flourishing. The whole concept of "enterprise" is a bullshit web 2.0 falacy that keeps ONM out and HPOV in. What magic does HPOV do that ONM doesnt do? Lemme see... they all run on x86 hardware, use SNMP polling, databases, and some shit tk/web interface... i'm waiting to see something that is more impressive and robust than SCOTTY and have yet to find it.
        • I just sent this link to the boss and he came back with, "Yeah, but their website is currently down! What does that say about the company?"
          Uhhh, try the link later? Is your boss that dimwitted with such a short attention span? The Slashdot effect usually has about a 4-5 hour half-life to it so tell him to check the link tonight or tomorrow.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            The boss should be thinking: "My employee is an idiot trying to send me to a site that he knew in all probability would be down right now, but had he sent it to me tomorrow, or next week even, I would be none the wiser. Hmm, I wonder how many other short sited decisions he's made that effects my company?"
        • by cornjones (33009)
          Why would you choose now to show this to your manager?

          I bet they didn't just decide to check it out today and it happens to be down. When I checked, page was slashdotted. Who knows if they even host their own project or it is on sourceforge or similar.
          I hadn't heard of the this project but it could be very useful in my network. I will definitely check it out tomorrow when the servers cool down. Luckily, I can tell the difference between their website and their product. I will make my own decision on th
        • by mgiuca (1040724)
          OpenNMS has nothing to do with bandwidth. Looks like their website can't handle the stress, but the software itself is just designed to let you administer huge clusters of computers and get them back up and running quickly.

          guess it worked [opennms.org]
          • by Sortova (922179)
            Thanks for the defense. Our server usually has a load average of about 0.2 - 0.3 with peaks up to 1 or so (when the Mac mail.app clients hit the imap server). When the Slashdot article went up this is what I got from my hosting provider:

            At console, your server was very slow, and very hard to work with; I was unable to determine why SSH failed to respond to remote connections. Your server is under a lot of stress, the last load average I was able to get:

            load average: 162.58, 171.32, 149.41

            Heh.

            This server is
    • by Sortova (922179)
      FYI - the #opennms channel on irc.freenode.net is still up (grin)
    • Only now when it's too late do they realize the power of the Geekie side!
    • I got to their page. It was annoyingly slow, but not horrible. OK, so it's /.ed. I can live with that.

      BUT... they advertise an "enterprise grade" product. Too bad they don't have an "enterprise grade" web page.

      I cannot stand to go to a website's main page, and find nothing useful on it.

      At a bare minimum, there should be a paragraph or two telling me what the thing really is, with an obvious link for an overview, technical specs, etc. Instead, I'm left guessing. Maybe I can go to "documentation" and fi
  • by flynt (248848) on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:42PM (#18241136)
    It was a pleasant surprise to see an open source project, OpenNMS, win the Gold in their Network and IT Management Platforms category.

    Wow, thank you thank you. I can't believe I'm up here. To be even nominated in this category along with such greats as HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli was honor enough. I need to thank so many people. First the programmers, without you none of this could have happened. My project managers brozow, dhustace, and tarus, you've been so great. How can I forget sourceforge for hosting out project? Wow, we've worked so hard on this for so long, to finally be recognized is so wonderful. I can't forget my parents, thanks mom and dad. And Richard Stallman, without you, none of this open-source stuff would have taken off thanks. It's been so hard, but I think you really like me, you really do like me.
    • by powerlord (28156)
      You mean:

      Wow, thank you thank you. I can't believe I'm up here. To be even nominated in this category along with such greats as HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli was honor enough. I need to thank so many people. First the programmers, without you none of this could have happened. My project managers brozow, dhustace, and tarus, you've been so great. How can I forget sourceforge for hosting out project? ...

      .. Line noise starts to increase ...

      ... No, wait, this has to be said! Wow, we've worked so hard on this for
  • Other alternatives (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:45PM (#18241168)
    There is a number of alernative Open Source monitoring software available. Nagios [nagios.org], Cacti [cacti.net] and my favourite ZABBIX [zabbix.com]. ZABBIX is much less resource hungry comparing to Nagios and especially to OpenNMS.
    • by otacon (445694)
      Yeah, an in all honesty I don't really care for opennms, we use it currently at our enterprise (something of which I have no control of, I'm the 'Cisco' guy and apparently that is the 'server' guys realm) and at previous jobs I used both cacti and nagios and liked both of them more. But opennms isnt all that bad I guess, Ive used openview too and thats just awful.
      • by mjhuot (525749)
        Strange, I am on the network team and we use it for the network primarily. I have added server stuff just when I have had to.
    • Munin (Score:3, Informative)

      by kbahey (102895)
      You seem to have mentioned the low end of the spectrum (cacti).

