Why should I use Operations Manager instead of open source monitoring solutions like Nagios? (#SCOM, #SYSCTR)

A good friend of mine reached out to me recently to ask me a candid question. He works in the monitoring industry and has a lot of history using open source solutions such as Nagios. Here’s what he asked and my thoughts on the topic.

 

Question: “Why should I use SCOM to monitor my Linux systems instead of a free Linux monitoring tool that I can pretty much do anything and everything I need?”

Answer: It really depends on what you want to do with your monitoring. Both open source products like Nagios and non-open source products Operations Manager provide monitoring and each has different sets of capabilities. The primary driver to decide which is the best solution depends on what your business requirements are for monitoring.

 

The following are the key points I see as benefits to Operations Manager:

1) A single pane of glass to provide monitoring for Windows, Unix/Linux, hardware, applications and more. Operations Manager does support Unix/Linux systems using agents which were written in Open Source code (Pegasus).

2) Microsoft product knowledge is included in the management packs which are written by the teams that develop the products. IE: The SQL server management pack product knowledge should be drawn from the SQL team at Microsoft and the Microsoft support organization.

3) The application performance monitoring capabilities for Operations Manager provide in-depth knowledge of what is going on within .NET applications beyond anything else currently available in the market.

4) Operations Manager uses a strong and flexible health model to provide information about the health of items monitored by the system. This framework can be used for anything from a hard drive to a complex distributed line of business application.

5) Operations Manager is a components which is part of the System Center suite of products which provide a wide spectrum of functionality including monitoring and integrate with each other to provide a more comprehensive solution (monitoring, management, automation and more).

 

In some organizations, it may be a good option to integrate both solutions depending on the requirements for the organization. The following blog posts discuss integration options for these products: http://www.systemcentercentral.com/integrating-opsmgr-scom-and-nagios/ , http://www.mbaeker.de/tag/scom2nagios/, http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/cfuller/archive/2011/09/28/integrating-opsmgr-scom-and-nagios.aspx.

 

Additional reference links I across on my favorite search engine are below:

http://microsoft.public.opsmgr.general.narkive.com/i7ljsc7L/operations-manager-vs-nagios

http://www.myitforum.com/forums/Nagios-OP5-vs-Operation-Manager-m196767.aspx

http://blogs.gartner.com/jonah-kowall/2013/02/22/got-nagios-get-rid-of-it/

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Network_Management/Q_27498991.html

 

Jake – thank you for raising the question – I think it was an excellent question!

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