nagios core alternative uptime.com

Is Uptime.com the Right Nagios Core Alternative for You?

Uptime.com and the Nagios monitoring tool serve similar functionality from a surface view. Both alert users to downtime, both offer extensive notification options, and both maintain an API for a variety of flexible use cases.
However, these surface distinctions are the extent of the similarities between the two. Nagios Core and Uptime.com serve very different user types, and offer different benefits. You can think of Nagios as your internal safeguard, and there are some challenges to scaling.

We’ll first dive into Nagios Core functionality, and then discuss how it differs from what we offer at Uptime.com.

Network Performance Monitoring | A Pillar of Site Reliability Engineering

Monitoring your site infrastructure involves looking internally to make sure you can access your resources, and externally to make sure your customers can as well. A tool like Nagios has its place for internal monitoring purposes, and even external with proper configuration and investment.

Some of the bare essentials include HTTPS checks, SSL and DNS checks, and checks against blacklists and known malware sites. Advanced checks might monitor:

  • API access to confirm resource availability
  • Transactions and sales funnels to catch downtime under high traffic volume
  • Real User Monitoring that tracks user experience sitewide
  • Specific servers or ports critical to business success

If testing is a requirement of deployment, monitoring must be the foundation to track the results of your team’s efforts. These advanced functions often function only when certain conditions are met, which creates additional configuration. This is especially true across timezones and when login information is involved.

Ideally, monitoring pings multiple pieces of infrastructure to ensure around the clock availability. Alert data should include details that help pinpoint the problem, such as what went down, date, time and length of the outage, data returned or observed during the outage (such as status codes or certain strings), and other fail conditions you specify.

Other considerations include expandability and integrations. What are the costs to deploy and utilize the features you need? Can you bring alert data to you, or create a centralized system that integrates with your existing protocol?

Nagios Core | Network and Resource Monitoring

We’ll begin with some credit where it’s due. Nagios Core is free and a competent monitoring platform that runs on Linux/*nix systems. The lack of additional installation costs is part of the attractiveness to Nagios. The platform is also very well documented with a good deal of community support.

Nagios is an agile alert system, able to notify users of many variables related to performance. It provides IT administrators the status for a network and the services that belong to it, and it differentiates between alerts with accurate technical information. IT personnel can quickly figure out what went wrong and act.

An important caveat is that a Nagios system usually monitors from inside your system, meaning it won’t typically observe outages from your client’s perspective. If you wanted to monitor from across the globe, or even across the US, you would need a Nagios box functioning from each location.

The possibility of failure brings up an important question: what if one of those boxes fails?

Configuration is the lynch pin for a Nagios installation, and a strong indicator of whether the system will work for your business. Nagios is highly customizable, but each new element requires development input. At scale, the returns on that input diminish quickly. Ideally, Nagios installations help smaller and mid-sized businesses to maintain better control over internal infrastructure and receive crucial alerts.

Adopting Nagios Core Network Monitoring

To make Nagios work as a platform, your team will need to adopt a DIY mindset. There are community resources available, but troubleshooting your deployment and the alert system places the onus of support on your team. Nagios allows for integration, and its UI is quite flexible, but the benefits of Nagios start to get into the gray area here.
The code is open source, so you really can customize Nagios to your needs. There are also several useful forks of the platform that are pre-packaged with goodies your teams can deploy as needed. Some of those forks include:

  • Icinga
  • Naemon
  • Shinken

Any additional development comes at a cost.

Some user experience with Nagios indicates its best for smaller teams with fewer resources to manage. External monitoring may not be a priority for a small business focused more on ensuring the infrastructure to build the application is as stable as possible before a wider deployment.

Decision makers at scale need to ask themselves what’s more important: ownership or functionality?

Uptime.com | A Nagios Alternative that is Consistent and Feature Rich

There are two major benefits of using Uptime.com over Nagios. The first is the management of infrastructure.

Nagios is expandable, but each feature requires development effort and careful implementation. Uptime.com consistently adds new features and improves existing documentation based on real user feedback. We manage our own infrastructure, improve the functionality of our tools, and provide everything you need for reporting. You simply tell Uptime.com how to monitor, or what to check, and we handle everything else.

This includes the sophisticated alert system, which allows for maintenance and escalations for more problematic outages.

The second major benefit to using Uptime.com over Nagios is worldwide testing. Most Nagios deployments measure internal resources as a function of cost. It’s simply too expensive to maintain server infrastructure outside of your building for the singular purpose of monitoring your infrastructure.

Uptime.com uses probe servers all over the world dedicated to doing this job for you.

Uptime.com’s consistency extends to the look and feel of the tool as well. A Nagios system may be comprised of a patchwork of extensions and CGIs that work together. Uptime.com offers a stable user experience no matter what functionality you’re using. Reduce overhead learning new aspects of the tool, and it’s much easier for employees to teach one another.

Finally, Uptime.com handles some of the security concerns that might prompt businesses to adopt an internal monitoring service, such as SSO and privilege-based user accounts. It’s ideal to have centralized and privilege-based logins to quickly allocate access to reports, or the service itself, without configuring too many permissions. Uptime.com packages this functionality inside a simple-to-configure process.

Is Uptime.com the Right Network Monitoring Solution for You?

Choosing the right monitoring platform comes down to a few important questions:

  • Does the alert system provide accurate technical data of an outage in a timely manner?
  • Does the alert system provide location-based uptime monitoring, and is that a requirement of your business?
  • Does the alert system integrate with your existing protocol/infrastructure?
  • Can you deploy and utilize the functionality you need quickly?
  • Is the technology scalable under costs that are affordable to your business?

Uptime.com offers a cost-efficient solution to these challenges designed for businesses in growth phase. Our network monitoring provides consistency and reliability under a simple price structure, with technical support for an already feature-rich application.

Nagios Core has its place in network monitoring, even used side-by-side with a solution like Uptime.com.

Ultimately, the best solution for your business gives you first-response to downtime so your customers never find out about an outage before you do.

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Richard Bashara is Uptime.com's lead content marketer, working on technical documentation, blog management, content editing and writing. His focus is on building engagement and community among Uptime.com users. Richard brings almost a decade of experience in technology, blogging, and project management to help Uptime.com remain the industry leading monitoring solution for both SMBs and enterprise brands. He resides in California, enjoys collecting and restoring arcade machines, and photography.

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