      So, as long as we are there, let me mention my favorite : Munin [linpro.no].
    • by sleigher (961421)
      Another that I have been using and is great for *NIX AND windows is Zenoss. http://www.zenoss.com/ [zenoss.com]
    • I have evaluated those. OpenNMS works very well, but it is Java based, so it requires Tomcat, making it hard to install. Nagios works, but I didn't quite like like it - it was still somewhat incomplete back then. Zabbix is nice, small, quick, quite complete. The conclusion I came to, is that if you wish to track thousands or even tens of thousands of machines, then OpenNMS is the way to go. Zabbix is for small installations and Nagios is for something in between with a few hundred up to a thousand mach
  • I actually worked with several open-source network management solutions at my last job...which I used to verify if our in-house network management solution worked properly. FWIW, OpenNMS was easier to setup and configure than the other options, but in the end, I ended up using nTop for the majority of my NMS needs, considering the fact that our test setup only had FOUR nodes. The OpenNMS folks were all very helpful though...I kind of wished I sent them a postcard to add to their wall.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday March 05, 2007 @03:55PM (#18241278) Homepage Journal

    I used to work for Tivoli and I know a little something about their system. It's CORBA-based, talks to a variety of databases (at the time I worked there, it supported DB2, Oracle, MSSQL, Sybase, and Informix) and supports many different types of Unix, plus NT and (last I looked) OS/2.

    Tivoli's system does, well, everything. It can do software inventories (with a fairly intelligent scan) and distribute software packages to groups of hosts that have been flagged as lacking specific packages, for example.

    As far as I can tell from everything I've read, OpenNMS only does monitoring and notification. And that's it. End of story. So how again does this even qualify to win this category? Does it actually do a lot more than people say it does? I'd love to see the official webpage, but it's down (MediaWiki rox121!1!1!!!)

    • by qwijibo (101731)
      Didn't you get the memo? In any organization, no package is more useful than the most knowledgeable person maintaining it. Since training is skipped as an unnecessary cost in most companies, it shouldn't be surprising that most companies will never get more than the most basic functionality.
      • by RPI Geek (640282)
        That's exactly like what makes consultants like me (mostly Tivoli, some OpenView) happy. If IBM and HP made their products easy to use, I'd have to get a real job!
        • by qwijibo (101731)
          That's the beauty of the scam. No matter how idiot proof someone makes something, a manager driven entirely by perceived (as opposed to actual) bottom line cost will find a less capable idiot.

          I also appreciate the blissful ignorance these people choose to live in. I certainly don't want to have to get a real job either.
        • It's not so much as the product complexity, as to the environmental complexity. (I Love/Hate Tivoli FWIW, cause it _can_ do anything).

          As complex as networks are now (for example, I support EL3/4,Sol 2.5.1 -> 10, NT4,W2k,2003), any product you deploy will be difficult for folks to deal with. Obviously many a product will function fine if everything on your networks were identical. But where's the fun in that?

          Not to poo-poo OpenNMS, and I've never used it personally so I guess I really don't have a right t
    • I agree that OpenNMS is more of a data-collection / events application than a true Network Management System. But support for CORBA (Isn't CORBA dead already? :-), various databases, remote upgrades and core NMS features (Like your specific Configuration Management requirements, Accounting and specific protocol management) can be added to OpenNMS more easily (Since it is open source - although I hate the fact that they chose to use GPL for licensing). Having worked on proprietary tools for building NMS for
    • by morcego (260031)
      I never used Tivoli, but I had some experience with NetView/6000 (pre-Tivoli) and, to tell you the trust, I'm still looking for an F/OSS nms that can do what it can.

      I really miss NetView.
    • Disclaimer: I work for IBM Tivoli and these views are not my employers but my own.

