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Re: monit comparison to zabbix munin monitorix

From: Marcus Mülbüsch
Subject: Re: monit comparison to zabbix munin monitorix
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 15:05:38 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20061207)

1. how does monit stack up against zabbix

Since we use both monit and Zabbix, I can give some more info:

Apart from the obvious:

1) Zabbix is server based, so once you install the client, all the configuration is done on the server, and all the data is collected on the server. For monit you have to check every machine yourself, or collect the logfiles somehow. Configuration can be helped much if you use the "include". Just make several config files for the different services and OSes (a restart works differently in gentoo than in SuSe), and adapt your monitrc for the machine in question.

2) monit works only on Linux; whereas there are Zabbix clients for Windows and even MacOS (though we have not yet used the latter).

Some more pointers:

3) Zabbix is much, much more powerful when it comes to collecting and presenting data.

4) Zabbix is easier to configure on who to alarm and what to log. Though it is possible to set different alarms to different persons in monit, I haven't done yet.

5) Zabbix is also harder to learn. Until you find your way around, you will have to resort to much trial and error. It takes a long time until you get all the data you want, and only the alerts you need.

6) monit seems more stable. I haven't yet had any problems with monit being down; that has happened several times with zabbix agents, and occasionally even the Zabbix server - it gets especially bad, when the SQL database dies and the Zabbix server dies with it and doesn't even alarm you - ouch.

7) The monit documentation is better and more complete. Did I already mention that you need a lot of Trial and Error in Zabbix?

8) The things you are watching can be differentiated a bit finer in monit. I do not only watch the filesize, but also the ownership of certain binaries - and know that something is very, very wrong when those change. I haven't done that yet in Zabbix (and won't, since monit already tells me), though it should be possible.

9) It could be possible that a Zabbix agent makes a machine more unstable. We had a (Windows) server, where the main application crashed several times in the last few months - but doesn't do so for the last few weeks, since the time we disabled the Zabbix agent. OTOH that is hardly enough statistical data to say so, especially since another server with the same main application runs fine with Zabbix. Time may tell.

3. any particual feature that makes monit superior?

10) Though it should be possible to make Zabbix make a service restart when it is down, I haven't come to that yet - OTOH that is easily done in monit.

11) Being less complex, there are no issues I wanted to do with monit that I could not resolve with the help of the documentation and the mailing list archive. That is not true with Zabbix, which needs certainly more time ("I will come to that, when I have the time" is a much heard statement) - though you also get more, of course.

OTOH there are some more points that make Zabbix "superior":

Getting Zabbix to also send instant messages (we use jabber here) was easy. Making it send SMS via a GSM modem looks like a easily conducted task ("when I have the time"). Watching free disk space on machine is easily configured - I have no idea how to do that in monit. Collecting data from different servers and presenting those is wonderfully easy. Want to sum up all the traffic on all the machines, so you can see a storm? Easy. I think we have to wait for m/monit before we can do that.

Why not use both? monit watches the Zabbix agents and restarts them when necessary, while Zabbix tells me whether monit is still working fine.

This gives you the best of both worlds. Works like a charm here.

I wish, there was a monit for Windows...


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