Zenoss Grows with Open-Source IT Management

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Zenoss is preparing the second major release of its Core open-source IT management package, which has been enhanced with a full configuration management database in its system monitoring component.

Open-source IT monitoring and management provider Zenoss on June 11 will seek to build momentum behind its alternative to the big four enterprise management offerings when it introduces the second major release of its Zenoss Core tool.

Zenoss, which has seen 170,000 downloads of its free Zenoss Core offering since January and claims to have the most popular IT management project on SourceForge, now has a full Configuration Management Database in its core monitoring tool, according to CEO Bill Karpovich, in Annapolis, Md.

"We added the ability to mix together data that's automatically discovered and populated with data imported from external sources through Web services APIs as well as manually entered data," Karpovich said. "Then there is also the ability to establish policies. If, for example, a configuration item was discovered one time and not the next, we can now specify policies that certain configuration items are required to be associated with other configuration items," he said.

Users at Medifast applauded the beefed-up CMDB, according to John Hamilton, CIO at the Owings Mills, Md., company. "They really seemed to have built into Version 2.0 what it means to be a central database like that. It does collect all my inventory data for servers, switches, Web servers and so on," he said.

Zenoss Core, which provides inventory management of IT assets, performance and availability monitoring, and centralized event and alarm management, also features greater ease of use and administration in Version 2.0, the company said.

Click here to read more about Zenoss and its open-source IT management strategy.

The open-source tool moves beyond the more cumbersome, first-generation "death by configuration file" interaction by providing a full Web-browser-based user interface, making it easier for more Windows-oriented administrators to use, Karpovich said. The UI is based on AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML).

For customers scaling up their implementations to manage a larger number of devices, Zenoss has made the tool more scalable by adding new distributed data collectors. The aim is to scale to manage thousands of devices across LAN and WAN connections by distributing SNMP and Windows Management Interface event collection in strategic locations in an enterprise network. That reduces the amount of bandwidth taken up by transmitting management data and enabling that data to be sent via secured connections.

Zenoss also added a native WMI collector that runs on Linux, which helps to simplify the management environment, Karpovich said. That WMI feature will allow Zenoss to add in its Zenoss Enterprise Edition a turnkey Linux-based management appliance.

It also ensures that any attack on Windows by viruses or other malware won't affect Zenoss' ability to continue to monitor Windows-based infrastructure, Hamilton said. "It's not the best idea in the world to have a Windows monitoring system monitoring a Windows shop. A Linux-based system wouldn't be affected in the same way by a virus or [other attack]," he said. "Now we won't even need a Windows component to do WMI management."

The new Zenoss appliance, due later in June in the next release of Zenoss Enterprise, will add the ability to perform synthetic testing for Web applications. "We will have an end-user synthetic transaction engine with a WYSIWYG tool for creating scripts for testing against Web applications," Karpovich said.

Hamilton said he was also pleased that the package would allow him to test out how users experience Medifast's eCommerce system. "There are so many back-end pieces to a Web transaction. I am still blind to the whole process. I am looking forward to that," he said.

Finally, Zenoss in both its free Zenoss Core and commercial Zenoss Enterprise versions will add new ZenPacks, which will provide a framework for encapsulating a set of rules for monitoring, collecting performance metrics, setting default thresholds or default mapping of events to prioritization. "We'll have a library of free ZenPacks that customers can use and add to. We're making it easy to build rules that can be shared with others," Karpovich said.

Zenoss Core 2.0 is due to be released on June 11. Zenoss Enterprise Edition 2.0 is due late in June.

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This article was originally published on 2007-06-08
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