[CentOS] One for the Cisco experts...

Craig White craigwhite at azapple.com
Thu Apr 23 16:40:04 UTC 2009

On Wed, 2009-04-22 at 17:50 -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:

> I am interested in a comparison with Zenoss - but wait until you know 
> your way around opennms.  Just ask on the opennms list if it doesn't do 
> something you expect.
admittedly, this analysis is less than 24 hours after installation

Zenoss and OpenNMS seem to be scratching similar but different itches.

OpenNMS seems to be most useful to large businesses with many remote
sites and configuration management (i.e. puppet) of things like managed
switches and sophisticated assignment to users/groups for alarms, etc.
At this stage, I am only employing snmp for data collection and not for
'write' purposes.

Zenoss seems much more adept at gathering specific information on each
device (at least out of the box adept), and it makes it easy for me for
an example, to see who has which version of Microsoft Office installed
on their computers. It does have alarm/event assignment and multiple
method of notification assignment options, probably not quite as
comprehensive as OpenNMS but still more than adequate for my uses. One
thing that I have come to appreciate about Zenoss is that in addition to
having SNMP and WMI data collectors, it also supports SSH collection
which as I said, the Macintosh systems (workstations, i.e. iMacs,
PowerMac G5, PowerMac Pro) don't seem to provide much useful info via

My usage is typically a small business (< 50 users/computers) and I am
pretty certain that Zenoss is more useful to me but I am still playing
with OpenNMS anyway just to satisfy my curiosity and it has been
educational for sure.

It would be hard for me to compare the process of setting both of them
up because I already had Sun JDK working, snmp working on all possible
devices and my understanding was relatively poor the first time I
installed Zenoss. Subsequent installation has been relatively easy and
OpenNMS was very easy too but by then, I had pretty a pretty good
knowledge of things. Zenoss has a 'stack-installer' which will bundle
mysql, python and zenoss, not really necessary on CentOS-5 which you can
use CentOS supplied python and mysql-server. Their 'stack-installer'
runs mysql-server on port 3307. I installed it by accident on one
network and it's running fine so I left it alone. Zenoss has cool
feature of automatically upgrading database when you upgrade versions
unless you (speaking from experience) jump major versions (i.e. 2.0 =>
2.2). You must upgrade to 2.1, start it up, allow it to convert the
database, shut it down, upgrade it to 2.2 and repeat. Zenoss is now on
version 2.3 which is substantially faster than earlier versions (I don't
know why but I like).

I prefer the selection/assignment methods of 'discovered' nodes (zenoss
calls them devices, opennms calls them nodes) in Zenoss but that is sort
of quibbling and not entirely important. Zenoss also has more 'built-in'
categorizations (Location, Group, Network and even the 'Device' category
seems to have unlimited subgroup options which I find entirely useful).
It is a lot simpler to look at a Device list in Zenoss, select the
Devices you want and assign them to a category than the
selection/assignment method in OpenNMS=>Admin.



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