Nagios Spreads FUD About OpenNMS

It was brought to my attention that Nagios Enterprises has decided to go after OpenNMS by publishing a document called “How Nagios Compares to OpenNMS“. I am always flattered when companies feel the need to compare themselves to our project, especially when Nagios is considerably better known than OpenNMS, at least according to a quick look at Google hits (5.3 million to 453 thousand just now). I assume they feel that positioning themselves against our product is useful.

And I guess it could be, if they weren’t so wrong.

I would not pretend to make such a list from the OpenNMS viewpoint, since I don’t know all that much about Nagios, and what I do know comes from replacing it at a number of our customers’ sites. But let me correct some misunderstandings presented by this document.

Almost every missing check mark on the OpenNMS side is wrong. OpenNMS can’t monitor “Web Transactions”? What about the Page Sequence Monitor, used to insure the performance of such websites as It doesn’t have “Google Maps Integration”? Well, not just Google Maps, but Mapquest and Open Street Map as well. It can’t do Active Directory Authentication? Please, I set it up all the time.

I really chuckled when I saw that the product can’t do Data Export, Advanced or Scheduled reporting, since I just spent a week doing just that at a large bank based in Chicago (one that caters to institutions and wealthy individuals).

With the JasperReports integration, OpenNMS can generate amazing reports, and since we’ve extended it to be able to mine JRobin/RRDtool data directly, we were able to get OpenNMS to report on a huge Virtual Machine server farm at the bank on things such as CPU utilization, process memory utilization and load average in a format that could be exported to Excel without the need to even glance at a graph. It was fully automated, including the report generation, distribution and even provisioning the devices to be included in it.

The kicker is that OpenNMS can run any Nagios checkscript, even using NRPE (although I strongly recommend using the Net-SNMP extend function versus that protocol for reliability), so I fail to understand where OpenNMS fails in the “Custom Plugins” department.

They even get our pricing wrong, even though we publish it online. The package they refer to as “1 year of standard support and one 1 week of consulting” maps to our Greenlight Project, which is $23,000 not $30,000 (that is for the Greenlight Plus Project, which includes two weeks of on-site services).

But if you are choosing to use Nagios XI based on price, I think you should go with with it. OpenNMS is designed to be a network management application platform, and as such has a much wider scope than Nagios, which, let’s face it, is at its heart a script management interface. I’m not sure how one provisions devices in Nagios, but since that was left off of their chart I must assume it isn’t a key feature, whereas it plays a huge role when you are trying to manage a network of any size, such as the one at Towerstream. Considering the scale at which OpenNMS is useful, our prices are a bargain when truly compared to competitors’ products.

Two years ago at the Netways Monitoring Conference I saw a presentation from Audi where they implemented Nagios. It took them over a year. We have done the same at similar sites in less than three weeks. If you have more than one thousand devices, you are going to be very unhappy with the performance of Nagios, whereas OpenNMS has a track record of monitoring tens of thousands of devices on a single server for numerous companies over several years.

And finally, every bit of OpenNMS code is published under an open source license. Nagios XI is not.

On Thursday, The OpenNMS Group turns seven. We don’t have a million customers, but considering how awesome our customers are, I know that I couldn’t find a million of their caliber.

And never once have we resorted to this kind of FUD to promote our products.

2 thoughts on “Nagios Spreads FUD About OpenNMS

  1. I saw the “comparison”. I too wasn’t too impressed. Part of it is that the competitive Analysis between 2 or more products is significantly more difficult than some marketing person doing a spreadsheet of features. Features they try to glean off of a web site.

    Competitive Analysis in a public forum is dangerous. You have to be very thorough, fair, and balanced to get credibility. If you are just spewing stuff, your credibility as a Marketing person and as a Company goes into the Negative real quick. You stick your neck and reputation out.

    Competitive Analysis is best done for the edification of market positioning. You look at what you consider competition and you look at the gaps that you fill and they don’t and the gaps they fill and you don’t. Then, Product Management looks at these gaps, initiates dialogs with Prospects, customers, and evaluators to see what gap features you are missing and what relevance and importance these features would be to the audience.

    Doing a competitive analysis on a product like OpenNMS also has its challenges. Looking at the releases they put out, its obvious that they are operating in a agile environment. And they are doing so with a variable number of developers. You cannot go into LinkedIn and attempt to understand the developer environment and talent like you can other, closed source companies. Be prepared to see new features in non-deterministic spurts or sprints.

    Part of the problem is that the space is getting a bit crowded. A lot of new products. A lot of new capabilities. And customers are driven to do more with less. So, the big, expensive products and getting a hard look. And in this hard look, a significant number of prospects are moving to evaluate new products.

    Competitive Analysis should be used to gauge your product and your product’s market position to be take advantage of market share. If your product is meeting or exceeding the minimum viable product needs of the customer, it then becomes and issue of price and of confidence.

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