      OpenNMS is a great development and more competition is only going to force everyone to improve. Having said that OpenNMS competes only with IBM Tivoli Netview which is pretty much the most entry level network management tool in the whole portfolio. For truly kickass network management you should check out Tivoli Netcool.

      There are tons of products under the Tivoli brand that range from backup, archival of filesytems, applicatio
  • The OpenNMS homepage appears to be slashdotted. I've submitted it to Coral but no idea if/when it will get picked up.
  • It's nice to see some recognition for an open solution, but the survey results were based on reader reviews and pollsters. I would assume the more assertive network administrators (those of us on a budget), have tried and are satisfied with many of the open souce alternatives to the proprietary and often expensive counterparts. I personally have use(d) OpenNMS, Nagios(netsaint), Zabbix, ZenOSS, etc... Compared to the cost of the competition it's pretty clear why an Open product comes out on top in reader
  • HP openview is a framework, so is tivoli. Those two have functions far beyond opennms and shouldn't be compared.
    Compare opennms functionallity with HP Openview NNM and IBM Tivoli Netview.
    Btw, Netview and HPOV NNM is almost same product when ibm bought an old license and forked.
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Monday March 05, 2007 @05:27PM (#18242490) Homepage
    Open Source Network Management Beats IBM and HP savagly. Caught after posting video on YouTube. Story at 11.
  • That's excellent news. If you want to learn more about OpenNMS and it's background, I highly recommend listening to FLOSS Weekly #15 [www.twit.tv].
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opennms/ [wikipedia.org] On August 11, 2005, OpenNMS won the Product Excellence Award in the category Best Systems Management Tools at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. The other 3 nominees were:
    * Userful DiscoverStation 4.0
    * IBM Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator
    * Novell ZENworks 7 Linux Management
    • by ShinmaWa (449201)
      So a open source package won against three commercial packages at a decidedly pro-open source conference. Amazing that.

      I bet that Microsoft products also fare very well at the PDC too.
  • At my current employer, I'm using Nagios (which is great as far as it goes, but needs a lot of configuration) and looking towards ZenOSS (which requires a lot less configuration because it can get everything natively through SNMP where available, but isn't anywhere near so flexible in terms of defining your own tests if SNMP isn't an option),

    Ideally I'd have a solution which offered the SNMP support and out of the box functionality of something like ZenOSS, while at the same time being dead easy to extend t
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by secolactico (519805)
      Have you tried http://www.groundworkopensource.com/ [groundworkopensource.com] ?

      It makes Nagios configuration/backups very easy. My only gripe it's that it only comes packaged in rpm (well, it is open source, so I guess you could roll your own) but it's a self contained rpm. Every dependency is there except for Mysql 5 and it can import your current nagios config files.

      It doesn't play nice with SELinux, tho.
      • Tread cautiously where Groundwork is concerned. There is an upsell [groundworkopensource.com] the moment your boss starts asking for advanced reports or dashboards. Also, since it embeds Nagios, the scale limitations inherent in Nagios' fork()-happy design will bite you down the road.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jgehlbach (1072156)

      OpenNMS has world-class SNMP support, and configuring it literally could not be simpler. Tell OpenNMS what IP address ranges to discover and what community strings (or SNMPv3 USM users and passphrases) to use. Once the nodes finish scanning, SNMP data collection automagically begins for MIB objects that the system knows about. After a couple of data collection cycles, you'll have beautiful graphs of all this data.

      When SNMP is not an option, there are still many options for both monitoring ("are all the

    • by morcego (260031)

      Ideally I'd have a solution which offered the SNMP support and out of the box functionality of something like ZenOSS, while at the same time being dead easy to extend to run scripts and check things which can't easily be checked with SNMP.


      What is stopping you from creating your own SNMP agents ? Unless you some some esoteric piece of hardware, it is fairly easy to create one.
      • by jimicus (737525)
        What is stopping you from creating your own SNMP agents ? Unless you some some esoteric piece of hardware, it is fairly easy to create one.

        A few things:

        1. I'm the IT manager in a company which develops embedded networked devices. We've got all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff.

        2. The same thing which stops me putting Net-SNMP onto a server on a non-firewalled connection. SNMPv1 offers very poor security, and ZenOSS doesn't support SNMPv3 security.

        3. I trust a network probe to confirm that a service is

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