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Observium Logo
Original author(s) Adam Armstrong
Developer(s) Adam Armstrong, Tom Laermans and Mike Stupalov
Initial release October, 2006
Stable release Continuous rolling release
Written in PHP
Operating system Unix-like
Type Network monitoring
License Observium License[1] and QPL
Website www.observium.org

Observium is a PHP/MySQL-based Network Observation and Monitoring System (NOMS) which collects data from devices using SNMP and presents it via a web interface. It makes heavy use of the RRDtool package. Observium has a number of simple core design goals driving its development: minimum interaction, maximum automation and maximum accessibility of information. These design goals have resulted in a slightly unconventional monitoring system with almost no individually customisable settings per device, and where almost everything that can be monitored is automatically discovered.

Observium doesn't seek to totally replace other Open Source projects such as Nagios or Cacti but rather to supplement them with greater understanding of certain devices and technologies. For this reason it's common to see Observium deployed alongside Nagios or Mon to provide alerting and Cacti to provide customised graphing of arbitrary metrics.

Observium integrates specific support for a number of vendor and platform specific features such as Dell OMSA on Linux platforms, Net-SNMP statistics as well as a number of Cisco-specific features such as Cisco Discovery Protocol, inventory tracking and VLAN tracking. The FreeBSD-based firewall, m0n0wall[1], was modified to allow Observium to identify and monitor it.

Observium uses the GeSHi, RANCID, and jpgraph software packages to extend its features, and can be integrated with Nagios to provide alerts and Collectd to provide more detailed graphs for UNIX-like hosts.[2]

Observium has specialised support for IPv6 address tracking, VRF and Pseudowire tracking, VLAN tracking via VTP-MIB and QBRIDGE-MIB, BGP session tracking via BGP4-MIB, CISCO-BGP4-MIB and BGP4-V2-MIB-JUNIPER and device inventory tracking via ENTITY-MIB.


Observium's layout was inspired by simple CDP-tracking and traffic graphing applications.

Observium has changed names a few times from Project Observer (2006–2008) to ObserverNMS (2008–2010) and finally to Observium.[3] The most recent change was due to a potential trademark conflict.

Observium was first distributed as a tarball release, but quickly switched to a Subversion-based rolling release model. In October 2013, instead of the previous system, Observium switched to a subscription model, where the automated update to the latest version via the Subversion update system was made available only to people paying a yearly fee. The latest freely available version at that point in time was released as the Observium Community Edition, which will be updated twice a year.

In October 2013, the Observium project moved to an open core model. A Subscription Edition is offered to paying subscribers under a commercial license, allowing access to the Subversion repository, and constant rolling updates for bug fixes and security updates. The Community Edition is released every 6 months in the form of tar archives, under the QPL license. Unlike the Subscription Edition, it does not include some advanced features such as the billing subsystem.[4]

In October 2013 following the refusal of the Observium development team to commit patches provided by a professional support company on behalf of their customer, the owner of the company forked the final GPL licensed release of Observium from March 2012 to create LibreNMS.

FLOSS Weekly[edit]

Observium was featured on Episode 180 of the TWiT show FLOSS Weekly. The show included an hour-long interview with the project's founder.

Kickstarter Campaign[edit]

Observium ran a Kickstarter campaign starting on April 25th 2013 to raise funds to develop alerting features for Observium. The campaign was fully funded within 30 minutes of announcement.

See also[edit]

  • Network monitoring
  • RRDtool The primary data-storage format used by Observium
  • SNMP The primary statistics-collection protocol used by Observium
  • Collectd Provides more detailed statistics on linux and unix hosts


  1. ^ http://www.observium.org/wiki/License
  2. ^ Dowling, Ben (November 4, 2009). "10 Free Server & Network Monitoring Tools that Kick Ass". Six Revisions. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  3. ^ Frommel, Oliver (July 19, 2010). "Monitoring: Aus ObserverNMS wird Observium". Linux Magazine Online. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  4. ^ Armstrong, Adam (October 4, 2013). "Edition Split". Retrieved January 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]