Gartner Blog Network

Low Cost and Free Monitoring

by Jonah Kowall  |  October 3, 2012  |  12 Comments

With some of the research I completed towards the end of last year, I take a pretty consistent set of requests on the evaluation and use of open source monitoring. If you are following some of the fun conversations on “monitoring sucks” you will notice that not only do most traditional monitoring systems fail to deliver any high value in general, but they often fail and do poorly. The reaction that many have had is trying to implement open source to reduce the cost, since it pretty much “sucks” anyway… logic makes sense, but the issue is that Nagios and other related open source tools are often much worse than commercial solutions. Another approach to getting ahead of this problem is looking at monitoring which comes with the purchased technology stack (Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, SAP, and others). An alternate way is to investigate the many lower cost and free monitoring tools on the market. These companies often sell significantly less expensive tools which have 80% of the functionality for much lower costs. They often have freeware versions or limited versions. I have put together some discussion on this point along with some insight into many of the solutions on the market.

Solutions covered in this research covers traditionally deployed solutions including : Ipswitch, ManageEngine, Solarwinds, Correlsense, Groundwork, Jinspired, Net Optics, OP5, Paessler, Spiceworks, Splunk, VMTurbo, VMware, Zabbix, and VMTurbo

We also cover those free and low cost tools deployed via monitoring as a service (SaaS) including AppFirst, Boundary, Datadog, GFI Monitis, New Relic, ScaleXtreme.

Leverage Free and Low-Cost Server, Network and Storage Monitoring

Category: apm  devops  it-operations  logfile  monitoring  saas  

Jonah Kowall
Research Vice President
3.5 years with Gartner
20 years IT industry

Jonah Kowall is a research Vice President in Gartner's IT Operations Research group. He focuses on application performance monitoring (APM), Unified Monitoring, Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics (NPMD), Infrastructure Performance Monitoring (IPM), IT Operations Analytics (ITOA), and general application and infrastructure availability and performance monitoring technologies. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Low Cost and Free Monitoring

  1. Also you can consider Monitoring as a Service monitoring solutions like: NewRelic

  2. Jonah Kowall says:

    They are included. I am revising the post now.

  3. Mike Hill says:

    Interesting that you talk about the open source version of Nagios in your article then not include their commercial version on your research? Seems like incomplete research to me. Nagios XI is by far better than all of the products you listed.

  4. Jonah Kowall says:

    Gartner clients don’t typically short list Nagios XI due to the fact that it’s missing key features within the dashboards, scalability, and a lack of topology relationships without manually configuring them. This is the reason that clients move towards OP5, Opsview, Groundwork, Centreon, and a couple others versus XI. What features makes you believe that XI is a better product than others?

    The management team at Nagios doesn’t really speak with analysts or really do any effective marketing, It’s of no cost for a vendor to brief analysts, and all of them should do so. Normally I request briefings when clients ask about products, but I haven’t had a client ask about XI yet!

  5. Sam Bould says:

    I believe in this article and other articles you attack nagios like without compassion but for technical audience you give NO reason to put that tool 3 steps below to any other. You can be in trouble killing companies reputation without reason as a matter of fact I don’t understand how Gartner dont control this type of “reputational-killing” opinions must be backed up by factual reason.
    Anyway, I found your opinions quite interesting although I found you mistaken once in a while.

  6. Jonah Kowall says:

    Nagios is not a company, its an open source tool. In fact the vendor mentioned above… OP5 contributed over 90% of the Nagios 4.0 codebase, which you get for free!

    Factually, I’ve spoken to hundreds of Nagios users who have good and bad things to say about it. I think the tool is great if you have the right talent level and have done configuration management and standardization (Chef, Puppet, etc). This is normally not possible in today’s mixed IT environments, but startups and web companies can do it and should do it.

  7. Please add OpMon ( to your list of choices 😉

  8. Jonah Kowall says:

    Setup a briefing. Please review and fill out the form on the following page :

    · Send a powerpoint deck and a link to the web conferencing of choice
    · Use webex, citrix, or (free)
    · Use the Gartner bridge for audio

    General : Background on the company, employees, locations, revenue, customers, average sale price, and a simple value prop.
    Articulate value!
    The slides and discussion does not need to be only technical, but a demo and technology is important.

  9. Thanks, I’ll do it !

  10. Please add NetCrunch ( to your list of choices. Thank you.

  11. Ethan says:

    I have started using for monitoring my web servers. They are providing cloud host, local host and hardware host monitoring solutions all at one platform. I signed up for free and got 50 tests absolutely free.

  12. An enjoyable read– wasted resources on short-sighted pursuits of perfection– a lesson to apply in many contexts! After reading your post, and a chuckle over your description of a data science competition “forerunner of the modern cage match-scape in which teams of competitive modelers throw away hours of their lives like demented ultramarathoners,” I explored Kaggle’s site for the first time. I must admit, I do like the idea of crowdsourced solutions à la Kickstarter. One of Kaggle’s current competitions is to create an alogrithm for NOAA fisheries to identify endangered right whales in aerial photographs. And I understand some Kagglers earn a very decent wage from their prizewinnings…Value to be had in such competitions? Thanks for this post, Marty- you have a new blog follower in me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.