There is not much progress in Nagios development – this is visible since a couple of years. This is what it looks like when checking out the Nagios Core sources, mailing lists and so on. This could lead us to the question: Is there something happening under the surface which we don’t see? Maybe one day a brand new Nagios Core 4.x is released as big bang and from one day to the other everything changes? Well, I don’t think so.
But why do we care about the development of the Nagios Core so much? Do we really miss important features there? Maybe we have the wrong view on these things.
Let’s take the Nagios core as what it is: The core.
I think it is a valid assumption to say: The core only needs to perform some basic tasks. One important task of such a core is to be the glue between the connected modules. In case of Nagios these modules are called plugins and addons.
And here we come the most important thing in the Nagios world: The addons!
The addons make Nagios to what it is. Without them Nagios would have never be where it is today. Without the addons Nagios would have no modern web interface, graphing, SNMP handling, web based configuration, mapping, modern mobile device interface and so on. As we see we really need to include the development of the Nagios addons in our decision if Nagios is dead or alive.
Now let’s take a look on some facts about Nagios and the most important addons (from my subjective view):
|Name||Latest stable release||Number of releases since 2009||Commits since 2009|
|Nagios||2010-10-04||7||152 (2011), 228 (2010), 161 (2009)|
|Nagios Plugins||2010-07-27||2||11 (2011), 83 (2010), 19 (since 2009-10, some missing because SCM changed)|
|PNP4Nagios||2011-05-19||16||71 (2011), 186 (2010), 546 (2009)|
|NagVis||2011-04-18||26||96 (2011), 355 (2010), 456 (2009-06, some missing because SCM changed)|
|OMD||2011-05-22||4 (Founded in 2010)||1546 (since 2010-06)|
|Check_MK||2011-05-19||59||3309 (since 2009-11)|
|NSClient++||2011-06-14||85||19 (2011), 53 (2010), 25 (2009)|
|Nagios Checker||2011-01-04||8||0 (2011), 34 (2010), 34 (2009)|
|NagStaMon||2011-05-30||14||178 (2011), 230 (2010), 55 (2009-12, migrated SCM)|
|NagiosBP||2010-09-29||4||56 (since 2010-11, migrated SCM)|
Side note: This list IS NOT complete. It is only an unsorted list of software for Nagios. Please don’t be angry if I forgot important addons – just let me know and I check it out to list it here.
As we can see there is in fact not very much activity in the visible Nagios Core development. But the situation becomes completely different when we broaden our horizon and also look at the addons. Then we will recognize that there is very much continuity and activity in the Nagios addon development process – much more than in Nagios itselfs.
One thing I did not mention yet are the Nagios plugins. Check plugins are not less important than the addons – maybe even more. But it is not easy to track the activity for all the plugins since there are A LOT out there. I guess there is a check plugin for nearly everything – at least this is my feeling ;-).
You might think about the fact that no common addon can fix issues in the Nagios Core code. If there are lacks in the Nagios Core code which needs to be fixed right in the Core code there is not much space for fixes by addons. But wait! We have an addon which already handles this task. It is OMD – The Open Monitoring Distribution. OMD comes with the latest stable version of Nagios and some patches for it – just like the Linux distributions do it for the Linux Kernel for example.
Now, what does that all mean? I guess you can imagine: Nagios is not dead!
And this will stay as it is as long as the Nagios Core combined with a good choice of addons fits our requirements.