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Nagios vs Zabbix: What are the differences?


Nagios and Zabbix are two popular open-source network monitoring tools that help organizations in ensuring the availability and performance of their IT infrastructure. However, there are several key differences between the two that are worth exploring.

  1. Architecture: Nagios follows a traditional client-server architecture, where monitoring agents are installed on the target hosts and report data to a central Nagios server. In contrast, Zabbix implements a distributed architecture with a centralized server and optional proxies, allowing for scalability and load distribution.

  2. Ease of Use: While Nagios has a steeper learning curve with its configuration file-based approach, Zabbix offers a more user-friendly interface and simplified configuration process. Zabbix also provides pre-configured templates for popular systems and applications, making it easier to get started.

  3. Autodiscovery: Zabbix has built-in support for autodiscovery, which means it can automatically discover and monitor new devices or services added to the network. Nagios, on the other hand, requires manual configuration for each monitored device.

  4. Templates and Triggers: Zabbix offers a flexible template system that allows users to define monitoring rules and thresholds. It also provides predefined triggers that simplify the process of setting up alerts. Nagios, although customizable, requires more manual configuration for setting up monitoring and alerting rules.

  5. Scalability: Zabbix is known for its scalability, supporting large-scale deployments with thousands of monitored devices. Nagios, while capable of monitoring a significant number of hosts, can face challenges when dealing with larger environments due to its client-server architecture.

  6. Visualization and Reporting: Zabbix provides built-in data visualization and reporting capabilities. It offers various types of graphs and reports for monitoring data analysis. Nagios, on the other hand, requires additional plugins or integrations to achieve similar visualization and reporting functionalities.

In summary, Zabbix differentiates itself from Nagios with its distributed architecture, easier user interface, autodiscovery capabilities, flexible templates and triggers, scalability for larger deployments, and built-in visualization and reporting features.

Advice on Nagios and Zabbix
Needs advice

My team is divided on using Centreon or Zabbix for enterprise monitoring and alert automation. Can someone let us know which one is better? There is one more tool called Datadog that we are using for cloud assets. Of course, Datadog presents us with huge bills. So we want to have a comparative study. Suggestions and advice are welcome. Thanks!

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Replies (4)
Geoffrey Timmerman
Systems Engineer at Simac · | 6 upvotes · 288.5K views

I work at Volvo Car Corporation as a consultant Project Manager. We have deployed Zabbix in all of our factories for factory monitoring because after thorough investigation we saw that Zabbix supports the wide variety of Operating Systems, hardware peripherals and devices a Car Manufacturer has.

No other tool had the same amount of support onboard for our production environment and we didn't want to end up using a different tool again for several areas. That is the major strong point about Zabbix and it's free of course. Another strong point is the documentation which is widely available; Zabbix Youtube channel with tutorial video's, Zabbix share which holds free templates, the Zabbix online documentation and the Zabbix forum also helped us out quite a bit. Deployment is quite easy since it uses templates, so almost all configuration can be done on server side.

To conclude, we are really pleased with the tool so far, it helped us detect several causes of issues that were a pain to solve in the past.

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Centreon is part of the Nagios ecosystem, meaning there is a huge number of resources you may find around in the community (plugins, skills, addons). Zabbix monitoring paradigms are totally different from Centreon. Centreon plugins have some kind of intelligence when they are launched, where Zabbix monitoring rules are configured centrally with the raw data collected. Testing both will help you understand :) Users used to say Centreon may be faster for setup and deployment. And in the end, both are full of monitoring features. Centreon has out of the box a full catalog of probes from cloud to the edge As soon as you have defined your monitoring policies and template, you can deploy it fast through command line API or REST API. Centreon plays well in the ITSM, Automation, AIOps spaces with many connectors for Prometheus, ServiceNow, GLPI, Ansible, Chef, Splunk, ... The polling server mode is one of the differentiators with Centreon. You set up remote server(s) and chose btw multiple information-exchange mechanisms. Powerful and resilient for remote, VPN, DMZ, satellite networks. Centreon is a good value for price to do a data collection (availability, performance, fault) on a wide range of technologies (physical, legacy, cloud). There are pro support and enterprise version with dashboards and reporting. IT Central Station gathers many user feedback you can rely on both Centreon & Zabbix  

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at Muutech Monitoring Solutions, S.L. · | 3 upvotes · 286.1K views

We highly recommend Zabbix. We have used it to build our own monitoring product (available on cloud -like datadog- or on premise with support) because of its flexibility and extendability. It can be easily integrated with the powerful dashboarding and data aggregation of Grafana, so it is perfect. All configuration is done via web and templates, so it scales well and can be distributed via proxies. I think there also more companies providing consultancy in Zabbix (like ours) than Centreon and community is much wider. Also Zabbix roadmap and focus (compatibility with Elasticsearch, Prometheus, TimescaleDB) is really really good.

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Hi Vivek, what's your stack? If huge monitoring bills are your concern and if you’re using a number of JVM languages, or mostly Scala / Akka, and would like “one tool to monitor them all”, Kamon might be the friendliest choice to go for.

Kamon APM’s major benefit is it comes with a built-in dashboard for the most important metrics to monitor, taking the pain of figuring out what to monitor and building your own dashboards for weeks out of the monitoring.

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Decisions about Nagios and Zabbix
Matthias Fleschütz
Teamlead IT at NanoTemper Technologies · | 2 upvotes · 128.6K views
  • free open source
  • modern interface and architecture
  • large community
  • extendable I knew Nagios for decades but it was really outdated (by its architecture) at some point. That's why Icinga started first as a fork, not with Icinga2 it is completely built from scratch but backward-compatible with Nagios plugins. Now it has reached a state with which I am confident.
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Pros of Nagios
Pros of Zabbix
  • 53
    It just works
  • 28
    The standard
  • 12
  • 8
    The Most flexible monitoring system
  • 1
    Huge stack of free checks/plugins to choose from
  • 21
  • 9
  • 5
    Service/node/network discovery
  • 5
  • 4
    Base metrics from the box
  • 3
  • 3
    SMS/Email/Messenger alerts
  • 2
    Grafana plugin available
  • 2
    Supports Graphs ans screens
  • 2
    Support proxies (for monitoring remote branches)
  • 1
    Perform website checking (response time, loading, ...)
  • 1
    API available for creating own apps
  • 1
    Templates free available (Zabbix Share)
  • 1
    Works with multiple databases
  • 1
    Advanced integrations
  • 1
    Supports multiple protocols/agents
  • 1
    Complete Logs Report
  • 1
    Open source
  • 1
    Supports large variety of Operating Systems
  • 1
    Supports JMX (Java, Tomcat, Jboss, ...)

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Cons of Nagios
Cons of Zabbix
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 5
      The UI is in PHP
    • 2
      Puppet module is sluggish

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    What is Nagios?

    Nagios is a host/service/network monitoring program written in C and released under the GNU General Public License.

    What is Zabbix?

    Zabbix is a mature and effortless enterprise-class open source monitoring solution for network monitoring and application monitoring of millions of metrics.

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