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April 15, 2024 |

Zabbix vs. Nagios: Which one to choose?

Monitoring IT systems plays a crucial role in maintaining the stability, security, and performance of an organization's IT infrastructure. As IT technologies become increasingly complex, there is a growing demand for advanced monitoring tools that enable rapid identification, diagnosis, and resolution of issues. Among the many available solutions, two tools often stand out for their popularity and functionality: Zabbix and Nagios. Let's examine the characteristics of both systems.


We encourage you also to explore our other articles on IT infrastructure and the Zabbix system:


Zabbix vs Nagios, servers, border


The beginnings of Nagios

Nagios software has its roots in a project called "NetSaint," created by Ethan Galstad in 1996. NetSaint was a monitoring system aimed at tracking the status of various IT infrastructure elements, such as servers, network devices, and applications. In 1999, Ethan Galstad released his work as an open-source project under the name "NetSaint."


In 2002, the project name was changed to "Nagios." Inspired by Ethan Galstad, developer Lars Windolf contributed to the development of Nagios as a new monitoring system. Since then, Nagios has gained popularity and has become one of the most recognizable monitoring tools in IT environments.


Zabbix - created as an alternative to Nagios


The history of Zabbix software dates back to the early 2000s when Alexei Vladishev, a programmer from Latvia, started working on a project for monitoring IT systems. This software was intended as an alternative to the existing monitoring tools like Nagios.


The first public version of Zabbix was released in 2001. Since then, the project has continuously evolved, gaining popularity in the IT world. One of the key features that contributed to Zabbix's success was its open nature and ability to be customized to the specific needs of its users.


Each successive version introduced numerous improvements, new features, and bug fixes, making the tool increasingly respected in the IT community. Zabbix has become one of the leading IT infrastructure monitoring tools, used by small, medium, and large organizations worldwide.


Zabbix vs Nagios, border


Zabbix and Nagios - similarities


Both tools, Zabbix and Nagios, share several key features essential for effective IT infrastructure monitoring.


The first of these features is the ability to monitor remote resources. Both Zabbix and Nagios enable monitoring of servers, network devices, applications, and services through various network protocols such as SNMP, ICMP, TCP, and HTTP. This gives users full control over the status of their resources, regardless of their location.


Another important feature is the ability to configure notifications and alerts. Both Zabbix and Nagios allow users to set up alerts and notifications that are sent when problems or failures are detected in the monitored resources. This enables users to respond quickly to potential issues and minimize the impact of any outages on their IT infrastructure.


The third feature that unites Zabbix and Nagios is the ability to customize and configure monitoring. Both platforms offer extensive configuration options, allowing users to define monitoring rules and create monitoring templates (e.g., via triggers and trigger actions in Zabbix). This enables users to tailor monitoring to the specific requirements of their organization, allowing them to manage their IT infrastructure effectively.


Another significant common feature of Zabbix and Nagios is support for diverse technologies. Both platforms are versatile and offer support for various technologies and platforms, enabling users to monitor diverse IT environments, including physical and virtual servers, operating systems, databases, web applications, network services, and more. This allows users to monitor their entire IT infrastructure using a single tool, making it easier to manage their IT environment effectively.


Lastly, both systems have active user communities and extensive documentation. Zabbix and Nagios both have large user communities that actively support the development and maintenance of these tools. Additionally, both platforms have comprehensive documentation that helps users learn how to use the tools and get help with any issues.


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Zabbix and Nagios - differences

Ironically, the same feature that Zabbix and Nagios share is also a significant difference between the two systems: licensing. Zabbix is open-source software, meaning it is completely free. Nagios, on the other hand, offers a free version, Nagios Core, but also has a paid, enhanced, and feature-rich version, Nagios XI. This is essentially a premium version that goes beyond the general-purpose Nagios Core software.


This factor affects the cost, installation, and features of the software. Zabbix is free and easier to install, although it's advisable to use partner assistance for deployment. In contrast, the free version of Nagios offers significantly fewer features than the paid one, which is quite complex and often requires technical support.


Another difference, perhaps somewhat subjective, is the user interface. The interface in Nagios Core may seem outdated compared to the modern and intuitive Zabbix interface. Zabbix provides a more attractive and user-friendly experience, making it easier to navigate and manage the monitoring environment.


One of the differences also lies in scalability. Nagios Core requires manual configuration to scale and extend the monitoring infrastructure. Zabbix, on the other hand, offers smooth scalability, allowing easy addition and management of new devices and systems.


Zabbix has a significantly larger number of built-in ready-to-use monitors for various enterprise technologies. The built-in monitoring templates are actively supported and developed by the Zabbix development team, with the possibility of community contributions. In contrast, many Nagios extensions are often maintained by individuals who may eventually stop supporting a particular plugin.


zabbix vs nagios, border, man working on a computer



Nagios is a solid tool for monitoring IT infrastructure, especially for those who value stability and a long history of delivering comprehensive monitoring functions. However, for those seeking a more modern approach, rich in features and easy-to-use interface, Zabbix may be a better choice.


With its flexibility, ease of customization, and proactive problem identification, Zabbix provides a comprehensive monitoring solution that meets the needs of even the most demanding IT environments. Moreover, Zabbix offers significantly more built-in monitors for enterprise technologies, which are actively supported and developed by its team and open community, whereas many Nagios extensions are often maintained by individuals who may eventually stop maintaining them.


Ultimately, the choice between Nagios and Zabbix depends on individual preferences and user needs, but it's worth considering the capabilities that Zabbix offers in the context of modern IT infrastructure monitoring requirements.


Want to learn more about Zabbix and Nagios software? Contact us

See also:

Zabbix monitoring intro cover

May 23, 2024 | Knowledge

Introduction to Zabbix monitoring

Zabbix logo

January 25, 2023 | Blog

Monitoring modern IT environments with Zabbix

people in the office

December 20, 2022 | Blog

Is Zabbix a solution for large companies? What functionalities does Zabbix offer?

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