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Running Nagios to Monitor Your Servers And Apps? Here are Five Reasons Free Costs Too Much

Level 15

At SolarWinds, we have an expression about open source software… that is… it is free like a puppy, not free like a beer. When you stop and think about it, Nagios really has a lot in common with a puppy. While it costs you almost nothing at the outset, the ongoing relationship can be quite expensive. Nagios will chew up your time (instead of your furniture) and both the puppy and Nagios can cause some messy situations. Plus, both Nagios and the puppy cost a lot more than you expect.

Here are five ways Nagios costs you money:

1. Time. Nagios is known to be very time consuming, and time consuming for your expert technical staff. Newbies can’t deal with Nagios. It takes someone who really knows what they are doing. So that’s expensive time being devoted to the system, expert time that could be solving expert problems. On the other hand, SolarWinds customers typically spend 10% of one person's time maintaining their product. And SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor (SAM), your effective server monitoring tool, is super easy to use, so everyone in your department can be productive with the system—usually without ever cracking the manual.

2. Scalability. If you want to scale with Nagios, it can be done, but it’s not easy. Why get yourself into a situation where your monitoring system can’t grow as fast as your business?  That’s going to look like poor planning. Avoid.

3. Adding a a new app to Nagios is a pain. You’re going to have to find a script, or you’re going to have to write one yourself. Both routes will take time and a lot of effort. This is a real problem, because what you need to monitor is always going to change. Marketing is going to add a new app, Microsoft is going to launch a new version of Exchange, and so on. You can’t be sure that an open source product will keep up with the times. On the other hand, SAM, application monitor, comes with hundreds of application templates plus a simple wizard for creating your own application monitoring templates. If you still need more, the SolarWinds online community, thwack, offers a robust content exchange, with template import built right into SAM.

4. Nagios is DIY. When Nagios doesn’t keep up with your needs, you’re going to have to do it yourself. See point #3 above, you can’t rely on an open source solution to keep up with the times. SolarWinds SAM, on the other hand, has about two fully supported releases per year. Times are changing quickly. Be sure your monitoring solution can keep up.

5. You think the switching cost is too high, because you’ve put so much time and effort into getting your Nagios scripts just right. Guess what – you can have it all! You can run your Nagios scripts in SAM just as they are (no conversion required). All that work is totally transferable! You’ll have all the benefits of SAM, server performance monitoring tool and lose nothing from Nagio.

See a more detailed comparison between SolarWinds SAM and Nagios.

1 Comment
Level 9

Do you have a similar comparison to Nagios XI, their commercial version? My manager wants us to do a bake off against Nagios XI and any ammo would help.


About the Author
Christine joined the team in January ’09 and is currently a director of product marketing. She has experience in both very large and very small tech companies, and thinks that SolarWinds is just right.  She’s been in technology for about fifteen years doing project and product management. She loves Austin, but wishes CA would let us move Napa to Texas.