Open source management applications flourish

* Is open source management taking hold?

Open source management software makers Zenoss and GroundWork Open Source continue to enhance their respective products to the point that it's getting more and more difficult to distinguish the open source wares from commercial management products.

Recently, Zenoss announced Version 2.1 of its flagship Core software. The upgrade included features that dip into Web 2.0 technologies such as Maps integration and AJAX-based network map visualization. The software also provides native management of Java-based applications and personalized dashboards.

Industry watchers have pegged Zenoss as a more than adequate replacement for large management frameworks.

"Zenoss looks like a strong competitor for large frameworks," reads a Forrester Research report. "Combining open source and other sources, Zenoss Core is a complete solution that monitors all components, including applications, at the event, performance, and configuration level."

The software downloads to a single Linux server and collects data from multiple platforms without a proxy server being needed. For instance, the software uses existing agents, SNMP and Windows Management Instrumentation to collect data across cross-platform systems. The company provides its open source software for free under the Mozilla public license and offers commercial support packages. Zenoss also sells an enterprise edition of its product.

Separately, GroundWork Open Source is set to announce updates to its GroundWork Monitor Open Source platform that include support for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions based on the Debian installation system. The news is significant in that GroundWork provides its users with best practices for managing various network devices and systems, which can speed product deployment and make for more efficient management, industry watchers note.

"Configuring network monitoring can be a fiddly business, and many overworked administrators struggle to cope with ever-growing networks," writes Forrester Research senior analyst Michael Goulde in a recent report. "GroundWork sells default profiles for monitoring different appliances that specify the collection of the most important events for particular functions. This saves administrators time and makes the noncommercial base products more usable."

Zenoss and GroundWork compete with commercial software makers as well as fellow open source provider Hyperic, which recently announced in the quarter ended Sept. 30, it had increased its total number of enterprise customers by 39% over the previous quarter.

Seems like open source management is considered a viable option for enterprise IT managers. What do you think? Is open source management taking hold? Let me know.

Editor's note: Starting the week of Nov. 12, you will notice a number of enhancements to Network World newsletters that will provide you with more resources and more news links relevant to the newsletter's subject. The Network/Systems Management newsletter written by Network World Senior Editor Denise Dubie will be merged with the Network/Systems News Alert and will be named the Network/Systems Alert. You'll get Denise's analysis of the network/systems management market, which you will be able to read in full at, plus links to the day's network/systems management news and other relevant resources. This Alert will be mailed on Mondays and Wednesdays. We hope you will enjoy the enhancements and we thank you for reading Network World newsletters.

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