This blog is for people using or evaluating Groundwork Monitor Enterprise and who are looking for a better alternative and for all those that want to understand why Opsview is the best choice.

1. Opsview is much more innovative. Opsview is much more than a better user interface for Nagios, it provides genuinely innovative features not available in Groundwork Monitor Enterprise and similar tools. Some of these key features are described below:-

Keywords give you a flexible way of grouping hosts and services. Common uses include:

  • Representing the status of critical IT systems
  • Providing ‘traffic light’ status views to business users and customers
  • Representing network circuits
  • Reporting on system availability and comparing against SLA metrics
  • Setting up fine grained access control and alerting rules

The Opsview Data Warehouse provides access to historical performance and event data. You have access to performance data in both summarised and full resolution formats. Every change of host or service state is recorded for availability reporting. You can decide how long you wish to keep each type of data and the system will take care of managing it.

Essentially IT monitoring is about processing data and generating alerts, so it is pretty essential that alerting is done right.

Notification Profiles in Opsview are simple to use but allow complex business rules to be constructed that define who is alerted, how they are alerted and under what circumstances. Notification Profiles combined with Opsview’s Service Desk Module can be used to automatically raise and assign support tickets, streamlining incident management.

Host and Service Macros allow a very complex configuration to be expressed while keeping the quantity of Service Checks and Templates to an easily manageable level.

2. We scale further and with more control. For monitoring to be effective you want all information available via a ’single pane of glass’. For corporate networks it is essential that the monitoring system has a scalable architecture in order to cover all systems and locations. Groundwork Monitor Enterprises lacks the key capabilities for large scale enterprise deployment.

For example, Opsview spreads the monitoring load across many servers while retaining a single location for monitoring views and configuration. You can move your databases to dedicated servers for greater performance and to allow more intensive reporting activity. Opsview Slave servers act as collectors and can be organised into clusters for load balancing and fail-over.

Administration tasks such software upgrades, plug-in management and SNMP MIB deployment are all handled from the Master server with updates automatically pushed out to each Slave.

3. Opsview helps you get things done. Maintaining your monitoring tool shouldn’t be a chore. If it is, the system soon becomes out of date and users lose confidence. We feel Opsview has significant productivity benefits compared with Groundwork Monitor Enterprise.

Nagios configuration becomes difficult and time consuming to maintain as the scale and complexity of the system increases. Providing a web user interface to Nagios’ configuration makes it more accessible but does not overcome the problems of complexity and maintainability.

Opsview’s approach is to separate the human interface and the underlying software components. This has several advantages:

  • The User Interface is entirely user focused and unconcerned with underlying software configuration constraints and complexities
  • A higher level of abstraction is possible, resulting in a simpler monitoring configuration from a user’s perspective
  • The complexities of distributed monitoring and load balancing can remain ‘under the hood’
  • We don’t require any additional configuration for core capabilities such as performance graphing, unlike Groundwork Monitor Enterprise.

For larger systems you can completely automate Opsview Enterprise’s configuration via our API. This also facilitates integration with a CMDB, asset databases and similar tools.

Events View

Groundworks confusing UI (left) only presents events in a cramped tabular format. Opsview’ Events View lets you rapidly track back through system events using a dynamic timeline.

Viewports

Opsview’s Viewports design (right) is clean and designed to display critical availability data to business users whereas the execution of Groundwork’s equivalent feature - Enterprise View - is poor.

4. Opsview is truly ‘open’ and customisable. Unlike Groundwork Monitor Enterprise both the Community and Enterprise versions of Opsview are provided under a truly open source licence (GPL V2), providing you with real flexibility and openness.

We use standard frameworks such as Catalyst and Perl DBI to facilitate development and we publish developer documentation online.

For integration, Opsview provides APIs for system configuration and monitoring data re-use. Common uses include:

  • Integration with a CMDB for automatic population and update of host information
  • Integration with Puppet for automatic population and update of host information
  • Representation of system status information on company intranet / website
  • Publishing of performance and availability metrics on customer portal

Opsview is fully Nagios compatible so you are free to download or develop Nagios plug-in and add-ons for use with Opsview.

5. We’ve grown a worldwide eco-system. Opsview is used in 151 countries and is currently available in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Swedish languages. Our very large community has been a valuable resource for acquiring and maintaining language support.

We have partners providing technical support and consulting to Opsview users in Europe, Middle East, Northern Africa, South Africa, United States of America, Canada and Latin America.

6. Opsview uses a community-driven development model. Our community is at the heart of our development model and we have over 15,000 Opsview Community users. The feedback we get from our community is invaluable when developing and refining new features. The variety of different environments monitored by our community means that we’re able to identify the widest range of problems possible before we certify the code for inclusion in Opsview Enterprise.

Over the years we’ve co-developed many of the features in Opsview with customers and we work closely with them to continuously improve the product. We most recently did this with Electronic Arts to produce a new module - Configuration Manager, which is due to be generally available in May.

7. We’ve tamed SNMP. SNMP is essential for effective network and infrastructure monitoring and unlike Groundwork Monitor Enterprise we place SNMP right at the heart of the software.

We also understand that SNMP can be tricky to deal with, so we’ve made the Opsview capability as easy as possible to monitor the most common SNMP metrics.

Filtering of SNMP Traps? No problem.

Opsview incorporates SNMP trap processing and alerting capability, and we provide sophisticated filtering tools so that you only receive alarms for the events you need to know about.

Opsview’s distributed model allows you to process large quantities of SNMP monitoring data across multiple networks and locations.

  • Opsview has embedded SNMP
  • Auto detection
  • SNMP trap filtering and alerting
  • Distributed and scalable

8. Opsview costs you less. A lot less. Unlike Opsview Enterprise, Groundwork’s pricing increases based on the number of devices being monitored.

For comparable service levels, Groundwork can be less expensive for very small networks, but beyond 200 devices Opsview Enterprise becomes much more cost effective, significantly so for large, enterprise infrastructures. Our technical support comes with guaranteed service levels, as you would expect for an enterprise grade offering.

As we have already demonstrated Groundwork’s premium pricing is not  justified by superior features - it’s just expensive.

Price comparison

* graph based on published Groundwork pricing at  Flex Level 2: $50 per device / yearly. Source: Groundwork website 30th March 2011

9. We’re open source. Opsview uses a truly Open Source development model that gives you maximum flexibility.

  • If you want to customise Opsview there is a path to get changes and enhancements back into the core product. So you’re not supporting your own unique version of Opsview
  • You have access to the source code and you’re free to make changes. This is particularly useful for tweaking status views and integrating Opsview Enterprise with your other IT management tools.

10. It’s easy to migrate to Opsview. If you’re using Groundwork Monitor Enterprise and you’re considering a move to Opsview Enterprise then there are some things you should know:

  • Migrating your configuration will be a breeze. We have a migration toolset for Groundwork Monitor Enterprise and our technical team can help you through the whole  process.
  • You don’t have to replace your monitoring agents. Opsview Enterprise is compatible with Groundwork Monitor Enterprise  and other Nagios compatible agents.
  • Your existing plugins will also work and we’re happy for any in-house plugins to be used on your Opsview Enterprise system, so you don’t lose any of the value already invested.

Summary

Opsview offers many advantages when compared to Groundwork Monitor Enterprise. It is easier to use, more scalable, truly open source and much better value. Don’t just take our word for it though, download our free Community edition and try it for yourself!