I am a Monitoring Tools Architect with nine years of IT Operations Management experience as an infrastructure specialist, working on various monitoring tools implementation, upgrades & production support.
We are evaluating both Zabbix and SolarWinds NPM.
What is the main difference between the two?
Thanks for your help. I appreciate it!
Disclaimer: Following 2+ decades of working with big-vendor IT Ops Mgmt Software - including being technical consultant employed by a global ITOM vendor - I have formed a business focussed on Zabbix. I will do my best to remain neutral.
For me, both are flexible, highly configurable, stable solutions with a solid history and reputation. In terms of raw features there very little to choose between them.
IT monitoring solutions have, in my opinion, entered a 'Red Queen Game' phase of evolution. This means that big vendors are introducing features purely because other vendors have them rather than because customers need them. In turn, this leads to justifying annual license increases to support features that are not relevant to the vast majority of customers. To balance that statement a little, I'm sure every individual feature in a given product is used somewhere. Big vendors must recoup development costs. For example, if a large multi-national Telco demands a feature then that feature will be developed and incorporated into the product. The cost of that development will be recouped in the following year's maintenance renewal contract and spread across ALL users of the product irrespective of whether a given feature is used.
However, I digress. Your question was regarding Zabbix vs. Solarwinds
Where there is a significant difference is in the Total Cost of Ownership. Zabbix is a true Open Source solution with zero licensing cost. Paid support is available directly from Zabbix. I can't comment directly on SolarWinds support, however the majority of major vendors typically charge approximately 22% of the original purchase price (plus an annual uplift) for support and maintenance. Zabbix support, directly from Zabbix, is not dependant on the number of devices being monitored. Zabbix's support is based on the number of Zabbix servers and proxies deployed.
I believe, albeit only anecdotally, that Zabbix offers better scalability and performance compared to Solarwinds.
Where Solarwinds does seem to impress is in the visual side. Graphs and navigation is "prettier" than Zabbix.
Both solutions offer agent-based and agentless monitoring, discovery, templates, alerting, correlation etc.
In my opinion, because the IT monitoring market has evolved to become almost commoditized there is no "better" or "worse" product. The criteria is no longer which is the better product, but which product meets your specific needs at your specific budget. And don't forget that with any tool you will need to administer and maintain it. At this point, the ability and skills of the administrator needs to be considered as well.
For me, it's Zabbix every time but then again, I would say that wouldn't I.
just to let you know about my modest contribution, indeed its two tools are very practical: The choice of one of the solutions depends on two factors:
- The price and the competence of the system administrators
Zabbix is a free tool and requires a strong Linux, Scripting skill for all that is custom supervision. integration with third-party tools ( Grafana Dashbord , Ticketing Tools ...)
Solarwinds is very intuitive and complete (reporting, view, resources, NOC view) all its features are integrated and easily configurable.