Zenoss

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Zenoss
Screenshot
Zenoss running under Linux
Developer(s) Zenoss Inc.
Written in Python 90%, Java 10%
Type Network management system
License GNU General Public License v2
Website http://zenoss.org/

Zenoss (Zenoss Core) is a free and open-source application, server, and network management platform based on the Zope application server. Released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2, Zenoss Core provides a web interface that allows system administrators to monitor availability, inventory/configuration, performance, and events.


Project milestones[edit]

Zenoss maintains an active developer community. Notable project milestones include:

  • 2002: Erik Dahl began development on Zenoss.
  • August 2005: Erik Dahl and Bill Karpovich form Zenoss Inc.
  • March 2006: Zenoss made available on SourceForge.net.
  • November 2006: Zenoss Core Version 1.0 released.
  • June 2007: Zenoss Core 2.0 released.
  • July 2007: Zenoss Enterprise 2.0 released.
  • October 2007: Zenoss Core 2.1 released.
  • November 2007: Zenoss Enterprise 2.1 released.
  • May 2008: Zenoss Core 2.2 released.
  • November 2008: Zenoss Core 2.3 released.
  • May 2009: Zenoss Core 2.4 released.
  • October 2009: Zenoss Core 2.5 released.
  • July 2010: Zenoss Core 3.0 released. Comes with fully redesigned web-UI.
  • February 2011: Zenoss Core 3.1 released.
  • June 2011: Zenoss Service Dynamics announced.
  • 2011: Zenoss Enterprise 4.0 released.
  • September 2011: Zenoss Core 3.2 released.
  • January 2012: Zenoss Core 4.0 alpha code released.
  • August 2012: Zenoss core is 4.2.0 released.

Technology overview[edit]

Zenoss Core combines original programming and several open source projects to integrate data storage and data collection processes with a web-based user interface.

Zenoss Core is built upon the following open source technologies:

  • Zope Application server: An object-oriented web server written in Python.
  • Python: Extensible programming language.
  • Net-SNMP: Monitoring protocol that collects systems status information.
  • RRDtool: Graph and log time series data.
  • MySQL: A popular open source database.
  • Twisted: An event-driven networking engine written in Python.
  • Lucene: A full text search library written in Java.

Zenoss Core provides the following capabilities:

  • Monitoring availability of network devices using SNMP, SSH, WMI
  • Monitoring of network services (HTTP, POP3, NNTP, SNMP, FTP)
  • Monitoring of host resources (processor, disk usage) on most network operating systems.
  • Time-series performance monitoring of devices
  • Extended Microsoft Windows monitoring via Windows Management Instrumentation using SAMBA and Zenoss open source extensions
  • Event management tools to annotate system alerts
  • Automatically discovers network resources and changes in network configuration
  • Alerting system provides notifications based on rule sets and on-call calendars
  • Supports Nagios plug-in format

Platform[edit]

Zenoss Inc. lists the following operating systems for Zenoss Core on their download page:[citation needed][1]

Zenoss versions < 4.0 support

Other Linux versions will work with the stack installers as well as source for any other Unix systems. The stack (bitrock) installer is no longer used in versions >= 4.0. RPM is the only official packaging in for Zenoss >= 4.0.


A web-based portal provides operating system diagnostic access to configuration and administration functions. Both Firefox and Internet Explorer are supported.

ZenPacks[edit]

ZenPacks provide a plug-in architecture that allows community members to extend Zenoss's functionality. The authors are free to choose how they license their individual ZenPacks. ZenPacks are encapsulated in Python eggs and provide instrumentation and reports for monitored infrastructure components.

Enterprise[edit]

The enterprise version builds on the core version by providing commercial support and additional features, such as synthetic web transactions and global dashboards. "In the enterprise edition," writes Sean Michael Kerner, "Zenoss is adding something it calls end-user experience monitoring which is intended to more accurately simulate end-user application activity." Kerner continues, "Enterprise users also get certified application monitors specifically geared for Microsoft SQL and Exchange."

Related products[edit]

Zenoss competes with other open source and proprietary enterprise systems management products. Open source systems management products are available from GroundWork Inc., Hyperic and Opsview. In an interview with Jack Loftus of SearchEnterpriseLinux.com, Bill Karpovich explains what makes Zenoss different:

"Companies like GroundWork are similar to the Red Hat approach, where a company gathers up the pieces and puts support behind it. Our approach is we have always had the code and we are in control of its roadmap and indemnification. The Hyperic model is where a company comes from a commercial background and makes some of the code open source."[2]

Closed-source vendors include BMC, HP OpenView, Orion, AdRem NetCrunch and CA.

Industry reviews[edit]

In a Network Computing review, Jeff Ballard singles out the Zenoss Core 2.0 user interface and event management system as highlights. Of the event management system, Ballard says, "By aggregating all events through a single rules-processing engine, Zenoss Core eliminates duplication, making for a manageable user interface."

In his review, Ballard finds the installation troubling. "Unfortunately, getting started was challenging as Zenoss provided no context-sensitive help to guide us through a truly staggering number of configuration options."

In the "Clear Choice Tests" Network World reviewer Barry Nance offers the following praise for Zenoss Core 2, "Even more impressive than its discovery of our network is its remediation features, which can automatically execute start or stop operations for a Windows service, for example." Nance's review finds that "Zenoss Core doesn’t support as many diverse devices as HP OpenView or Argent Extended Technologies, nor does it monitor Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server as closely as a commercial tool does."

SYS-CON Media awards Zenoss Core the 2007 Enterprise Open Source Reader's choice award for best Linux systems management software. Reader choice awards are nominated and voted on by the community of Enterprise Open Source Magazine readers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Books[edit]

Title Author Publisher Date Length ISBN
Zenoss Core 3.x Network and System Monitoring Michael Badger Packt May 2011 312 (first edition) ISBN 978-1-84951-158-2
A step-by-step guide to configuring, using, and adapting Zenoss Core 3. 
Zenoss Core: Network and System Monitoring Michael Badger Packt June 2008 261 pp (first edition) ISBN 978-1-84719-428-2
A step-by-step guide to configuring, using, and adapting this free Open Source network monitoring system. 

External links[edit]