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Observium logo.jpg
Original author(s) Adam Armstrong
Developer(s) Adam Armstrong, Tom Laermans and Mike Stupalov[1]
Initial release October 2006
Stable release Continuous rolling release (Professional edition),
0.15.6 (Community edition, June 6, 2015; 14 months ago (2015-06-06))
Development status Active
Written in PHP
Operating system Unix-like
Type Network monitoring
License Observium Professional License and Observium License[2] (QPL derivative)
Website http://www.observium.org/

Observium is a Network Observation and Monitoring System (NOMS) which collects data from devices using SNMP and presents it via a web interface. It is based on the PHP programming language and the MySQL database, and 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 is available in two separate editions: a paid subscription version (Observium Professional) with rolling releases, and a Community Edition, which is released every 6 months. An Observium Professional subscription provides read-only access to the Subversion repository, whereas the Community Edition is available by downloadable tarball. Observium Professional can be augmented with paid support services, and is available free of charge to registered charities and Open Source projects.[3]


Observium aims to supplement other network monitoring projects such as Nagios or Cacti 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 was modified to allow Observium to identify and monitor it.[4] Specialised support exists 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.

The GeSHi, RANCID, and jpgraph software packages are used to extend Observium's features, and can be integrated with Nagios to provide alerts and Collectd to provide more detailed graphs for UNIX-like hosts.[5]

The Professional Edition additionally has support for threshold & state alerting, as well as traffic accounting.[3]


Observium originated from code written by Adam Armstrong to map the topology of a network from CDP data, when he started in a new job with an unfamiliar network environment. It was inspired by software written by a colleague in a previous job, which allowed click-through navigation from device to device through a network topology.[6] Observium has changed names a few times from Project Observer (2006–2008) to ObserverNMS (2008–2010) and finally to Observium.[7]

Observium is actively maintained and developed by a team of developers: a monthly list of changes can be found on the Observium website.[8]

Observium was featured on Episode 180 of the TWiT show FLOSS Weekly. The show included an hour-long interview with the project's founder.[6]

Observium ran a Kickstarter campaign starting on April 25, 2013 to raise funds to develop alerting features for Observium.[3] The campaign was fully funded by Dutch ISP Atrato and went on to double its initial goal.[9][10]

Observium was originally licensed under the GPL version 2 license. In April 2012 Observium switched to a variant of the OSI-approved QPL license. In October 2013 Observium released an additional commercial tier product licensed under a commercial license,[2] with the Open Source Community Edition continuing to be released under the existing QPL-based license.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Observium Limited. "The Team". observium.org. 
  2. ^ a b Observium Limited. "Licenses - Observium Documentation". observium.org. 
  3. ^ a b c "Observium main page". 
  4. ^ "m0n0wall - Tools & resources". m0n0.ch. 
  5. ^ Dowling, Ben (November 4, 2009). "10 Free Server & Network Monitoring Tools that Kick Ass". Six Revisions. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "FLOSS Weekly 180". TWiT.tv. 
  7. ^ Frommel, Oliver (July 19, 2010). "Monitoring: Aus ObserverNMS wird Observium". Linux Magazine Online. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  8. ^ Observium Limited. "Changelog - Observium Documentation". observium.org. 
  9. ^ "Observium Alerting". Kickstarter. 
  10. ^ "Acknowledgements - Observium". observium.org. 

External links[edit]