You should try OpenNMS – Open Source based free Network Management System

Network Management is a complex task, especially when there are hundreds of devices to manage on the network. A commercial NMS solution may be quite expensive and may not support devices from multiple vendors effectively. For certain applications, open source based applications might be better than their commercial alternatives – and network management is one of them!  OpenNMS is a very popular, open source based application for Network Management and is available free of cost to download for all major operating systems – Linux, Windows, Mac OS X.

OpenNMS offers GUI (Graphical User Interface) based management/user interface and it has a built in web server to enable browser based access to the application over the Internet from any place, for authorized personnel. One can sit at home and still have a good visibility of what is going on in the company network. For example, if your web-server/ database server/ network switch is down – you can be intimated by email and sms immediately.

OpenNMS supports LDAP/RADIUS for user authentication. It can generate RSS feeds for events, alarms, outages and notifications. It uses PostGreSQL as the underlying database and in addition to SNMP, OpenNMS can collect data via https, JMX, WMI, etc.

OpenNMS supports creation of Network Maps for visually mapping the various network devices. There is also a real time console on the user dashboard that reflects the status of all categories of devices on the network. These categories can be created by the user by grouping similar devices/ devices based on location, etc or the software itself can create and update categories with the various network devices that it has discovered.

OpenNMS is an enterprise grade software application that can monitor thousands of network devices in a distributed/ tired system. Since the software does not have licensing costs, it can be deployed locally in multiple locations and can be monitored from a centralized data center.

The OpenNMS application itself monitors for events automatically for a large number of devices, every five minutes (The monitoring frequency can be changed, if required) (or) it can receive event inputs via SNMP traps. It can monitor for service availability, service outages, latency, crossing of pre-determined threshold values (like exceeding of 90% of disk capacity), etc.

It automatically compares collected performance data from various network devices and creates reportable events when these thresholds are exceeded. The output can be represented graphically, for easier interpretation.

When reportable events are received/ thresholds crossed, the OpenNMS can send notifications via email, XMPP, SMS, etc. These events can even be escalated after a fixed period of time – For example, first an email could be sent and if there is no acknowledgement, an SMS could be sent, etc.

Most importantly, OpenNMS is supported by an active community (since it is open source) and they would be more than glad to support you. The OpenNMS Group also offers commercial services, training, support, custom development and other activities that enhances the support structure of this product. For an enterprise company, good and professional support might be a crucial factor before deciding on an application – especially when it is open source based.

When compared with commercial NMS alternatives which are generally quite expensive, companies can save a lot with OpenNMS as there is no licensing fee for OpenNMS software and it can be downloaded free of cost.

Since it is an open source based product, its possible to extend its functionality using API’s or writing code to develop custom modules. This flexibility might be crucial for certain specific deployment scenarios. Besides, working with open source based applications can be very educative and helps to enhance the skills and knowledge of network administrators. This software is stable, and has been used and tested by a lot of customers. So, what are you waiting for? Download it and try it now!

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